Do you ever think about your family’s summer nutrition? If you’re like most of us, probably not. We aren’t as likely to get colds, our schedules aren’t as regimented with the kids out of school, and we have different activities with which to amuse ourselves. It’s also harder to plan meals while you’re on vacation or out on a day trip, so you may tend to slack off a bit during the summer months, too.
There are a few guidelines you can follow that will help keep your health up during the summer months. We all know how cheated we feel when we manage to catch a cold in August…so don’t let that happen to you! First, we’ll talk about why summer vacation can compromise your health.
Why You Might Get Sick in Summer
There are lots of factors about summertime life that, when combined, can compromise your family’s health.
No exercise: Unless you’re an active family that can’t keep still, hot summer weather probably keeps you inside more, especially your kids, who rely on electronic devices for entertainment. Running from the car to the air conditioning is probably the extent of your exercise regimen when Mother Nature sets the temperature at “blast-furnace”. On top of it all, the artificial chilliness of air conditioning can throw a sensitive person’s system off balance, especially when you sleep near a fan or an AC vent.
Junk food: Outdoor barbecues, beach parties and the like tend to harbor a lot of junk food, processed foods, and sugar. You may be tempted to make food choices that sabotage your summer nutrition, just like during the holidays!
Lack of sleep: If the kids are out of school, bedtimes might not be as strict. Long summer evenings mean your family may stay out later and not get as much sleep. As you know, sleep is your body’s time to repair–physically and mentally!
Stress: Not that summertime is more stressful than any other time, but it has its moments, like the hustle of traveling on vacation. You know you’ve said it: “I need a vacation from my vacation!”
Travel: Recycled airplane air. Enough said.
Because your cells don’t take vacations, you must remember to bolster your summer nutrition. Your genes don’t go on vacation, either. If you’ve identified genetic attributes like MTHFR, which affects your body’s absorption of key B vitamins, you must make sure your body is supported by the correct nutrition and supplementation all year long.
Summer Nutrition Tips
Eat with the season: Summertime brings with it a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables. Make sure you enjoy this bounty of antioxidants and phytonutrients while you can. Remember, just because you can enjoy a mango in the dead of winter, doesn’t mean you should. But watermelon in summer is refreshing and light, just what your system craves. Your metabolism will function more efficiently if you eat with the seasons. Each season brings with it the proper nutrients to sustain good health. And summer also gives you an opportunity to serve healthy foods in different ways. Try iced green tea for a change or homemade fresh fruit sorbet!
Continue your supplements: Let’s face it, we tend to eat the same things, no matter what season it is. It’s just easier to do the shopping and meal planning that way. So, don’t get lazy about keeping up your supplement regimen. Because of all the reasons above–different schedule, vacation travel, and shift in eating habits–maintaining your supplement intake becomes even more critical for your summer nutrition. If you are taking high-quality supplements, especially those suggested by your doctor, it’s best to keep up with them. You wouldn’t quit taking a prescription, would you? Your kids are still growing, and they grow faster in the summer, so it just makes good sense to ensure their summer nutrition remains strong and balanced, too.
The most expensive supplements are those you 1) take but don’t need and 2) need but don’t take enough of, or don’t take a high enough quality to get a therapeutic dose. For example, you know taking probiotics is probably a good idea, but did you know there are dozens of strains to choose from? And that each strain is responsible for working a little differently in your body than others? Some even compete with each other, called competitive inhibition. You can see that taking the wrong probiotic may not help you, and may even set you back! Depending on your needs, your doctor may recommend a fairly pricey probiotic, but failing to take the proper dose “to save money” might not do you any good. The lesson here is: don’t waste your money on supplements by taking the wrong ones or taking them in the wrong way. Ask your integrative doctor how he or she determines which supplements are best for you.
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