Nutrition for Active Summer Lifestyles
With the warmer weather comes an increase in outdoor activity.
Exercise is, of course, vital to our wellness, but so are nutrition and hydration during the summer.
Optimal Wellness Center's Health Coach Sara Green shares some advice with us on how to keep your body strong and healthy this summer.
What kind of nutritional considerations should be made during warm and active summer months?
Staying well hydrated is very important and should be a part of your daily wellness practices year round. During the hotter months we are more susceptible to dehydration so more attention is needed to make sure we keep up our fluid intake.
Drinking good quality water is the first step to maintaining fluid balance. During the summer months try to eat more fruits and vegetables that are hydrating such as watermelon, cucumber, celery, kiwi, citrus fruits, carrot, bell peppers, iceberg lettuce, pineapple, tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower, radishes, broccoli and berries.
We want to make sure that we are getting enough electrolytes like potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium. Electrolytes help us stay hydrated. Again, fruits and vegetables are great sources. Salads, cold pressed juices, smoothies and vegetable platters with some healthy dips are some suggestions.
How should we monitor our hydration in the summer?
The easiest way to monitor your hydration is to keep an eye on your urine color. Aim for pale yellow. The darker the urine, the more dehydrated you are. Thirst is the usually the first symptom of dehydration. Dehydration is your body telling you it doesn't have enough water. Other symptoms may include: urinating less often, dryness in the mouth, throat, eyes, nose, dry skin, headache and feeling light headed or tired.
I like to keep a mental checklist of how much water I'm drinking during the day, plus I make sure I eat a wide variety of plant based foods.
How much water is enough?
The amount of water you need to drink depends on your body weight. A general guideline to follow is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water a day. So if you weigh 160 pounds, aim for 80oz of water a day. One cup of water = 8oz = 250ml.
Do you have any skin protection advice?
As an Australian now living in Cleveland, I grew up with the skin protection campaign called Slip, Slop, Slap. Slip on a shirt, Slop on some sunscreen and Slap on a hat.
Wear good quality sunglasses to protect your eyes and avoid prolonged sun exposure during high UV index hours. Skin cancer risk is real and we must be diligent about protecting our skin, however it's also important to get some sunshine so we make sure we have adequate stores of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system, cardiovascular health, strong bones and teeth and hormonal balance. Recent studies have shown a reduced risk for cancer and diabetes for those with higher Vitamin D levels.
It's advised that sitting out in the sun without sunscreen for 10-15 minutes (or half the time that it takes your skin to burn) a day with your arms and legs exposed can generate enough Vitamin D for most of us. To prevent skin damage avoid overexposure.
To protect my skin I use Beautycounter's mineral sunscreen. Formulated with non-nano zinc oxide and antioxidant-rich California Poppy, it provides an effective shield from UVA, UVB & Blue Light rays. Mineral sunscreens are great for people with sensitive skin as well as babies and kids.