Summer days just seems good for the soul, don’t they? Sunny skies, warmer temperatures and long evenings do so much more than making our environment more pleasant, they may do wonders for our health too.
Here are 7 top reasons why summer is just what the doctor ordered:
1. Drinking more water
There’s nothing better than enjoying a cooling summer drink such as infused water or even a healthy vegetable juice during a hot summer days. Our fluid requirements increase when the weather is warmer which ultimately will trigger us to drink more.
As much as 65% of our body consists of water and dehydration can have a huge impact on energy, concentration, short-term memory and even mood! In fact, even mild dehydration has also been shown to cause a drop in workplace productivity. A large Meta analysis has concluded that dehydration can impair cognitive performance, particularly for tasks which involve attention and concentration. The researchers found that functions such as complex problem solving and coordination also suffered*.
If you struggle with plain water you could opt for PRESS London cold-pressed juice or even a super refreshing hydrator.
2. Eating more fruit and veg
Fruit and veg is certainly much more juicy and flavoursome when in season. What’s more, on hot sunny days we tend to reach for light, vibrant salads and cooling fresh fruit which can be much more appealing than heavy comfort foods.
3. Vitamin D from the sun exposure is good for us
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin for good reason. This nutrient is manufactured within the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight. It’s impossible to get enough of this sunshine vitamin during the winter months. During the spring and summer months spending 15-20 minutes outdoors each day can help to top up our levels.
Vitamin D plays a key role with bone health, immune function and even plays a role with mood!
4. The sun relieves skin complaints
Whilst the mechanism is unclear, many report that a bit of sun, sea and sand can do wonders for their skin. This is particularly true for specific skin conditions such as psoriasis which appear to improve during the summer months.
Whilst it’s imperative to avoid the midday sun to minimise the risk of burning, a little exposure could improve symptoms and help with that summer glow.
5. The summer regulates our sleep (sunshine in the morning good for us)
Sunlight may actually help to improve our sleep, which ultimately will keep us feeling fresh and happy. Our body has a natural time-keeping clock, which is referred to as our circadian rhythm, and we produce hormones which signal for our body to tell us when it’s time to sleep. Exposure to natural sunlight or bright light during the day can help to keep our circadian rhythm healthy and may improve sleep quality and duration. One study has even shown that day time bright light exposure reduced the time it took insomniacs to fall asleep by as much as 83%**.
6. We spend more time outdoors
Sunny days mean that we spend more time outdoors soaking up the sun’s rays. Research ahs shown that fresh air and nature is associated with greater vitality. Exercising outdoors can also improve mood and even self-esteem.
What’s more, exposure to sunlight can increase the production of our happy hormone serotonin. During the darker winter months, a lack of light may affect our serotonin levels. This can be particularly problematic for those suffering with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and is why those who are diagnosed may benefit from the use of a light box which mimics natural sunlight***.
7. Sweating more is good for us
Sweating has benefits beyond temperature regulation; our skin is one large organ which may be a route for the elimination of toxic elements from the body such as heavy metals 5. Don’t fear sweating in your gym class as it may do more than simply be a sign of a good workout!
By leading London Nutritionist, Lily Soutter BSc (Hons) Food & Human Nutrition, Dip NT