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Sometimes, when things are a little "off" when it comes to our health, there are simple steps that we can take to get ourselves back on track. For instance, did you know that around 92 percent of Americans are considered to be vitamin or mineral deficient in some way? And since there are core nutrients that all of us need in order to function properly, it's important that we're aware of what certain deficiencies are directly linked to.

Today, that is the focus. Here are eight health-related issues that, oftentimes, if we'd just add more of a vitamin or mineral into our system, we will start to feel better in no time (technically a couple of weeks but you get my drift).

1. Muscle Cramping


Something that happens randomly to me sometimes is I'll have a muscle that cramps up, seemingly out of nowhere. Then I'll snack on a banana and start to feel better. You know why? It's because bananas are high in potassium and potassium is a nutrient that our system needs in order for our muscles to easily contract. If you sweat a lot or don't have enough fluids in your system, you can become a high candidate for being potassium deficient. As far as how much your body requires on a daily basis, it's somewhere between 3,000-4,000 mg a day. Foods that are a good source of this mineral (that is also an electrolyte) include mushrooms, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and lentils.

2. Lip Cracking


If your PMS is off the chain or you've been catching a lot of colds lately, it could be because you need some more Vitamin B6 in your life. However, a telling sign that this is almost definitely the case is if the corners of your lips are cracking or even if your tongue feels a bit swollen.

The main thing to keep in mind with this point is if you're noticing indications that you could stand to have more Vitamin B6, there's a pretty good chance that your system has gotten close to totally running out. And just how much does your body need of this vitamin on the daily? About 1.3 mg. Up it up to 1.5 mg if you're over the age of 50.

Foods that are loaded with Vitamin B6 are peanuts, poultry, oats, avocados and pistachios.

3. Brittle Nails


If it seems like no matter how much pampering you do to your nails, they are brittle and breaking, that could be an indication that you are low in iron and/or Vitamin C. The reality is that just our periods alone can make us vulnerable to having lower iron levels. And just how much should you be getting into your system? A lot of healthcare professionals recommend somewhere around 14.8 mg each day. As far as the Vitamin C goes, not only can you have brittle nails when you're not getting enough of it, this is a nutrient that makes it easier for your body to absorb iron too. 75 mg per day of it is recommended (120 mg each day if you're pregnant or are breastfeeding). Foods that are high in iron include beef, dark leafy greens, quinoa, pumpkin seeds and broccoli. Foods that are a good source of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, peppers, potatoes, berries and Brussel sprouts.

4. Allergy Symptoms


If you've got allergy symptoms that are driving you totally up the wall or you're someone who deals with asthma or eczema, these things can be so much worse for you if you are low in omega-3. Long story short, they're fatty acids that pretty much every part of our body needs from our skin and hair to our reproductive system and our heart. Matter of fact, I actually read once that if you tend to have an excessive amount of earwax, that can also be a heads up that omega-3 is lacking. As far as how much is good for you, 1.1 grams daily is enough. And as far as foods that have omega-3 in them, those would be walnuts, spinach, salmon, chia seeds and eggs.

5. Weakness


Magnesium is both a mineral as well as an electrolyte that helps to regulate muscle and nerve functions and keep your blood sugar in balance. Well, when you don't have enough magnesium in you, it can cause you to experience extreme amounts of fatigue and weakness. A part of the reason why is because magnesium is what helps to keep your potassium levels where they should be. So, when your potassium levels are low, your muscles will not perform with as much strength as they should. Somewhere around 315 mg each day is what your system requires. Foods that are loaded with magnesium include whole grains, pumpkin seeds, halibut, bananas and dark chocolate.

6. Hair Loss


One of the main things that all of us need in order for our hair to flourish is zinc. It's a mineral that assists with hair tissue growth and repair, fights dandruff and, it also helps your scalp to produce the sebum that it needs for your hair follicles to remain healthy. That's why it makes a lot of sense that if you're low in zinc, you could possibly suffer from some hair loss or, the very least, hair breakage. What can keep your tresses in good condition is if you consume around 8 mg of zinc daily. Foods that are high in it include Greek yogurt, cashews, black beans, sesame seeds and kale.

7. Sleepiness


OK, if you're out here getting less than six hours a night on a consistent basis, that's probably not an indication that you are lacking a nutrient; what that probably means is you are sleep deprived.

However, if it seems like no matter how much sleep you get at night and/or naps you take during the day, you are still sleepy as all get out, what that could be telling you is that you are low in Vitamin B12. I can personally attest to this because I was sleepy a lot (and I get no less than six hours a night and sometimes a nap) until I started taking a B12 supplement. When you're low in this vitamin, it can trigger sleepiness or even sleeplessness because it plays a significant role in maintaining your energy levels.

It's kinda crazy that a lot of us are Vitamin B12 deficient when most of us only need .002 mg a day of it. Anyway, foods that are a good source of this nutrient include liver, fortified cereals, shellfish, nutritional yeast and milk alternatives (like almond or oat milk).

8. Food Cravings


Last fall, I wrote an article about signs that you've got a sugar addiction going on (you can check it out here). One indication is if you're constantly wanting to eat sweets all of the time. Well, along these same lines, if you're experiencing food cravings, that too could mean that you've not some nutrient deficiencies happening. Sweets typically mean that you can stand to have more magnesium or tryptophan. Fatty foods mean you need more calcium. Red meat, caffeine or the desire to chew ice means you're low in iron. Salt is oftentimes connected to dehydration or an electrolyte imbalance.

Wanting to eat bread all of the time could also mean that you could use a tryptophan boost (because you are looking for something to make you feel better and bread is a comfort food. Tryptophan helps to produce the feel-good hormone serotonin so that you don't want bread as much). Foods that are high in tryptophan include tuna, cheese, turkey, milk and apples.

While I certainly wasn't able to tackle all of the nutrient deficient-related issues that exist, take this as a bit of an intro cheat sheet. Again, if you are currently experiencing any of these issues, try getting more vitamins and minerals into your system. You might be surprised just how big of an impact...a little bit of tweaking can make.

Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.

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OK, so guess what penis means. Believe it or not, it's from the Latin meaning of the word "tail". Yeah, it's gonna be that kind of article today, y'all—an article that highlights some things about penises that I personally found to be pretty interesting, so I thought that some of you might dig them too.

Now let me just say that if you're a longtime reader of this platform, there might be a part of you that feels like this is a bit of déjà vu. To a certain extent, you would be right because it was actually around this time last year when I wrote "15 Pretty Tripped Out Things You May Not Know About Penises". You can pretty much look at this as a "part two" of that piece because one, knowledge is ever ending and two, there are some different points that I'm about to share with you now.

So, whether you're naturally curious about penises or you simply want to blow your man's mind with intel that he probably doesn't even know about his own member, here are 12 penis-related things that, on some level, just might trip you (or him) out.

1. Penises Have Three Tubes in Them


In life, nothing is really as simple as it seems. For instance, did you know that penises actually have three tubes/cylinders in them? There's the corpus spongiosum and two corpora cavernosa and they're all inside of a sheath known as the bucks fascia. The corpus spongiosum is made of up spongy tissue that surrounds a man's urethra; it helps a guy's urethra from closing up whenever he experiences an erection. That way, semen is able to come out of his urethra whenever he ejaculates.

The corpora cavernosas are also made up of spongy erectile tissue yet they have arteries in them. They are what help a man to have an erection because, whenever he becomes aroused, they fill up with blood and make his penis hard. After he ejaculates, blood leaves those tubes and returns back to other parts of the body. And just how much blood is in each erect penis? Roughly four shot glasses worth. Kinda crazy, right?

2. Penises Can Literally Deadlift

Contrary to popular belief, penises do not fall into the category of being a muscle. A penis is an organ that exists for the purpose of urination and sexual intercourse. And since it's not a muscle, how is it that a man by the name of Grandmaster Tu Jin-Sheng was once able to—wait for it—pull an entire truck along, just using his penis? A part of it is due to him working out his pubococcygeal (PC) muscles. Those muscles act like a sling which helps to keep all of a man's pelvic organs in the right place and position. And just how does a man work these muscles out? With kegels.

As a bonus, kegels can also increase blood flow which can give men a longer, fuller and stronger erection. It can also reduce the chances of him experiencing incontinence, including the dribbling that sometimes happens immediately following urination (you know, the kind that leads to pee on the toilet seat).

