While spring is often touted as the time to get “beach ready” by slimming down and shedding those extra winter pounds, summer is definitely one of the best times to focus on your health. While anytime is the right time to be health-minded, summer can make the job a little easier.
Checkout these 5 reasons summer reigns supreme:
- Fruits and vegetables abound.
Summer means a steady supply of delicious, fresh fruits and vegetables; think peaches, tomatoes, berries, and a cornucopia of greens and squashes, the list is endless! Farmer’s markets are the perfect place to stock-up on local, seasonal fruits and vegetables loaded with health promoting phytochemicals and micronutrients. Fruits and vegetables are micronutrient powerhouses, meaning you get more nutritional bang for your caloric buck. Learn more about the top powerhouse vegetables.
- Better weather and longer days.
More daylight hours, means more time to do the outdoor activities you love. Being outdoors and in nature improves mood and lowers stress. And of course when it comes to getting healthy, exercise is king. Studies show exercise improves health across the board: from improving brain function and preventing dementia to decreasing the risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, depression, and obesity. If you live in hotter climes, you may need to exercise in the early morning or evening hours, and no matter where you live, remember to stay hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water.
- More sunshine.
Summer brings warmer temperatures and with that most of us spend more time outside in the sunshine. This can be good news for many as an estimated 30-50% of adults are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D is acquired through the foods we eat and made in our skin as a response to sunlight exposure. While the Institute of Medicine currently recommends 600IU per day, new data may have that level rising to 7,000IU per day. That’s a whopping increase! But that doesn’t mean you should ditch your sunscreen. Sun overexposure can increase your risk of developing skin cancers, so enjoy that sunshine in moderation.
- Your genes are with you.
Your genes experience seasonal changes. How much and when some of your genes are used depends upon the season. Those impacted most include many of the genes involved in immune functions. In the winter, pro-inflammatory genes are more active, creating greater inflammation while these same genes are less active in the summer. Low-level, chronic inflammation has been implicated in the majority of diseases. Summer naturally gives you an anti-inflammatory boost!
- Summer is a social time.
BBQs, beach parties, picnics, let’s face it, summer is a great time to get together with friends. And being socially connected improves your health. Studies have shown that having strong social ties improves health in a multitude of ways. Spending time with friends can help prevent minor illnesses, improve healing and recovery times for major illnesses, decrease chronic pain and the risk of heart disease, help prevent depression, and improve overall life quality.
Until next time, stay well!
Dr. Tobi Schmidt