Staying healthy during summer requires more than just eating the right foods. It is important to take care of your health to protect yourself against the heat. Also, make time to rest, relax and take a nap whenever possible. So enjoy a fun-filled and healthy summer with these natural health tips.
Drink plenty of water [at least 10-12 glasses a day] as it is the key ingredient in keeping the body cool. When heat and humidity are high, we become dehydrated. Our body’s thirst mechanism isn’t very accurate and gets unreliable with age. By the time most of us feel thirsty, we’re already slightly dehydrated. Special care should be taken to make sure infants and toddlers drink enough water as they can become dehydrated more easily than adults.
Take a cool bath or shower once or twice a day.
Protect skin by applying sunscreen with at least a sun protection factor [SPF] of 15. Sunscreen should be applied liberally, uniformly and thickly to all exposed skin surfaces. Don’t forget to protect lips, ears and toes.
Wear light coloured, loose-fitting and preferably cotton clothes.
Sunburn is painful and unhealthy and can lead to skin cancer. [Also, read Ail to Hearty in this issue]. So wear protective clothing and always use an umbrella. For relief from sunburn aloe vera gel is very useful.
Protect eyes from the sun’s dangerous UV rays by wearing sunglasses. Sunglasses with UV protection can help enhance the eyes to filter out the sun’s damaging rays. Choose sunglasses that block 99-100 per cent of UV radiation [UV-A and UV-B].
As the temperatures rises; our body works overtime to stay cool. Avoid outdoor activities during mid-day, when the sun’s rays are strongest. Schedule sports and other outdoor events during the cooler times of the day to reduce the risk of getting a heat related illness such as heat exhaustion or heat stroke.
Stay in air-conditioned areas during hot weather as much as possible. Spending more time in properly ventilated or air-conditioned places decrease the risk of heat-related illnesses.
Do not suddenly go out into the sun from an air-conditioned room or vice-versa. Learn to acclimatise slowly.
Another fact of heat is sweat. Sweating causes loss of many essential minerals and electrolytes in the body. Drink lots of lemon juice, coconut water and thin buttermilk, to replenish the fluids that are thus lost in sweat.
Balance activity with rest. Don’t overexert or squash your energy by pushing yourself beyond physical limits.
Swimming is a good option to beat the heat. However, use ear plugs to prevent the water from entering the ear canal causing it to get inflamed or infected. Follow the safety rules in all swimming areas and of tidal currents when swimming in the ocean. Always supervise young children anywhere near or in water. Do not depend on floaters to keep them safe. You can apply these tips to any beach you go to, whether it be at a star studded beach in California or at one of the many beautiful beach front resorts in myrtle beach SC.
Humidity and pollution, particularly in areas where ozone is a problem, can be difficult, especially for those with asthma and other respiratory problems. Keep a watch over the air quality and plan on limiting physical activity during times of high humidity and heat. Limit time outdoors and try to stay indoors on days that have moderate to poor air quality outlooks.
Eat smart and healthy. Diet should include vitamin B, zinc and anti-oxidants like C, E and carotenoids which will boost our immune system and help fight stress, airborne allergens and toxins.
Juices of grapes, watermelon, orange, mosambi, banana, and pineapple should be taken. The preparations of sugar, barley/green gram, sharbats, and buttermilk with sugar candy can be consumed to cool the body. Use sabza [tulsi seeds] in our drinks – this has a very cooling effect on the body.
Food-borne illnesses are more common in summer as the micro-organisms that cause food-borne disease multiply easily in heat. To avoid food-borne diseases, eat foods that are thoroughly cooked, stored well and refrigerated. Try and avoid junk food, as it increases the risk of stomach and intestine infections.
Maintain energy level by limiting intake of fat and sugar; focus on carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy lean proteins as they have a fairly high water content and good salt balance.
Avoid alcoholic beverages in extreme heat because alcohol can cause dehydration.
Avoid caffeinated or carbonated beverages, and those high in sugar. These drinks act as diuretics and cause loss of fluids through urine.
Cut the intake of fried foods like vadas, samosas, chips, bhajias, and farsans. Fat has a thermal effect.
Reduce intake of vegetables and fruits like spinach, radish, hot peppers, onions, garlic, beetroot, pineapple, grapefruit and ripe mangoes [if you cannot resist mangoes, soak them overnight in water and then eat].
Heat-related deaths and illness are preventable, yet many people succumb to extreme heat each year. Take steps to lower the risk for heat-related illness. To avoid heatstroke, people should stay in a cool environment on hot and humid summer days, and drink excessive fluids.
So, we see that with a little bit of planning, summer can be an enjoyable, healthy season for all ages.