A brief walk-through on how a man can do kegels is located right here.

3. An Erection Can Get a Man All Up in His Feelings


Remember how in the movie Love Jones, Savon said that when a man has an erection, the blood from his head and feet go to his penis which means that he can't think or run? There actually is a bit of truth to that. A popular study from MIT and Carnegie Mellon University once reported that when men have a hard-on, they find pretty much anything that's presented to them to be sexually stimulating; stimulating to the point of even being willing to say they love a woman in order to get her into bed (which is why you shouldn't ask, "Do you love me?" for the first time during sex, y'all). It's also true that how a man is feeling at any given time can prevent erections from happening, especially when it comes to stress, anxiety, guilt, depression, relationship drama and low self-esteem. Bottom line, erections are connected to emotions…contrary to popular belief/assumption.

4. Penises Get Bigger During Fellatio

This one serves as more of a reminder because I actually mentioned something about this a couple of years ago in the article, "15 Super Random (& Weird) Facts About Sex". Anyway, if you want your man to get a little bigger, guess what would definitely help? Fellatio. While it might sound like some bullshishery that some random man made up, there is actually some scientific research to back up the fact that men who receive head experience larger erections than men who simply fantasize. I mean, when you think about how pleasurable oral sex is, I can totally see how this could be the case. Anyway, just another tripped out thing to put on record.

5. Erections Tend to Happen All Day Long (Kinda)


Ever wonder how many erections a man will experience before the end of his life? It's somewhere around 7,200. While a lot of these are due to sexual arousal, sometimes, they aren't. In fact, most men have somewhere around 11 erections a day; 7-9 of them are during the night while he's asleep (which makes "morning wood" make so much more sense). An ex of mine used to get one whenever he enjoyed a meal. So yeah, don't assume that every hard-on is sexually related. Oftentimes, it's not.

6. Circumcised Penises Can Be Safer. Sometimes Less Pleasurable Too.

As far as circumcision goes, nearly all Jewish and Muslim men in the world are circumcised. A lot of Christians are as well because it's mentioned in Scripture (Genesis 17). As far as safety goes, many health professionals are all for men going through this procedure because foreskin (what uncircumcised men still have) contains a lot of what are known as Langerhans cells. Something interesting about these cells is they are quite vulnerable when it comes to being infiltrated by HIV (more on this in a sec).

What's a trip about that fact is, at the same time, uncircumcised men tend to give their partners more consistent orgasms. The reason being is the extra bit of skin rubs against the sensitive nerve endings inside of our vaginas, creating a more intense sensation.

So, as far as if it's better or not to be circumcised, I guess it all depends on how you look at things.

7. A “Dirty” Penis Can Lead to HIV


Speaking of HIV, when it comes to this particular point, when I say "dirty", I don't mean a lack of hygiene. What I'm referring to is stored up bacteria that can collect on the tip of a man's penis, ultimately making him more susceptible to getting HIV. Long story short, something known as anaerobic bacteria can cause inflammation, draw the T-cells that HIV targets and up the chances for ultimately becoming diagnosed by the virus. This is just one more reason why condom-wearing is so important; especially for uncircumcised men because it's easier for the bacteria to lodge within their foreskin.

8. Some Men Suffer from “Penis Anxiety”

When it comes to body image issues, while I know that it's usually us who gets the most press, men experience it too, including when it comes to their penis size. Although the average one is around 5" and some change when they're erect, some men are so consumed by if their penis is large enough that they convince themselves that their partners aren't satisfied, even though 85 percent of women reportedly are.

If you've got a man who you sense is going through a bit of this kind of internalized stress, have him read, "BDE: Please Let The 'It Needs To Be Huge' Myth Go". Some women will get first in line to say that a big thang ain't all that it's cracked up to be. If all it is, is big and he doesn't know how to work it…it ain't.

9. Controlling Erections and Ejaculations Can Be Somewhat Difficult


There are a few different reasons why men typically have a—no pun intended—hard time controlling their erections and ejaculations. For starters, there are three different kinds of erections. There are psychogenic erections which come from fantasies, nocturnal erections which transpire while they are sleeping, and reflexogenic erections that happen due to some direct form of stimuli. Since a man can have a fleeting thought or rub up against something at any given time, you can see why erections aren't always in their control.

