Denver, CO — Optimum Wellness Presented by King Soopers
Author- Dr. James Rouse
Eight tips to optimize your health as the temperatures rise.
Summer fun involves a multitude of activities in the heat and sun: water, picnics, family get-togethers, travel, gardening and more. To make the most of season, stay healthy with the following tips.
- Stay Ahead of Hydration. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. By the time you recognize your thirst, chances are you are heading towards dehydration. Water helps maintain body temperature, which is key during warmer weather. One indicator of hydration is the color of your urine; it should be pale yellow. If it becomes dark yellow or odorous, you likely need to drink more.
- Protect Your Eyes. Exposure to early morning sunlight without sunglasses but not staring directly at the sun can actually be beneficial to the eyes and the pineal gland (in the brain), positively impacting circadian rhythms (aka sleep-wake patterns). After 10 a.m., wear sunglasses to block ultraviolet A and B rays and protect your eyes from sun damage—and crow’s feet around the eyes, too.
- Get Outdoors Early in the Day. A little exposure to sun is an excellent way to get a bit of vitamin D, and it’s a natural mood booster. Ideally, limit sun exposure to the hours before 10 a.m. and after about 3 p.m. Between those hours when the UV rays are at their strongest, wear at least 15 SPF sunscreen and reapply every two hours, if you continue to be exposed, to avoid sun damage.
- Go Easy on Alcohol. As tempting as it is to splurge on beer or cocktails when lounging or playing in the sun, it is best avoided. Alcohol can be dehydrating because it acts as a diuretic, leading to increased urination and sweating. If you get intoxicated, you may lose track of the time you’re out in the sun, increasing your risk of sun damage and sunburn. Women tolerate alcohol differently than men, and drinking alcohol is associated with specific increased health risks in women, including heart disease, breast cancer and liver disease.
- Drink (Green) Tea. Iced tea is almost synonymous with summertime. Consider making iced green tea. Numerous studies have shown that catechins (antioxidants) in green tea may protect the skin from harmful UV rays. The catechin responsible for sun protection is called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG); it also has other awesome benefits, including controlling blood sugar, boosting metabolism and preventing certain cancers.
- Eat Your Red, White, Blues and Greens. Summer may be all about hot dogs and apple pie, but it should really be about the abundance of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables that abound this time of year. Eating a variety of colors—think cherries, berries, lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, summer squash—will keep you feeling (and living) longer, stronger, younger, healthier and happier.
- Don’t Lounge Around in a Wet Bathing Suit. Pools, hot tubs, lakes and the ocean are breeding grounds for bacteria. While chlorine is meant to kill such bacteria, it can also wipe out the body’s good bacteria and be a serious irritant for not only the vagina, but also the skin. Instead of avoiding water altogether, shower before and after you soak, empty your bladder before and after you soak and, if possible, change out of your wet bathing suit into some cotton underwear and light, breathable shorts or a sundress.
- Rest Well. Remember tip number two where you expose your eyes to natural sunlight early on and that helps support your circadian rhythm? Try to honor that and resist the temptation to stay up later during the longer days of summer. Invest in some blackout drapes, if necessary, and get to bed before 10 p.m. We know adequate sleep is essential for optimum health, mood, cognition and metabolism, so try and keep the same sleep patterns all year long.