Proactive choices in your twenties can be a bone health game-changer.
BY JULIE B.
It’s not surprising that many 20-somethings don’t bother themselves with problems such as bone loss and potential hip fractures. While menopause might be the last thing on your mind, medical experts agree that your decisions TODAY could be vital in preventing loss of bone density later in life. SweetSpot Labs has compiled a list of not so obvious, valuable tips beyond the age-old “get enough calcium” to keep your bones healthy and strong to menopause and beyond!
Exercise for Bone Health
Cardio may be great for staying lean and energized, but weight-bearing exercises are especially recommended for maintaining bone strength throughout your life.Despite a cumbersome reputation, weight training doesn’t have to be a chore. Break up your monotonous treadmill pounding and elliptical sessions with a yoga class or by incorporating high-rep exercises with some free weights!
Being underweight can lead to low bone density and puts you at risk of fractures as you age. We won’t name names; but many models and celebs fall below the recommended BMI and should not be used as healthy examples. For most women, underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5. In extreme cases, being underweight can bring on amenorrhea, tricking your body into early menopause and causing bone loss. We know that your twenties are meant for looking super svelte, but trust us, looking fab in skinny jeans will never be more important than a healthy body weight. Calculate your own BMI with this helpful tool.
Please, Stop Smoking
Okay, you might have seen this one coming but we’re going to tell you again — Do. Not. Smoke. Smoking impedes cellular turnover in your body, which is a vital function for building healthy bone mass. If you already smoke, stopping now will significantly reduce your risk of osteoporosis and bone fracture. Do your bones a favor and quit while you’re ahead!
Vitamin D is Key
Calcium is often celebrated for its role in keeping bones strong but its cousin vitamin D rarely gets the attention it deserves. Important at every stage of a woman’s life, vitamin D helps the body absorb the calcium that builds our bones. Found in foods such as fatty fish and milk, vitamin D is commonly referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Sun exposure is what facilitates the absorption of this vital nutrient. Unfortunately, today we are getting less vitamin D than previous generations due to spending less time outside. It is recommended that women who live in less sunny climates, like the northeastern US, compensate with a supplement.
It seems that Australia has gotten its collective knickers in a twist over Carefree’s Acti-Fresh panty liners campaign. While most feminine hygiene ads are satisfied showing women frolicking in white linen or disembodied hands demonstrating absorption by pouring blue dye from a beaker; Carefree is daring to discuss actual body parts and their functions.
Can't fool us! We know what you're hiding behind there!
Being bold enough to use the words “vagina” and “discharge”, Carefree has drawn the ire of some Australian viewers, who in turn, have complained to the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB). The television commercial in question stars a naked woman standing behind some artful yet strategically arranged white orchids speaking candidly about how “even that bit of discharge in between our periods is our body working to keep the vagina healthy.”
“We have decided to take a bold approach in this campaign with the aim to tackle a subject which has always been taboo,” says Michelle Forster, women’s health manager at Johnson & Johnson Pacific, “We want to encourage women to talk openly about their bodies.”
The blogosphere has been on fire with writers and commenters sparring over whether “vagina” and “discharge” are appropriate words for primetime. Many feel that it’s about time consumers hear anatomically correct language while others remain squeamish.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Should intimate care advertisements stick to cute euphemisms and vague symbolism or would you rather just hear it straight?
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Many of us think of our sweet spots as an extension of ourselves. We might think, “I love dessert. Why should my lady parts miss out on the fun?” Besides the potential for a sticky situation right out of a bad sex comedy, the reason why is that Candida albicans, the pesky infection-causing strain of yeast don’t just love sugar— they thrive on it. While all healthy vaginas host a small amount of yeast, a PH-balanced environment usually controls the population.
Putting anything with sucrose, glucose, fructose or lactose down there is like opening a buffet for them to gorge gourmet and any substance that ends in “ose” should be kept far away from your panties. Next time you and your honey feel like sweetening up your bedroom fun, do yourself a favor and save the whipped cream for your sundae.
