Summertime Nutrition Tips
All that abundant sunshine in the summer can cause dry skin and hair, eye damage, and other ailments. Find out which vitamins and minerals can counteract sun damage.
Summertime, and the living is easy -- that
is, until you notice the havoc all that fun in the sun has wrought on your
body. Fortunately, summer also brings an abundance of tasty and nutritious
foods, including berries (loaded with antioxidants), tomatoes, sweet bell
peppers (good vitamin C source), and protein-filled grilled fish and burgers.
And by simply choosing the right ones to add to your daily diet, you can help prevent or
alleviate the following common hot-weather woes:
Dry or Damaged Skin
What causes it: You sweat more in
the summer, so skin is less supple; plus,
saltwater and chlorine have a drying effect. Sunburns and bug bites are also saboteurs of
What to eat: Help heal weathered
skin with foods like raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, which are rich
in antioxidants and vitamin C. Protein, in the form of lean meats, beans, nuts,
and seeds, is also key. Keep dryness at bay by drinking lots of water, which
Lona Sandon, RD, calls "the forgotten nutrient." Sandon is a
spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. She recommends that women
drink 92 ounces (8-10 cups) of water in the summer and men 125 ounces to
prevent dehydration. Since calcium can
also be lost through sweating, it's a good idea to replace it by eating low-fat
dairy products like skim milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese
What causes them: Sitting around in a wet
bathing suit provides a perfect environment for yeast overgrowth.
What to eat: To make conditions less
hospitable for yeast to take hold in the first place, cut back on sugary foods,
advises Leanne Ely, CNC, author of Saving Dinner: The Menus, Recipes, and
Shopping Lists to Bring Your Family Back to the Table.
What causes it: Overexposure to sun,
saltwater, and chlorine.
What to eat: Toss some burgers or shrimp
kabobs on the grill, or make a three-bean salad or other protein-rich meal
because hair consists of protein fibers called keratin. Eating foods rich in
vitamin B-5 (found in yogurt and California avocados), vitamin B-8 (in liver
and cooked eggs), folic acid (in fortified cereals and beans), calcium (in milk
and yogurt), and zinc (in meat and fish) can reduce hair loss and replace dull
hair with shiny hair. Theses nutrients also play a role in maintaining healthy
What causes them: Too many games of beach
volleyball (or other outdoor exercise). Muscle cramps result from overexertion
and dehydration. When you don't have enough fluid in your system, it leads to
an electrolyte imbalance that causes your muscles to cramp up. Sodium, calcium,
and potassium are the main electrolytes lost through sweating during
What to eat: Replenish electrolytes
with a sports drink that contains them and drink water. Potassium-rich foods
include bananas, raisins, potatoes, and spinach.