Welcome Summer! 4 Simple and Wonderful Ways to Reignite Your Health This Summer
There’s something about summer that seems to make healthy living and eating almost effortless. With more warm weather activities to enjoy, our lives naturally migrate outdoors, where we can tune into the natural world and reap the benefits. The sunshine, the long days, the sights, sounds and tastes – all of it make summer the perfect time to focus on personal health goals. Here are a few tips to remind you to embrace the season in ways that will make health and spirit soar:
1. Seek the great outdoors…Nature deficit disorder is a common stressor that can negatively impact our mind and mood. Being in nature, whether it’s taking a walk in the park, swimming in a pristine lake, rollerblading, biking, hiking, or kayaking, nourishes you – body, mind and spirit. Make it a point to step outdoors every day this summer and take in the sights, sounds and scents of the season. Even city dwellers can find a nearby park, atrium or window box where they can connect with soul-soothing moments of peace and greenery.
2. Dose up on the sunshine vitamin…Vitamin D is a vitamin superstar. Research continues to flood in on this fascinating vitamin-hormone that performs multiple roles in the body far beyond just building and maintaining bone health. The ultimate D-pendable source? Sunlight – and who doesn’t love a dose of it? Just 10-15 minutes of “incidental” sunlight each day on a small area of exposed skin can power up your cells with this multi-tasking nutrient. Savor a safe dose of D each day this summer (as in no sun-burning please!) and don’t forget to get your level (serum 25 OH vitamin D) checked at least once annually to tailor your needs throughout the year.
3. Go play in the dirt… Recent articles in major medical journals discussed the importance of our gut’s microbial ecosystem and its relation to our overall health. The hygiene hypothesis suggests that our quest for super clean and sterile environments is a contributing factor to the epidemic-sized rise of food allergies and intolerances. My advice? Go out there and get a little dirty. Start by digging in your garden or by planting some veggies and herbs in a window box, anything to connect your body with the earth and the dirt – and don’t be too concerned if you end up consuming a speck or two!
4. Pack in plenty of produce…Gardens abound with a rainbow of colorful vegetables and herbs in the summer time. So whether you’re lucky enough to pick fresh from your own backyard or frequent your local farmers market, aim to add lots of color to your plate with fresh, seasonal vegetables! Remember, a colorful plate will deliver a wide array of health-sustaining vitamins and nutrients into your body, so you’ll enjoy the season with energy and vibrance.
For more ideas on how to reconnect with nature, check out the BBC’s thoughts on the topic: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/24652758