The heat of the summer can bring many challenges: dehydration, bugs, sunburns to name a few. Continue reading to learn natural ways to hydrate, protect yourself from bug bites and get the most out of the sunshine.
1. Hydrating Foods- Incorporate foods with higher water content such as cucumber, radishes, spinach, tomatoes and fresh fruits.
2. Cooling Foods - In Ayruvedic and Chinese medicine, certain herbs and fruits promote a "cooling effect". This effect is opposite from "warming" foods and spices which are encouraged in the winter.
Cooling spices/herbs: Dill, fennel, mint, cilantro, lime (1).
DIY Electrolyte Water:
- Pitcher of water
- 1 teaspoon of natural sweetener (ex. honey, maple syrup, agave, coconut sugar)
- Pinch of salt (Himalayan sea salt preferred but not required)
- Squeeze of lemon
Mix with spoon. Drink 1-3 cups per day to maintain proper electrolyte levels.
This is especially helpful if you experience lightheadedness in the summer, or in general from moving around
1. Certain essential oils such as Tea tree oil, Citronella, Lavender and Citrus-containing oils have shown to provide bug-repelling activities.
2. Other studies suggest that consuming foods higher in B vitamins, or supplementing with a B complex could prevent mosquito bites, however results are mixed.
3. Use long pants/shirts when walking in highly forested areas, and if using DEET products - spray over top of clothing and avoid contact with face.
4. If out in nature or camping, check for ticks once a day. If a tick is found, bring in for testing. The link below provides instructions for handling and submitting a tick - if you do end up encountering one!
This happened to my mother before after being in contact with our dog that had some, luckily the tick was benign.
Contact your doctor if you develop a bull's eye rash, and have muscle pains and a fever. Lyme infections are easier treated in the acute stage. Longer term infections are trickier to treat, as "biofilms" are created by the Lyme infection. A biofilm "hides" the infection from the body. There is ongoing research for both medicinal and herbal remedies that can better treat during this phase. Stevia has been suggested as a possible example (2)
NATURAL SUN PROTECTION:
1. Consuming foods higher in antioxidants like berries and green tea may increase the body's ability to ward off UV light rays. Foods high in Vitamin A can also offer skin protection. Examples: Bell Peppers, Sweet Potatos, Carrots, Spinach, and Broccoli.
2. Protect face, and eyes during hours of high sun exposure using hats, sunglasses and shade (a tree or umbrella).
3. Use a sunscreen if out for extended periods of time (ex. longer than 15 minutes). In order to get adequate natural Vitamin D, the skin usually needs to be exposed for only 15 minutes usually.
The Environmental Working Guide (EWG) suggests limiting use of sunscreens containing higher toxicity ingredients such as Oxybenzone and Octinoxate. Oxybenzone should be specifically avoided in children, or limited. These ingredients may disrupt hormone function if used longer term, however data is insufficient. In particular, the FDA claims the following regarding Oxybenzone:
It is allergenic
Is absorbed through the skin in large amounts
Has been detected in human breast milk, amniotic fluid, urine and blood
Is a potential endocrine disruptor (hormonal )
Arguments against these claims (usually are based on the fact of a concept of "dose exposure". This is due to the fact that on a daily basis our bodies are being exposed to small amounts of toxins (in cleaning products, body products, pesticides and more) and that at certain doses do not cause harmful effects. What is difficult to determine is what dose is safe versus when it will cause harmful effect. It is up to the consumer to inform themselves and make an informed decision.
Who can benefit from choosing safer sunscreens?
- Pregnant women
- Children (especially those with developmental, learning disabilities or special needs who may have a lower threshold)
- Women with a history of hormonal cancer (ex. breast, uterine, ovarian etc.)
- Individuals with a chronic illness such as an auto-immune condition, a brain injury/neurological disorder, skin condition, or those with serious mental health conditions (many sunscreen ingredients may have neurotoxic effects)
Ingredients thought to have a lower toxicity profile are: Zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide.
Check out this infographic below from the environmental working group reviewing different sunscreen ingredients.
If you are interested in learning more about how to practice good summer wellness, then book a FREE 15 Minute Discovery Call Here.
You can also read about my post on Allergies, which is also summer wellness related! Be sure to subscribe to my blog on the home page to stay up-to-date.