2. WET SWIMWEAR AND CLOTHING
Remember when your mom would tell you not to sit around in that wet bathing suit? It turns out she was worried about more than the furniture. While any change in vaginal PH can bring on a yeast infection, excess moisture and irritation can sometimes be the culprit. That’s why it’s important to change into something dry (preferably cotton or moisture wicking) ASAP after you enjoy some beachy fun. Along the same lines: as soon as you’re done working out, make sure to get out of those sweaty clothes so you don’t have to take an itchy jog to the pharmacy.
3. “VAJAZZLES” & AND “VATTOOS”
Personal style is a beautiful thing but you may want to think twice before applying temporary inks and adhesive rhinestones to delicate areas. Vajazzling and vattooing are usually done right after a Brazilian wax, when your skin is more vulnerable to irritation and infection. And it’s not just the mucous membranes of your girly parts that are extra sensitive — all the skin around your bikini area should be treated with care to prevent unpleasant skin reactions. WHEN you feel like redecorating your downstairs, try a cute new pair of panties instead.
Temporary decorations can be potentially irritating but unnecessary renovations to your downstairs could have permanent consequences. Plastic surgeries like labiaplasty (trimming labia minora to make them small and symmetrical) and vaginal rejuvenation (surgical tightening of the vagina) come with risks. The worst reported side effects are bleeding, infection, scarring and loss of sexual sensation. Truthfully, every woman’s flower is unique and there’s no prescribed way it’s “supposed” to look. Try to embrace what makes you uniquely beautiful. Unless something about your anatomy is causing you physical discomfort – don’t fix what isn’t broken.
5. SKIN BLEACHING PRODUCTS
While many women are concerned over the size of their parts, some are more concerned about the color. There is actually a growing market for bleaching services and products for down there. But buyer beware! Most skin lightening agents have an irritating product called hydroquinone — and trust us, the last place you want to put that is near your most delicate spot. This skin-stripping chemical is so damaging, it’s banned in all countries except the US. It’s also reported to cause irreversible hyperpigmentation.
It’s important for women to know that several factors affect the hue their sweet spots come in and variation is healthy and normal. Ethnicity, genetics and age are the three biggest factors that determine your down-there pigmentation and it’s actually common for the bikini area to be a little darker than the rest of your body.
Nonoxynol-9 isn’t just an ineffective birth control; it’s one of the most irritating substances you can introduce to your sweetspot. This chemical is a surfactant, meaning it destroys sperm by disturbing cell membranes. Now just imagine what it does to your girly bits. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!
According to the World Health Organization, not only does nonoxynol-9 have a negligible effect on conceptions rates, it has been shown to increase the risk of HIV infection. There are many safer, more effective contractive options—speak to your OBGYN to find the one that’s right for you.
High levels of vitamin B and amino acids lend honey its aphrodisiac quality. Its inherent sweetness releases naturally relaxing serotonin, which helps release the days tension and focus on enjoying an intimate moment (or few hours) with your sweetie.
The naturally occurring oils in nutmeg are where it gets its erotic potency. A chemical called myristicin can stimulate the libido in low doses. Traditional medicine has even recommended using nutmeg to treat sexual dysfunction for thousands of years! But please use with caution; high doses of this powerful spice are said to cause hallucinations. So if things start getting a little psychedelic in the bedroom, it might be time to lay off the mulled cider!
Besides the fact many see a resemblance between these shellfish and girly bits, it is actually the minerals inside of them that give oysters their aphrodisiac appeal. Oysters are packed with Zinc, which controls progesterone levels. So if you or your
partner have issues with sexual performance, consider sharing an oyster appetizer to complement that sauvignon blanc.
Green unripe papaya supposedly has properties of increasing the female hormone estrogen, which, in balance with other hormones, increases our sexual desire. The high fiber and mineral content helps maintain energy, which can help during extended sessions of sexual play. It is also thought to help to bring menstruation and has been known in Indian history as a natural contraceptive.