As far as ejaculations go, on the sexual tip, men actually go through similar phrases towards having an orgasm as we do—arousal, plateau, orgasm and resolution. However, it's wise to keep in mind that a man having an orgasm and a man experiencing ejaculation are not automatically one in the same.

Orgasms is about a series of muscle contractions, period. This means that some men can actually ejaculate without climaxing at all (which is why 1 in 4 men claim to have faked orgasms before; if you wonder why they would…if you've faked it before, why did you?).

Anyway, while edging can somewhat delay an orgasm, when a man is on the verge of ejaculation, it's pretty hard for him to keep it from transpiring. That is, unless he's become a master at retrograde ejaculation. That's kind of another article for another time, though (if you're curious, you can read more about it here).

10. Very Few Men Wear Condoms During Sex

I've heard folks—both men and women, by the way—say that if you really want to know a woman's "body count", you should take whatever she said and add three more people to the total. I'll let y'all debate over that on your own time. I'm just bringing it up because that's what came to my mind when I read that only one-third of men said that they wore condoms. The real catcher was even those who said that they don't do it all of the time (so that makes me think that even the one-third aren't being completely honest). With 45 percent of pregnancies in this country going on record as being unplanned and a whopping 376 million new STI/STD infections being diagnosed, worldwide, on an annual basis—chile, you'd better require a condom out here. That ridiculous "Meat 2 Meat" song that I've been hearing ain't worth it in the long run.

11. Cock Rings Are a Sex Toy Must-Have


Not too long ago, a male friend and I were having a conversation about cock rings. He had recently purchased one and was hesitant to try it. If you've got a man who is the same way, share with him that a cock ring the kind of sex toy that is able to help him to maintain a harder and longer erection; that it intensifies sexual stimulation and, if it's a vibrating one, a cock ring can also significantly ups the chances of him experiencing a blended orgasm with you.

Does something this good have a downside? Good question. If your partner is taking a blood-thinning medication, has a penile injury of some sort, is diabetic or has some sort of heart-related disease, a cock ring probably isn't the best idea. At the very least, he needs to talk to his doctor before making the purchase. Oh, but if he gets the green light, it's gonna be Christmas and the Fourth of July, simultaneously, in your house. Just you watch.

12. The Penis Has All Kinds of Spiritual Meanings

One more. As far as how a penis is perceived on a spiritual plane, pagans revere it as being a symbol of creativity while also being a connecting link between what's human and what's sacred (I totally get that). Ancient Hebrews viewed circumcision of the penis as an established covenant between God and man (which is why many Christians still choose to circumcise their sons to this day). The penis of the Hindu god Siva is referenced many times in sacred teachings that reference him and, to the ancient Greeks, the penis represented divine power and intelligence. Last year, when I wrote about how to give a man a lingam massage, I mentioned that in tantra, the penis is referred to as being a light wand. Hmph. Seems like almost everywhere you look, the penis has a profound spiritual meaning. Definitely something to think about the next time that you decide to…experience one. #wink

Join our xoTribe, an exclusive community dedicated to YOU and your stories and all things xoNecole. Be a part of a growing community of women from all over the world who come together to uplift, inspire, and inform each other on all things related to the glow up.

Featured image by Getty Images

Earlier this spring, I wrote an article about the several reasons why marriage is quite different from dating. One of the things that I mentioned was sex. Listen, I know that you've probably heard that the leading causes of divorce center around things like poor communication and financial drama and yes, while that is certainly true, intimacy challenges rank right on up in there as well.

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Ah. Yes. Romance. Romance is an interesting topic to me because, since I tend to be pretty word specific (because of that I know that romantic means things like being fanciful and impractical), I must admit that sometimes, I think this word applies more pressure onto relationships than it should. Does that mean that I think that there isn't an art to wooing and that people deserve to experience it? Of course, not. I just personally believe that it's important to hold true and real romance to a more realistic bar than what we see on the television or movie screen.

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A year before my dad died (which was seven years ago), he and I had a series of conversations about my relatives on his side—and his marriage to my mother. Some things I already knew. Some things I was waiting to connect some dots on. Some things flat-out surprised me—and totally disgusted me.

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