7 ways to stay cool, protected and energised
Summer is finally here! Long lazy days, bright evenings and, for the most part, warm weather. Whenever there is a change of season, a change or adaptation to daily routines is needed; including dietary and lifestyle modifications, new exercise regimes and lifestyle habits.
When the weather gets considerably hotter, you can become more vulnerable to heat stroke, exhaustion and dehydration – so it’s important to support your body appropriately.
Here are CNM’s summer health tips to ensure you stay cool, protected and energised over the next few months.
How to stay healthy this summer
- Drink plenty to stay hydrated – this is key on very hot days to prevent dehydration and fatigue. When the temperature increases, your body aims to cool itself by sweating. Increased sweating in combination with excess heat can easily lead to dehydration. Drink plenty of filtered water, herbal teas like peppermint (which cool the body down) and drinks that contain minerals such as unsweetened coconut water and pure, freshly squeezed fruit juices like melon or pineapple.
Avoid ice cold drinks as they can shock the body and juices that contain added sugar or sweeteners. If you’re exercising in the heat, you may need to increase your electrolyte intake as they can become depleted. Electrolytes are minerals (magnesium, potassium, sodium) the body needs to maintain fluid balance, inside and outside of cells. You can also make a natural electrolyte drink at home by mixing fresh lemon juice, a pinch of sea salt and 1 tsp of raw honey with water.
- Protect your skin from the sun properly and only use natural sun creams. Most sun creams and sprays contain toxic ingredients like octocrylene and oxybenzone which are used as UV filters. These chemicals are known carcinogens (cancer-causing) and incredibly harmful for health. They have been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, birth defects and developmental issues in children.
Stay sun safe by avoiding the sun at peak times, seek out shade wherever possible and use sun protection for your eyes, face and body (wide-brimmed hats, clothing and sunglasses with UV protection). Read labels to check the ingredients in sun creams and if in doubt, make your own natural sun cream using ingredients like zinc oxide, carrot seed oil and beeswax.
- Look after your liver. This is especially important if you’re enjoying a tipple or two over the summer holidays. It’s not to say you can’t enjoy a Pimm’s, cold lager or G&T around the pool or at your friend’s barbecue; it’s all about moderation. Drink plenty of water in between and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks. Support your liver with herbs like milk thistle and dandelion which aid detoxification, protect the liver from harmful substances and help regenerate liver cells (milk thistle specifically does this).
- Eat foods that are in season and grown locally. Energetic qualities change across the seasons and diets should be adjusted to balance the body. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine principles, eating seasonal foods found in nature at particular times of the year enables your body to adapt better to the changing seasons and maintain health. Summer is dominated by heat – inflammation, prickly heat, sun-burn, stress and irritability are associated with excess heat and imbalance in the body.
Eating foods that are high in minerals (especially potassium) is key as it helps replace the minerals lost through sweating.
Balancing foods include:
- Salads and leafy greens (kale, spinach, rocket)
- Water-rich, uncooked vegetables – cucumbers, celery, courgette
- Raw foods – unroasted nuts and seeds, sprouts
- Sweet fruits banana, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, melon
- Chickpeas, mung beans, buckwheat
- Cooling herbs – coriander, mint, watercress, sage, dill
- Bitter herbs – mustard greens, chicory, dandelion leaves
In some countries around the world, natives eat heating foods such as chilli and ginger to promote sweating as it is a way to cool the body down.
Meat is harder to digest and generates more body heat so it’s best to minimise meat consumption in summer and opt for plant-based sources of protein instead (nuts, seeds, pulses).
- Start the day with a refreshing smoothie. Smoothies are quick and easy to make and a nourishing breakfast for busy mornings. Ensure you add some protein (nuts, seeds) and healthy fats (avocado, flaxseed oil) to anchor blood sugar levels and keep you fuller for longer. Try one of these tasty smoothie recipes: green smoothie, superfood smoothie, breakfast smoothie, berry smoothie.
- Keep active. Summer holidays are filled with endless activities, days out and socialising with friends, and exercise routines often get pushed to the bottom of the priority list. Make time for daily exercise to maintain fitness levels, keep mood in check and promote healthy detoxification pathways. Swimming, walking, cycling, dancing and hiking are great forms of exercise in summer.
Wishing you a happy and healthy summer from everyone at CNM!
Learn more about nutrition, herbs and staying healthy: