We look forward to summer all year, whether you spend it at home or away, in the office or on a beach, enjoy summer let it enhance your wellbeing.
Take advantage of abundant, colourful summer fruits. High in antioxidants, visible in a mouth-watering palette of deep reds, luscious purples and midnight blues which protect and optimise cell function . Antioxidants help slow the ageing process and offer protection against age related illnesses such as heart disease and cancer . Berries have lower levels of natural sugar (fructose), great for snacking and adding natural sweetness to yoghurt and porridge.
Other coloured fruit and vegetables are beneficial too, select a rainbow of colours by adding greens and orange, reds and yellows rich in another antioxidant (beta-carotene), helpful for vision , skin and immune health . Good sources are carrots, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and sweet potatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables.
Summertime salads are energising and hydrating. Increase the vitamin and mineral content by maximising the variety of raw vegetables and leaves. Pack as many as you can, adding a variety of leaves like watercress, spinach and kale, as well avocado and nuts and seeds (walnuts, almonds or brazils) all high nutrient content. Raw food is rich in enzymes, however temperature, cooking and chemicals destroy enzymes. Raw food supports your digestion , ensuring enzymes are present to aid the digestive process if your own enzyme production is low. Paradoxically the antioxidant capacity of tomatoes (lycopene) increases when cooked especially in oil. Poor digestion symptoms, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, nausea and acid reflux, along with poor nutrient absorption suggest enzyme deficiency, due to low raw food or other factors including stress and excess alcohol. Juicing captures antioxidant and enzyme rich nutrients especially green juices/smoothies, making a brilliant multivitamin start to your day. Invest in a good juicer. Experiment with combinations of dark green leaves, vegetables, nuts and seeds (almond/chia), add apple/carrot for sweetness, the high fibre content helps eliminate toxic waste.
Consider a gentle summer detox, to boost energy, improve skin and mental clarity. Gradually reduce the most problematic foods like sugar, gluten, dairy, soy, alcohol, caffeine and processed foods. Replace with cleaner foods such as organic raw vegetables, salad, fruit and mineral (or filtered) water. Always discuss detoxification further with your nutritional therapist first, ensuring elimination pathways are functioning before a rigorous detox programme to avoid releasing and re-circulating harmful toxins stored in fat cells.
While summer BBQ’s are fun, try to avoid the associated carcinogenic dangers, from protein damaged charred meat, and toxic chemicals in smoke. Precooking meat will reduce exposure to chargrill and toxic smoke, adding a layer of foil under the drip tray will reduce fat smoking on the coals.
Avoid fatigue on hot days, take care of energy producing cells (mitochondria). Don’t stress them with junk food, strengthen their membranes with Omega-3 fats from oily fish (salmon/mackerel), nuts (almonds/brazil) seeds (chia/hemp/pumpkin). Increase gentle exercise like walking to increases the number of energy cells in muscles, or short bursts of intensive exercise . Drink water regularly, avoid dehydration. Coconut water is a delicious way to hydrate and energise your body by supplying an electrolyte balance of mineral salts needed for cell function .
Rest and recharge this summer, outdoor activities will boost your sunshine vitamin D levels. Research has underlined the importance of vitamin D to prevent many illnesses including bone, heart, cancer, neuromuscular diseases and depression . Fresh air and exercise increases well being, and helps you de-stress and relax.
Enjoy your summer, enjoy good health, enjoy your life!
By Samia Zniber
IBCcare Nutritional Therapist