Some of us can’t get enough of the summer sun whilst others wilt in the heat, sneeze at pollen and long for cooler days. Do you feel that you could aim for better summer health? Henrietta Norton from Wild Nutrition offers advice to help you make the most of summer through smart nutrition and small changes to our lifestyle for the summer.
Enjoy the Sunshine
1 in 5 of us in the UK are thought to have below optimal levels for vitamin D for good health. The summer is a fantastic time to top up on this essential vitamin. Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and immune system and boosts our mental wellbeing. Deficiencies have been linked to female gynaecological and fertility issues. Long office working hours and age can all reduce our capacity to produce vitamin D. So whilst the sun shines top up whilst you can. Remember though to try and find balance and a happy medium to avoid damaging skin. You can also maximise the benefits of your sunshine boost by adding vitamin D rich foods to your diet such as seafood, whole milk, eggs and mushrooms. Continue to eat these foods throughout the year. After all, Britain isn’t known for its wall to wall sunshine even in summer.
Why not exercise outdoors. As well as getting some sunshine, it’s a great opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and maximise on getting relaxed. Try yoga outdoors: this is likely to put the nervous system into a desirable parasympathetic state; away from the more ‘panic’ or anxiety-inducing mode of the sympathetic nervous system. Try one of the classes from MFML’s Summer MoveList outside.
Eat for Summer
Top up naturally on your vitamin C over the summer by indulging in seasonal specialities like strawberries. Eating seasonally means that you are getting the most out of your food in terms of flavour and nutrition. Locally grown food also cuts down on air miles and organic or environmentally friendly food will cut down on your toxic load. (You can check with the farmer whether they use natural pesticides and fertilisers.) Great foods for summer health include: raspberries, apples, runner beans, fennel, cucumber, melon, rhubarb and rocket. You might notice these fruit and veg also give your hydration a boost!
If you are going away, it can be hard on your gut! Unfamiliar foods can result in bloating, nausea, diarrhoea, wind and general sickness. You can support your gut by eating fermented foods such as kimchi and sauerkraut and coconut water kefir. Supplements taken before and whilst you are away like a good multi-strain biotic are really helpful. You may also want to try supplementing your diet with herbs, such as oregano, garlic, grapefruit seed extract and olive leaf, both before you go away and during your stay, as these ingredients contain natural antibacterial and anti-microbial compounds to combat bad bacteria.
Remember to hydrate
Keeping topped up with fluids is key for great skin and plentiful energy. The body needs hydration to eliminate toxins via the bladder, colon, and skin. Start the day with a morning green juice and drink water all day to keep hydrated and energised. A vegetable juice will provide condensed nourishment from the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. Try to make your juice fresh and drink within 15 minutes with ingredients like cucumber, celery, courgette, lettuce, fennel, lemon, lime and mint.
Protect Your Skin
A ‘rainbow’ diet filled with vegetables of every colour will help you to top up on antioxidants which will minimise sun-damage to your skin and protect against premature aging. You can also top up with an antioxidant supplement. When choosing suncream, you might want to explore more natural and environmentally kinder options.
Get Some Rest
Summer is a perfect time to get some extra rest, especially as many of us are on holiday. It can be tempting to max out though but remember sleep and rest are important for optimum summer health. Be selective about how much partying you do over the summer and even though it’s tempting to stay up even later during the long evening go to bed early enough to get 8 hours of sleep.
Make getting rest a priority on holiday. Avoid checking emails all the time, instead opting to make the most of wherever you are. If you are travelling long-distance or have a busy summer, the energy mineral magnesium is great to help recover from tiredness and also to support a healthy nervous system. The B vitamins also boost your immune system: B12 and B6 boosts energy levels while reducing recovery time from tiredness and fatigue, so is a good way to support yourself to recover from jet lag. Why not try some yoga such as this class to help you recover from travel? And, did you know, that B1 has been shown to reduce mosquito bites? Finally an immune support supplement might help whilst preparing for a long-distance trip!
About Henrietta Norton
Nutrition changed the course of Henrietta’s life. After suffering from crippling pain from Endometriosis in her twenties, Henrietta sought advice from a nutritional therapist who changed her life. She listened to the advice and changed her lifestyle and diet. She thought she would never have children and is now the mother of three. Henrietta has supported women in improving their health for the past 15 years first as a nutritional practitioner and then as a nutrition supplement formulator. Henrietta founded and now runs Wild Nutrition creating supplements made from high grade ingredients considering both the cause as well as the symptoms.