10 Summer Nutrition Tips
Get Key Nutrients from Sun, Air, Water and Live Food
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In many parts of the country, most people are much more active outdoors enjoying the warm weather. This poses challenges for some people when it comes to figuring out how to eat healthy on the go.
On the other hand, in Arizona (as well as some other states), it is too hot during the summer (like 115 degrees in Phoenix!) to do much out outdoors, and this also presents some lifestyle challenges.
To have the energy you need to do the things you want to do, the type of food you eat should depend on your body type, your climate, as well as your activity level.
But regardless of whether you are more active or less active during summer, it is important to remember that the key nutrients our bodies need come from the sun, air, water as well as live, fresh food. The following are my top tips for health eating.
10 Summer Nutrition Tips for Good Health
- Get outdoors. Be active outdoors daily since we absorb many essential nutrients from the sun, especially vitamin D. We can also glean some of the sun nutrients by eating food that is grown in the sun, such as fruit, berries, herbs, and vegetables, preferably organic. Expose your arms and legs to the sun (without sunscreen) for about 30 minutes 3 times a week for optimal vitamin D levels.
- Breathe fresh air. Oxygen is obviously essential to health and life in general, but most people are oxygen deprived due to shallow breathing habits. Be mindful to take full, deep breaths and exhale completely, especially when outdoors in the fresh air. Interestingly, the best way to get adequate oxygen to every cell in the body is by staying fully hydrated.
- Drink enough water. Drink plenty of clean, filtered water to keep your body hydrated, to help metabolize food, and to flush out toxins. The general guideline is to drink a minimum of 8 eight-ounce glasses a day OR half of your body weight in ounces. Add one-half of a fresh-squeezed lemon to your water once or twice a day for the additional benefits of lemon juice.
- Eat live food. Carry a small, soft-sided cooler with you wherever you go so that you can eat primarily whole, fresh foods, especially vegetables and some fruit. Choose foods that are nutrient dense and avoid snack foods such as muffins, cookies, chips and crackers that are high in flour, sugar, sodium and trans fats (check the labels).
- Choose healthy fats. Nuts and nut butters, avocados, olives and olive spreads, and soft cheeses (preferably organic) are healthy fat foods that you can spread on raw vegetables or high-fiber crackers. Eating healthy fats will also help you burn fat and give you more endurance.
- Enjoy high-fiber cards. Starchy carbohydrates (most breads, baked goods, pastas, potatoes, chips, crackers, cookies) are acidifying in the body and can cause unhealthy weight gain and blood sugar imbalances. Healthier carbohydrate alternatives include high-fiber crackers (Wasa brand is a good choice) nut thin crackers, sprouted grain or manna bread found at most health food stores.
- Snack on nuts and seeds. Most people do best when eating a small amount of protein every two to three hours. Protein will not only help you maintain energy and strength, ibut it will help regulate your insulin and blood sugar levels. For a quick and easy protein snack, a small handful of raw almonds or seeds is a great choice. Avoid peanuts.
- Balance your foods. Eat a balance of carbohydrate (primarily vegetables and a small amount of fruit), lean or plant-based protein, and healthy fats throughout the day. Your nutrient requirements depend on your individual metabolic needs, so choosing a variety of foods is your best bet.
- Combine food wisely. Avoid combining meat protein with starchy carbohydrates (such as bread or potatoes) at the same meal. Instead choose lean protein (such as turkey, chicken, tuna or veggie burgers) with a variety of raw vegetables or salad. Or choose an open-faced vegetarian sandwich on sprouted grain bread, with hummus, nut butter, avocado or cheese topped with lettuce or sprouts. Read more here about simple food combining guidelines.
- Drink only water or herb tea. Most beverages, including fruit juice, are full of sugar. Eat the whole fruit instead of drinking juices. If you drink juice, dilute it half and half with water. Herbal and fruit teas sweetened with stevia are a better choice. Whatever you drink, stay away from sodas and sports drinks. They are highly acidifying in the body and contain a ton of sugar, which will significantly decrease your immunity immediately.
In reality, we need less food during the warm summer months, especially if we take advantage of all the nutrients we get from the sun, air and water--and if our food choices are nutrient dense.
Whole, fresh foods are nutrient dense. Anything that is processed or packaged will most likely contain unwanted chemicals, sugar, salt, and foods that have diminished nutrient value.
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