Ways to Never Feel Sick in the Summer Again
To feel sick in the summer is to not have much fun at all.
During a time where most are outdoors, lounging on the beach, or sipping cocktails poolside, you could be stuck indoors, sleeping under a blanket of Kleenex, if you aren’t careful.
“The summer is a time for celebrating, but it’s also a time where your immune system can be most vulnerable, if you aren’t careful,” says Tessa Prior-Pullins, one of the lead dietitians for BistroMD.
Your immune system’s increased vulnerability is due to the unhealthy habits many of us engage in to celebrate our freedom from work, stress, or school during the summer months.
“To cope with all of our built up stress and eagerness to kick back, many of us throw our healthy habits to the wayside, and disregard our nutrition,” says Tessa. “In order to stay healthy during the summer, it’s important that you don’t neglect healthy habits.”
To keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy, our expert dietitian, Tessa, is sharing some specific tips and tricks to keep your immune system working, so you can have a sizzling summer season.
Don’t Forget About Fruit
Fruit is always a big theme during the summer months. Not only is fruit delicious, but it can be effective at preventing the onslaught of germs that can cause you to feel sick in the summer.
“Fruit can be considered a summer staple, so take advantage of this,” says Tessa. “Look for fruits that are low in sugar, but high in things like vitamins and minerals.”
Listed below are some fruits you should include on your summer palate that are low in sugar, and packed with optimal nutrition.
In addition to being low in sugar, apples are packed full of vitamin C. They also contain a soluble fiber called pectin, which assists in eliminating toxins from the body.
These succulent pieces of fruit are a great source of vitamin A. They are also plentiful in vitamin C, and calcium, which helps improve your body’s defenses against germs.
Berries are colorful and tasty, and they provide your body with a number of nutrients. Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are all low in sugar, and contain good supplies of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are effective at strengthening your immune system, and have also been shown to help reduce your risk of certain cancers.
Kiwi is a summer fruit staple, but it is also packed with a number of nutritional benefits.
Kiwis not only supply our bodies with vitamin C, but they are also a good source of potassium. Kiwis also contain actinidin, which is a digestive enzyme. Actinidin assists in our digestive health by efficiently extracting nutrients from our food.
Pears, like apples, are low in sugar and contain the soluble fiber, pectin. Pears also contain potassium, which have been shown to help reduce your risk of hypertension.
“Incorporating a serving of fruit, or a serving of mixed fruit, is one of the best and easiest ways to keep yourself healthy this summer,” says Tessa. “Each fruit contains essential nutrition that will keep your immune system boosted to prevent those summer germs from wreaking havoc.”
Avoid Over-Consumption of Alcohol
Alcohol can be a great thing to have at your summer party, but it can ruin your healthy diet, and break down your immune system, if you aren’t careful.
“Alcohol can be bad if it is over-consumed, just because it is filled with empty calories. This can cause nutritional deficiencies if you let yourself drink too much,” says Tessa. “These empty calories can make us feel full, when we really aren’t, causing us to eat more food, more frequently. Your body’s lack of nutrients also leaves you more susceptible to viruses.”
Naturally, during the summer, you would like to sip on a delicious cocktail by the pool, or have a few drinks with friends at a party.
“Having a drink every once in a while with friends is perfectly okay,” says Tessa. “No more than two drinks per week won’t put a big damper on your healthy plans. Ideally, you want to make sure that your drink of choice is low in calories. Avoid drinks like margaritas, and daiquiris. They are both high in sugar and calories.”
If you still want a fruity cocktail, or are craving a mixed drink, there are other alternatives. Rather than buying pre-made mixes, create your own cocktail by blending together a variety of mixed fruits.
“Blending together your own mixed drinks using low sugar fruits is a great way to still get your cocktail fix, while cutting calories in half,” says Tessa. “Avoid putting too much alcohol in each drink. This can spike your caloric intake quickly.”
Be Mindful of Where You Settle, and How You Travel
It is no secret that airplanes are factories for germs, which is why it is essential that you take the necessary health precautions if you are going to travel sky-high.
“Other than winter, many people consider summer to be just as bad for cold and flu season,” says Tessa. “This is due, in part, to summer traveling.”
On an airplane, hundreds of people are crammed into a small space, which makes these traveling speed demons a perfect breeding ground for germs and viruses.
“Many of the germs on airplanes are airborne, so it’s important that you do everything you can to prevent yourself from getting sick,” says Tessa. “Before you depart, make sure that you eat a healthy diet, and that you stock up on vitamins and minerals in the weeks prior. This will help your immune system fight off many of the germs that linger in the air.”
Once you land, it’s important that you are mindful of your environment, and where you will be settling down. Certain destinations are known for certain illnesses, so it’s important that you prepare yourself accordingly.
“Before traveling, I would make sure that your immunizations are up to date, especially for things like the flu, and for viruses like small pox and malaria,” says Tessa. “Eating the right foods can help you stay healthy, but only the proper vaccinations can prevent you from getting these type of diseases and viruses. You should also make it a point to get a complete physical exam before hitting your vacation destination. This way, you know for sure you are in optimal health before travel.”
By following these tips from our expert, and by taking the necessary precautions to prepare for your summer, you can feel healthy and happy basking in the summer sun.