We are officially in our summer season now, and the hot days are here to stay. I hope you’ve been enjoying the change of pace and finding ways to stay active and get outdoors for some contact with nature.
Here in the Phoenix area, most of us want to avoid melting in the extreme heat, so we spend too much time indoors, often inactive. What if you want to brave the heat and do some hiking or paddling around? How can you keep your cool?
Here are some tips to stay cool during the hot summer heat.
Hydration and Electrolytes
Number one priority — stay hydrated! As a rule of thumb, drink twice the amount of water you do in the colder months. Not only do we lose water when we sweat in the hot weather, but we also lose electrolytes.
What Are Electrolytes?
Electrolytes are minerals that help our bodies maintain proper electrical signaling in your muscles and nervous system. You can replace these using a variety of beverages, but watch out for those that are packed with sugar or artificial sweeteners. Of course, there are healthier choices available to you, and I’ll share a few of my favorites.
Adding Electrolytes to Your Routine
Fruit Water is a nice homemade treat made by placing chunks of your favorite fruits in a pitcher, filling it with cold water and just a pinch of Himalayan sea salt, and storing that in the refrigerator. It’s easy to grab and pour a tall glass when you come in from working or playing in the yard.
Some delicious options for fruit water are watermelon, cucumber/mint, and lemon/lime. Experiment until you find your favorites. Tip: to avoid bitterness, remove the peels from your citrus fruit slices before placing them in the water. Save the peels for garnishing your serving glasses.
If you want a packaged powder that you can add to water that’s easy to take with you on the go, Jigsaw Health brand Electrolyte Supreme in Lemon Lime or Berry-Licious are both delicious choices — I like them blended together to make a berry lemonade flavor. Those are available through our online dispensary website, Fullscript. Call us if you need help setting up your Fullscript account.
What if you’re out and didn’t prepare ahead of time to take your electrolyte water with you? Pick up a cold coconut water or pressed juice at the corner store and enjoy, knowing it’s replenishing your electrolytes. These options are high in natural sugars, but they provide nutrients you wouldn’t get if you chose a soda to quench your thirst instead. And if you’re out golfing, biking, or swimming, you’ll burn up that sugar in no time.
Preventing Sun Damage Beyond Sunscreen
Keeping yourself protected from the sun is essential for a healthy summer. Take a tip from the plant world and fill yourself up with antioxidants. Did you know that antioxidants are found abundantly in dark leafy greens and berries and fruits?
Why Plants Are Full of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are found abundantly in plants, because they have to stand outside in the sun all day long with little to no protection from the blazing sun, so they produce antioxidant-containing pigments to protect themselves from oxidative damage. We are the lucky bystanders who can benefit from this by eating the fruits of their labor (pun intended!) to get those antioxidants inside our bodies to protect us too.
How to Add Antioxidants to Your Routine
If you don’t just LOVE eating bunches of kale and spinach and Swiss chard and red grapes and blackberries and cherries and blueberries and raspberries, etc., you can use a greens and berries powder or go to your local pressed juice store for a green juice or berry smoothie instead. Do this every day, but especially so on the days when you know you’re going to be getting some sun rays on your skin.
I don’t want you to avoid the sun in all its Vitamin D promoting glory, but I also don’t want you sun-worshiping without having an excellent supply of antioxidants in your system. Nobody wants to wrinkle from sun damage prematurely.
One last tip about antioxidants — your body can only absorb them to their full potential if your gut is teeming with happy, healthy probiotic microbes. That’s right; you need plentiful friendly gut bacteria to digest and absorb antioxidants from your food or supplements.
So, along with your greens and berries, make sure to add a serving of cultured yogurt with live bacteria to provide the good bugs. If you don’t already have a greens/berries powder you love, you can get that on the Fullscript website, too — there are several great ones to choose from. My favorite is the Prescribed Choice brand Get Healthy Greens, which also has probiotic bacteria. Win-Win.
If you want to make a treat that’s extra appealing for your little ones (or yourself), try making a homemade frozen berry yogurt popsicle by blending your favorite frozen berries with a plain, whole-fat yogurt in a food processor, pouring into a mold, and freezing until set. They’re delicious!
Now go drink a big glass of greens and berry juice, put on your big sun hat, and head out to the pool with a berry yogurt popsicle in one hand, a tall fruit water in the other, and enjoy the rest of your summer!
If you’d like more tips on natural methods to stay healthy this summer, schedule a FREE 10-minute meet and greet with one of our naturopathic doctors by calling: 480-588-6856.