Saffron’s aphrodisiac properties first were reported in rats. (As if rodents have any trouble getting busy!) Studies concluded that rats fed saffron copulated significantly more than those in the control group. Regarded as “Nature’s Viagra”, this delicious
spice is commonly used in Italian, Spanish and Indian cuisines. While the average price of saffron is about $1,000 a pound, fret not – a little bit goes a long way, in the kitchen and the bedroom!
Perhaps the most unexpected food on our list is asparagus. While “sexy” might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of these edible ferns, they also have a long history as a aphrodisiac. Nicolas Culpepper, a 17th century English botanist, once wrote that asparagus “stirs up lust in man and woman”. In 19th century France, grooms were served three courses at their prenuptial dinners hoping that it would pay off in dividends the next evening. Perhaps they were on to something…
Asparagus is rich vitamins B6, A, C, thiamin and folic acid – vital components for histamine production. Histamine is necessary for reaching orgasm in both sexes. Asparagus is best eaten in the spring when it’s in season. Try lightly steaming with olive oil, salt, pepper and lemon to reap maximum benefits!
Everyone knows that food is sexy, right? Well it is! Here at SweetSpot Labs, we try to eat healthy so we were thrilled to learn that our good choices might pay off in *ah hem* more ways than one.
The sexy reputation of the avocado has a long history. Because of its abundant pairs of low hanging fruit, the Aztecs first dubbed the avocado tree the ahuacuatl (“testicle tree”). Spanish missionaries even went so far as banning avocado consumption due to their erotic éclat. . Recent research has given us more insight into what makes these lush, green treats an aphrodisiac. They carry powerful nutrients for sexual health such as beta-carotene, magnesium, and vitamin E. Vitamin E is even referred to as the sex vitamin! So go ahead and make these lush fruits a precursor to your evening tango.
Almonds are so sexy, it’s actually written in the Bible. Allegedly the biblical warrior, Samson used an almond branch in his attempt to win Delilah. But don’t let his sad fate deter you from indulging in this sweet smelling nut. They are a prime source of essential fatty acids and the scent is purported to raise sexual desire in women. Try snacking on a handful or burning some almond scented candles to get you (and your sweetie) in the mood!
Beyond their suggestive phallic shape, these common herbaceous fruits are a powerhouse of potassium and B vitamins, which are known to be beneficial for healthy sex-hormone production. Bananas are also rich in bromelain, which aids in the production aids in the production of testosterone. Believe it or not, ladies, you actually need a certain amount of this essential hormone to get (and keep) you in the mood.
Chocoholics rejoice! Chocolate has always been associated with romance but few know that cocoa is rich in andamide — the psychoactive feel-good chemical, and PEA (phenylethylamine), the “love chemical,” which releases dopamine in the pleasure centers of the brain and peaks during orgasm. PEA is said to help induce feelings of excitement, attraction and euphoria.
Ginger is internationally renowned for its ability to increase healthy circulation. Its consumption is reported to wake up the reproductive organs and improve fertility and sexual performance. Early Europeans praised ginger’s ability to specifically increase desire so much that the medieval university of Salerno, Italy recommended eating it frequently to “love and be loved as in your youth.” So next time you and your lover head out for sushi, pile it on! Or enjoy a cup of hot ginger tea to get things flowing.
Chili peppers aren’t just spicy; they’re lauded for their ability to release endorphins in the brain. This creates a floating, energized feeling that some claim is a little addictive. They’re also known to make lips swell when eaten, helping us achieve that supermodel-y, bee-stung pout we (and our lovers) crave. So if you like it hot in the bedroom, then these spicy little guys might be your new best friends.
Do you have a favorite food that gets you in the mood? Let us know in the comments below.
Dr. Lauri J. Romanzi is an advocate for core feminine fitness, based on years of data showing that keeping the feminine foundation in good shape is healthy, vital and sexy. As an expert in women's health, she encourages women to pay as much attention to their Sweet Spot fitness as they do general physical fitness.