Summer Wellness: Looking After Ourselves In The Heat
When the clouds part and the sun shines, many of us take full advance of those warm rays, soaking in much-needed vitamin D and serotonin boosts. However, we must be mindful of certain things when topping up the tan. This piece gives tips on getting that glow inside and out, whilst looking after our bodies. First stop – hydration.
Hydration: reaching for the water bottle
Whether it's an old-fashioned glass of water, or something fancier, we must keep well hydrated in the heat. Our bodies are made up of water; in babies, it's about 78%, while adults are 55-60% water. We need it to survive, with an adult man requiring about 3 litres a day and a woman, 2.2 litres, to stay healthy.
In the heat, we sweat more; it's our body's natural cooling system. But the more we sweat, the more water and electrolytes – essential minerals - we lose. This causes dehydration, leaving us tired, dried out, and lightheaded. With less water, our blood is thicker, so our heart has to work extra hard to pump it to crucial places, like our brain.
We get much of our hydration from food, but that's supplemented by liquid intake, the best of which is plain water. If you find water a bit tasteless, add fresh ingredients, such as lemon, lime, grapefruit, or cucumber. Mint and a squeeze of fresh pomegranate is also a great way to jazz it up. Avoid drinks packed with sugars, preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial flavours - these don't do anyone any good – and caffeinated drinks such as tea or coffee. Caffeine has an adverse effect making us more dehydrated! Need some ideas? Take a look at our range of healthy drinks.
But what about those electrolytes – how do we replenish those after a hot day or sweaty workout? Reach for the coconut water. Dubbed mother nature's sports drink, it contains more potassium than four bananas and is very hydrating. Not a fan; try milk, watermelon water, electrolyte tablets or electrolyte drops, all of which help reboot electrolyte levels.
Food: eating fresh to feel fresh
As mentioned above, our hydration needs are partially met by food. When the sun's beating down, eating refreshing meals and snacks helps us feel cool and ups nutrient intake.
In Europe, many people eat a Mediterranean diet comprising fish, whole grains, vegetables, legumes, fruits, nuts, seeds, oils, herbs, and spices. This eating style is popular because it puts 'fresh first', avoiding over-processed foods often ladened with sugar and salt. Away from Europe, you can take lots of inspiration from this throughout the year, particularly in the heat. For example, salads loaded with omega-rich fish, organic vegetables, seeds, healthy oils, and vinegar, as well as bowls piled high with fresh fruit and nuts – eating this way helps us feel and look fresh from the inside, out.
Mediterranean-inspired meals are nutrient-dense but also contain many top water-rich foods. These include:
- Cucumber: 96% water, low in calories and high in vitamins and fibre
- Tomatoes: 95% water, source of vitamin A
- Spinach: 93% water, source of iron
- Honeydew melon: 91% water, source of potassium
- Oranges: 86% water, source of vitamin C
- Apples: 86% water, source of vitamins and fibre
- Blueberries: 85% water, source of antioxidants
Packing our diet with natural, clean ingredients is fantastic for the body, especially when it's working hard in the heat.
Beauty: natural sun protection for you and the environment
We may love the sun, but it's not the kindest to our skin. All year round, our biggest and most exposed organ needs extra care. That's why we love using natural and organic sunscreen products every day. Doing this protects us from wrinkles, premature ageing, and harmful skin cancers. Research by The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests that regular sun protection reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) by about 40 per cent and melanoma by 50 per cent.
Going natural with our product choices has further benefits. They're generally free from chemical nasties, including parabens and potentially harmful avobenzone, octinoxate, and oxybenzone. These badies are linked to disrupting hormones, reproductive issues, skin irritation and increased cancer risks. Instead, look out for brands that use active ingredients from plant sources - aloe vera and zinc oxide are great examples – and a high SPF level. The term 'broad spectrum' is also important, as it means the product blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
These natural sunscreens don't just benefit you. Many conscious brands also ensure their products are kind to the environment. So, you can swim in nature knowing you're not adding unnecessary chemicals into the system. It's a win-win, in our opinion.
Once you've been in the sun, reach for a natural moisturiser or oil to soothe and rehydrate your skin. Most organic and natural brands will be conscious of keeping your skin and the ecosystem free from those unwanted chemicals.
Being in the sun is a true mood booster, but as we can see, there are things we should do to ensure it doesn't dampen our bodies. Considering what we put in, and on, our body goes a long way in hot temperatures - but with the correct hydration, food and skincare, fun in the sun is guaranteed.