Woo, it's time to get out of the office and into the pool or out on a sandy beach! Just don’t get too overexcited to get outside into the summer sun and forget to protect yourself, or else you’ll get that all too familiar red glow of sunburn! But, Instead of letting sunburn get you down about going outside, try these helpful tips to protect your skin from the sun's rays, alleviate burns, and even reduce the risk of cancer!
The first thing many people think to do slather themselves in sunscreen whenever they step outside the door! But not so fast! Some brands of commercially made sunscreen products contain various chemicals and pharmaceuticals that have the potential to cause cancer and reactions! The most problematic of sunscreen chemicals in the U.S. is oxybenzone, found in nearly every chemical sunscreen! EWG recommends that consumers AVOID this chemical because it can “penetrate the skin, cause allergic skin reactions, and may disrupt hormones!” According to WebMD, retinyl palmitate is another chemical you should look out for! Multiple lab tests have found a connection to skin cancer. On top of that, wearing sunscreen blocks the body's absorption of ultraviolet radiation that produces vitamin D in your skin! As studies have shown, Vitamin D prevents 77 percent of all cancers, so limit the amount and duration of time you wear sunblock! The best thing to do is to allow your skin some time to soak in direct sunlight before applying sunscreen. Check out this website for more detail on the amount of direct sunlight needed. (http://www.sunshinevitamin.org/) Also, try some natural brands or remedies to use! Coconut oil is a proven sunscreen that is not only good for blocking the rays but also promoting healthy skin!
If you do manage to get sunburned, try these remedies:
Remember, the BEST remedy is PREVENTION. Use a sunscreen without the harmful chemicals. A good alternative is a sun screen with Zink Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. Also, wear protective clothing such as rash guards (breathable long sleeve shirts, hats, etc.), and limit your exposure to direct sunlight![G1] [G2]
Water keeps every part of your body working! Between flushing out bodily wastes, helping your body maintain its temperature, and other important bodily functions, staying hydrated, especially during this summer heat, is a key component to living a healthy lifestyle! A common recommendation to stay hydrated is to drink six-eight 8oz glasses of water a day, but one thing we overlook is how the food we eat affects our hydration!
According to the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations we should eat 20 percent of our daily water intake. Soup, yogurt, and oatmeal are all great fluid-filled foods, but some of the best things to eat during these hot months are these fruits and veggies:
-Cucumbers- with 96.7% water content, its no wonder why they are considered a summer veggie! Serve with some hummus, or in a salad. Mix it in a tomato cucumber salad, tomatoes are also high in water content!
-Watermelon- not only is it 92% water, but watermelon has salt, calcium and magnesium that is ideal for rehydration, and it is a good source of potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
-Iceberg Lettuce- Usually shunned nutrition wise by health experts who recommend darker green, iceberg lettuce may not be as nutrient rich, but when it comes to water-content, it has the highest of any lettuce! Pile it on a sandwich or enjoy a delicious Ice Burg Wedge!
-Strawberries- they taste great on their own and in smoothies! Loaded with fiber and vitamin C, they also have the most water content of any berry! (92% water)
-Celery- 95 % water, high in fiber and minerals such as potassium and vitamin K. Make a veggie plate with other water-rich veggies such as fresh peppers, cauliflower, radishes, and tomatoes!
On top of eating these great foods, here are some other helpful methods to stay hydrated:
-Sports Drinks- Many people may reach for the sports drink for those extra electrolytes, and they are great for bringing the body back to balance after a grueling workout, but one great alternative is…
-Coconut Water- Unlike sports beverages; coconut water is low in carbohydrates, while still rich in potassium. And its unsweetened varieties can be very hydrating (assuming you like its unique taste).
-Coffee-Isn’t coffee a diuretic? Well, yes, but a recent study in PLOS ONE debunks the myth that it also causes dehydration. Not only will that morning cup of joe contribute to your water intake, coffee helps sharpen your memory, boost your athletic performance, and it contains antioxidants!
“Experts say that it's not true that beverages that have caffeine-such as coffee, tea, and cola drinks-always dehydrate you. Healthy people who consume moderate amounts of caffeine don't lose more fluid than people who don't have any caffeine.1 A moderate amount of caffeine is about 200 to 300 milligrams a day. That's about two to four 8-ounce cups of coffee.” –WebMD
Remember, drinking plenty of water is still plenty important to proper hydration. If you are unsure if you are dehydrated, some common signs that you need more water are fatigue, headaches, nausea, and dizziness. When in doubt, take a look at your pee! Urine should range from clear to a pale yellow color at most. If it is any darker, go drink some water!