We are well into summer now — school will be back in session before you know it. I hope you’ve been enjoying yourself and finding ways to stay active and get outdoors for some contact with nature. Here in 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 stay protected and keep your cool? I have some tips for you.
Number one priority — stay hydrated! As a rule of thumb, drink twice the amount of water you do in the cooler months. Not only do we lose water when we perspire profusely in the hot weather, we lose electrolytes. What are electrolytes? They’re minerals that help our bodies maintain proper electrical signaling functions in your muscles and nervous system. Very important! You can replace these using a variety of beverages, but watch out for those that are packed with sugar or nasty artificial sweeteners. Of course there are healthier choices available to you and I’ll share a few of my favorites.
Fruit water is a nice homemade treat made by placing chunks of your favorite fruits in a pitcher, filling with cold water and just a pinch of Himalayan sea salt, and storing that in your 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 are watermelon, cucumber/mint, and lemon/lime. Experiment until you find your favorites. Just be sure to take the peels off your citrus fruits before putting them in the water so it doesn’t get bitter.
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 yummy choices — I like them blended together to make a berry lemonade flavor. Thorne Research brand Amino Complex (also in Lemon or Berry) is also a great choice and particularly good if you’re exercising in the heat because it helps fuel your muscles too. Both of those are available through our online dispensary website, NP Script. Call or email us for the passcode to set up your account so you can order those.
But what if you’re on the go and didn’t prepare ahead of time and take your electrolyte water with you? Pick up a nice cold coconut water or pressed juice at the corner store and enjoy, knowing it’s replenishing electrolytes. Sure those are high in natural sugars, but they provide nutrients you wouldn’t get in a soda. If you’re out and about doing some golfing or swimming, you’ll burn up that sugar in no time anyway.
Would you like to know a way to prevent sun damage to your skin beyond just using sunscreen? Take a tip from the plant world and fill yourself up with antioxidants. You know that antioxidants are found abundantly in dark leafy greens and berries and fruits, right? Ever wonder why that is? It’s because plants have to stand outside in the sun all day long with little to no protection from the blazing sun, so they produce lots of antioxidant-containing pigments to protect themselves from oxidative damage. We are the lucky bystanders who can benefit from this by eating lots and lots of the fruits of their labor (pun intended!) to get those antioxidants inside our bodies to protect us too.
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, et — which is hard to believe, because they’re so tasty — 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 sunrays 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 a really good supply of antioxidants in your system. Nobody wants to prematurely wrinkle from sun damage.
One last tip about antioxidants — your body won’t be able to absorb them to their full potential unless your gut is teeming with happy, healthy probiotic microbes. That’s right, you need plentiful friendly gut bacteria in order to digest and absorb antioxidants from your food, or from your supplements for that matter. So whenever you eat or drink your greens and berries make sure to take a probiotic supplement or add a serving of truly cultured yogurt to the mix to provide the good bugs. If you don’t already have a greens/berries powder you love, you can get that on the NP Script website too — there are several great ones to choose from. My personally favorite is the Prescribed Choice brand Get Healthy Greens, which also has probiotics in it. 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. 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 frozen berry popsicle in one hand and a tall glass of fruit water in the other and enjoy the rest of your summer.
By Dr. Lauri Brouwer, NMD
Learn more about Dr. Brouwer here