Top Food Tips for a Healthy Summer

The summer sun has finally arrived full force in Portland. Brightly lit days have become the siren’s call for outdoor activities and backyard parties. While we may be vigilant in watching out for our health during cold and flu season, the fun and whimsy of summer sometimes has us all enjoying a little too much sun, overworking our bodies or drinking one too many cocktails.

While you should be out enjoying all that this wonderful season has to offer, especially soaking up some of that great vitamin D. (As Pacific Northwest inhabitants, we are all, no doubt, depleted.) But try to remember to keep an eye on your overall health and well-being. Besides avoiding injury during this active season and applying sunscreen if you will be outdoors for longer than 20 minutes, there are few things you should be doing to keep your insides as happy as you feel outside in the summer sun.

Refreshing cucumber mint water

Drink plenty of water

We cannot stress this enough. You should be drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day. If you’re active, especially in the heat, you need to increase that baseline to replenish lost fluids. Add slices of cucumber, citrus or mint to pump up the flavor and create a refreshing twist.

Eat Smart and Seasonal

Foods like Avocados, berries, cucumbers and melon can be great seasonal choices for optimum health during the summer months.

  • High in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that helps increase fat metabolism, Avocados not only have a rich, creamy flavor but they’re packed with the powerful anti-oxidants lutein and zeaxanthin as well as Vitamin E, potassium and folate. Which means eating avocados helps to relieve oxidative stress and buffer acidic wastes, creating a healthier cellular environment. What’s more amazing is that, just by adding an avocado to your salad, you increase absorption of alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lutein from the surrounding fruits and vegetables in your salad.  The best part though — avocados taste so good in salads, sandwiches,  soups, guacamole and more.
U-pick blueberries on Sauvie Island for Summer fun and health
  • Berries, in particular blueberries are considered a superfood loaded withantioxidants and phytonutrients, which help to neutralize free radical damage and stabilize brain function. Not only are they good for you but they taste great and are the ideal, portable snack. A handful of blueberries packs a nutritional punch but they’re also great on ice cream, in fruit salads, on pancakes or in smoothies or floating in lemonade.
  • Cucumbers are high in water content at 95 %, with a fiber-rich skin. An ideal summer food, these crispy and juicy favorites can add flavor to drinks, crunch to sandwiches and pep up your salad — as well as your mood. With a good dose of B Vitamins, Vitamin C, silica, phytochemicals potassium and manganese, cucumbers can energize your afternoon doldrums, help regulate blood pressure, stimulate detoxification, and improve the health of your skin, joints  and connective tissue. Super hydrating as well as alkalizing and chock full of electrolytes,  cucumbers are also a great way to help your body recover from that one drink too many. Just a few slices before bed can help avoid hangover.
    Image via Wikipedia
  • Melons, especially watermelon are great hydrators at 92% water, it’s no wonder they’re a summer favorite. But what you may not know is that watermelon could save your life. Chock full of minerals like potassium, magnesium, Lypocene, vitamin-C, Carotenoids, Lutein, fiber, phytonutrients, Zeaxanthin and Arginine watermelon is well-known for it’s benefits for those with kidney disorders, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and prostate health issues, erectile dysfunction and even cancer. But most of all, it can help prevent heat stroke and enliven any BBQ with it’s sweet and juicy flavor.

Stay hydrated, healthy and cool this summer!

For more great summer tips see these blog posts from summer’s past:

Proper Bike Fit: Biking your Way to Health or Hurt

Summertime and the injuries are easy

Weekend Warrior: Treating Muscle Strains, Sprains and Injuries

Massage: Treatment for Seasonal Allergies

Tasty Chilled Soups for a Healthy Body

Summer Road Trips: A guide to keeping limber

Summer Road Trips Part 2: Energy, Hydration and Nutrition

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