by Tracy Rohland
It’s summer time! That means long days at the beach, hikes in the mountains, family get-togethers, outdoor parties and plenty of fun and sun. However, summertime can also mean sunburn, dehydration, and heatstroke if you are not careful. At Down to Earth, we want to arm you with a few simple tips to prevent these concerns so you can make the most of your summer.
Fruits & Veggies: The ultimate protectors
A healthy summertime diet should be based on an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which protect your skin from sun-damage, slow the aging process, and are even shown to protect against cancer. Fruits known to have especially high antioxidant levels include all berries, such as cranberries, blueberries and blackberries, apples, red grapes, mangoes and peaches. These are just a few; the combinations of a fruit salad are endless! Don’t forget vegetables as well. Dark green vegetables, yellow, red and green peppers, and tomatoes are all good sources of antioxidants. Beans, lentils, carrots and sweet potatoes are also great sources. A colorful salad should be a staple of your summertime meals.
Cool Tips to Keeping Hydrated
A big concern during summertime is the risk of dehydration, which can lead to heat exhaustion, and in more serious cases, heat stroke. In addition to drinking plenty of water, it’s important to hydrate with electrolyte drinks like Recharge. Electrolyte powered drinks are better for getting mineral levels back to normal, but it is a good idea to add a little more salt to them; about ½ to 1 teaspoon salt per one liter of fluid. If you have a family or personal history of high blood pressure, consult your doctor for the best hydration techniques.
- Always have a water bottle with you and drink plenty of fluids (avoid alcohol, sugary and caffeinated drinks)
- Drink before you feel thirsty because by the time thirst kicks in, your body has already lost too much salt.
- Plan strenuous activity early in the morning or evening when it's cooler.
- Persons over the age of 65, those on heart or blood medication, and overweight people are most susceptible to heat stroke. If you fit into any of these categories, be especially aware of how hard you work your body. Take it easy in the summer heat and discuss new exercise programs with your doctor before undertaking them.
- If you find you are exhibiting symptoms of overheating and dehydration, get to a cool or air-conditioned environment immediately, take a cool bath, or dip in the ocean or lake.
Summer Sun Protection
Another common danger of the sun is, of course, sunburn. Sunburn causes your skin to itch and peel, increases the appearance of aging, and can lead to skin cancer. Sunburn also inhibits your skins ability to sweat, thus increasing the risk of heat stroke. Melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, is the fastest growing form of cancer in the US. Fortunately it is also very preventable. Remember these tips when venturing outside for the day:
- Wear sunscreen! Down to Earth has a great selection of natural sunscreen lotions for adults, kids and babies. Apply twenty minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours and every time you go in the water.
- Wear a hat and avoid direct exposure to the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
- Be especially conscientious of protecting children from the sun! Their fair skin can be easily damaged and sunburn increases their chances of skin cancer later in life.
Sounds easy, right? Make fruits, vegetables, water and sun protection a regular part of your life and make this summer a healthy and fulfilling one.
- Sun Protection. June 11, 2002. https://www.mercy.net/healthinfo/tw9207
- International Food Information Council. “Functional Foods Fact Sheet: Antioxidants.” March 2006. http://www.foodinsight.org/Functional_Foods_Fact_Sheet_Antioxidants
- Davis, Jeanie Lerche. Antioxidant-loaded fruits. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/tc/antioxidants-topic-overview