The summer is a time for celebrating. But can also be a time of summer colds and illness if not careful, even if not considered the prime flu season.
Summertime sickness may be the result of a vulnerable immune system, virus, and heat-related illness. Lyme disease caused by a tick bite, poison ivy, and food poisoning are also common summer threats.
Regardless of the source, do not let sickness get you down this year. We are sharing healthy tips and tricks for a sizzling summer season!
How to Avoid Summer Sickness
Learn how to avoid summer sickness with healthy summer eating and drinking tips. Learn how to travel mindfully, too, to stay healthy and enjoy the summer to the max.
Diet Tricks to Stay Healthy
Diet is at the core of a healthy body, no matter the season. And here are some healthy eating tricks to keep the body healthy during the summer months.
1. Nosh on colorful and fresh fruits and veggies.
Fruits and veggies are abundant in nutrients that support the immune system and overall health. Some colorful fruits and vegetables to eat more of include:
• Oranges and other citrus fruits contain vitamin C, a vitamin well-known for immune health.
• Apples are packed full of vitamin C and a soluble fiber called pectin, which assists in eliminating toxins from the body.
• Carrots contain vitamin A, which can lead to a healthy immune system. Vitamin A deficiency has also been associated with increased infection risk.
• Apricots 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.
• Spinach is rich in folate, vitamin A, and vitamin E, all of which support a healthy immune system.
• Blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are all low in sugar and contain good supplies of antioxidants. Antioxidants are effective at strengthening the immune system.
• Kiwis not only supply our bodies with vitamin C, but they are also a good source of potassium.
All-in-all, try to include more colorful fruits and veggies. The more color in the diet, often the more nutrients available to support a healthy body and immune system. This, in turn, can lower the risk of developing the cold, flu, or any other illness.
2. Ensure adequate protein.
Protein is important for a number of reasons, including immune health. The macronutrient helps produce antibodies, a key component in the immune system that helps the body fight against foreign invaders that could trigger inflammation and infection.
Protein is found in a variety of foods, including animal meats, beans, nuts, and seeds. Veggies also contain protein in trace amounts.
These food sources contain other nutrients helpful for a strong body, too. For instance, beef contains iron and zinc, both of which can boost the immune system. Egg yolks also supply vitamin D and vitamin B12 that work to keep the immune system active and strong.
The dietary reference intake (DRI) for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram (g/kg) of body weight. This amounts to at least 56 and 46 grams per day for men and women, respectively.
3. Include more probiotics.
Probiotics are good, live microorganisms shown to keep the gut healthy. Probiotics are likewise helpful in protecting from foodborne illnesses and preventing colds and infection.
Common sources of probiotics include yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha. Also, look for names like Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium on the ingredient label.
4. Focus on a balanced diet.
All-in-all, a balanced diet offering variety helps ensure the body is equipped with adequate nutrients to stay healthy. Focus on whole grains, fresh produce, lean proteins, and healthy fat sources.
Proper meal plating can also help with calorie and portion control. Use these tips when plating:
• Fill at least half the plate with veggies, including with roasted cauliflower, steamed broccoli, or raw salad greens.
• Designate a quarter of the plate for lean protein, such as chicken, sirloin, or fish. Plant-based proteins may include black beans or tempeh.
• Use the remaining quarter for a serving of complex carbohydrate. This may be a ½ cup of brown rice or small sweet potato.
• Complement with a healthy fat source, including a light drizzle of olive oil or half an avocado.
Avoiding Too Much Alcohol
While you can still enjoy a summertime drink, avoid drinking too much alcohol. Not only overdoing it deter a healthy diet but start impeding on a healthy body.
Too much alcohol can negatively affect the immune system, making it more susceptible to illness and infection. Drinking in the sun can also make matters worse. The heat can lead to heat exhaustion and even be fatal.
Smarter drinking tips include:
1. Stick to serving sizes: This is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.
2. Pick healthier options: Ideally, make sure the drink of choice is low in calories. Avoid drinks like margaritas, and daiquiris that are high in sugar and calories.
3. Create homemade cocktails rather than pre-made mixes: Simply blend a serving of alcohol with a variety of mixed fruits or unsweetened beverages.
4. Hydrate with water: First off, hydration is key throughout the summer. Drink water even when not feeling thirsty and with all alcoholic beverages to help keep the body hydrated.
Mindfulness While Traveling
Traveling is common during the summer, but it also comes with risks. Be mindful and healthy when traveling using these tips:
1. Take preventative measures before traveling.
Airplanes are factories for germs, which is why it is essential to take the necessary health precautions if traveling sky-high. Preventative measures may include the following:
• Make sure to eat a healthy diet, stocking up on vitamins and minerals in the weeks prior. This can help the immune system fight off many of the germs that linger in the air.
• Be up-to-date with all immunizations. Proper vaccinations can prevent you from getting these type of diseases and viruses. Also a complete physical exam before hitting that vacation destination. This way, you know the status of health before traveling.
• Exercising regular can improve overall health, in turn strengthening the immune system. Lead an active lifestyle leading up, and during, the trip.
2. Pack accordingly.
Though regions and seasons dictate the climate, dress accordingly when traveling. Pack accordingly to the hot weather, which includes light and breathable clothing.
On the contrary, pack warmer clothes if traveling to a cooler climate. Light, yet warm layers are essentials. Gloves, hats, scarves, and waterproof and snow boots should be packed as needed.
3. Continue healthy habits on the trip.
While trips should be enjoyed, still try to withhold healthy habits. Some habits to sustain may include the following:
• Allow some indulgences while focusing on eating nutrient-dense foods. Treats are meant to be relished on mindfully, while the body thrives best on nourishing foods.
• Wash hands properly and frequently to prevent germs from spreading. Effective hand washing should last at least 20 seconds, lathering up with soap and rinsing with clean water.
• Moderate alcohol intake. Again, this means sticking to a proper portion and serving sizes. Try to avoid sugary cocktails and drink water while drinking, too.
• Try to stay active while traveling. This may include walking when possible, seeking out adventure, and using a hotel fitness area. However, try to avoid overexertion in the heat. Exercising in the morning or evening may be cooler times if not exercising indoors.
Ultimately, enjoy the summertime while trying to put your healthiest foot forward. Doing so can help ensure a healthy body to enjoy summertime at its max!