Smart and Healthy Summer Living

Make the most out of your summer with these key health and nutrition tips.

June to August are probably the best months out of the entire year because we can take advantage of the warmer weather, more sunshine, seasonal produce, and a plethora of exciting outdoor activities and events. Here are some tips and things to keep in mind so you can enjoy a healthy and safe summer.

Eating colourfully

From June to August there is a cornucopia of seasonal produce. This means many fruits and vegetables are at their best during this time of harvest (and cheaper). Seasonal vegetables and fruit taste amazing, are low in calories and are nutrient-packed. Remember to wash before eating.

Vegetables:

Adzuki beans, Arrowhead, Arugula, Asian cucumber, Beets, Bitter melon, Carrots, Chinese eggplant, Chinese lotus, Chinese pumpkin, Cilantro, Daylily, Luffa, Mung bean, Purple taro, Radishes, Water chestnut, Winter melon, Yard-long melon, Zucchini, …

Fruits:

Apricots, Asian pear, Black currants, Blackberries, Boysenberries, Cantaloupe, Casaba melon, Champagne grapes, Cherries, Crenshaw melon, Durian, Elderberries, Figs, Grapefruit, Honeydew melon, Jackfruit,  Limes, Lemon, Loganberries, Longan, Loquat, Lychee, Nectarine, Passion fruit, Peaches, Plums, Sapodillas, Sapote, Strawberries, Tomatoes, Watermelon,

Outdoor activities and healthy sun exposure

Longer sunlight hours mean there’s more opportunity for you to get fresh air, soak up some vitamin D and be physically active. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. Midday is the perfect time to get some sun – but no more than 10-15 minutes each day.

Why vitamin D?

It helps with calcium absorption, it boosts your mood, and has been found to mitigate some risks associated with heart disease, type one and type two diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and colorectal cancer. However, too much sun is not good. Long-term sun exposure without proper clothing, UV protective sunglasses or sunscreen protection could increase your risk for skin cancer, cataract development, and promote dry and damaged skin.

To maintain healthy skin, eat more foods high in antioxidants and vitamin C, such as raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries. The best foods for eye health include those high in omega-3s (fish, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, lentils, chia, flax, or hemp seeds), lutein and zeaxanthin (spinach, kale, collards, eggs), vitamin A and beta carotene (carrots, sweet potatoes), and zinc (beef, chicken, pork).

Hydration

Beverages with key electrolytes, for example sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and bicarbonate, may be beneficial if you sweat a lot. Proper fluid and electrolyte balance will help prevent dehydration, maintain skin integrity, help nerve and muscle activity along with your acid-base balance.

Did you know you can lose water even when you don’t sweat?

General recommendations for the average healthy person are to drink 6-8 glasses of water every day. However, this will also depend on temperature, if you are sick, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you are doing activities that make you sweat more. To see if you are drinking enough water, check your urine: clear or pale yellow indicates adequate hydration, while a darker colour indicates the opposite.

By Rosanna Lee, RD, MS, MHSc, PHEc.

Rosanna Lee
Rosanna Lee

Rosanna Lee is a registered dietitian with the College of Dietitians of Ontario. She graduated from Ryerson University and D’Youville College, and has two graduate degrees and more than 1200 hours of clinical training. Rosanna provides nutrition and health workshops and one-on-one nutrition counselling for clients. In addition to her clinical practice, Rosanna is also a food product consultant, brand marketer and nutrition educator. Her work is often featured in Global News, Huffington Post Canada, and Healthy Directions Magazine.

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/rosannaleerd
Instagram: @thegoodlife.rd
Email: rosannaleerd@gmail.com
Facebook: The Good Life with Rosanna (@thegoodlifenutritionist)

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