As the warm summer sun shines on your skin, your body is overwhelmed by feelings of joy and contentment. It’s the season that every sun soaker lives for – summer! This is your favourite time of year, when you eat, sleep, and breathe relaxed beachy activities.
While sun exposure has the benefits of boosting your body’s vitamin D production and making you feel relaxed, overdoing it can be harmful. Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself from the dangers of sun and heat exposure while still enjoying your summer at the beach. Here are four health tips that every sun soaker should practice.
1. Protect Your Skin With Antioxidants
As an experienced sun soaker, you probably already understand the importance of wearing sun protective clothing and applying a sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher. There are also ways that your food and supplement choices can protect against UV damage from the inside.
- Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as wild berries, citrus fruits, broccoli, and artichokes, are delicious food sources of antioxidant vitamins and polyphenols that help counteract the oxidative stress caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
- Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family and considered one of nature’s most potent antioxidants. Its ability to quench free radicals is much greater than that of green tea catechins and vitamin C. It’s ideal for people who want to safeguard their skin from sun damage and premature aging associated with exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Astaxanthin Plus provides natural antioxidant protection by combining AstaREAL®, the most studied brand of astaxanthin in the world, derived naturally from the microalgae, with lutein and zeaxanthin to protect cells from oxidative damage.
- Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant required for healthy skin. Its main role in the skin is to prevent free radical damage and absorb the energy from UV light. You can supply your skin with additional vitamin E by applying it topically and through supplementation with a combination of vitamin E and C.
- Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant with a critical role in tissue repair, wound healing, and collagen synthesis. It is easy to boost your intake by eating more citrus fruits, bell peppers, and other fresh produce. BioCgel™ High Absorption Ascorbate C contains a highly absorbable form of buffered vitamin C that is gentle on the stomach and ideal for anyone who gets gastrointestinal irritation from plain ascorbic acid.
2. Focus on Eye Health
Sunlight exposure can put you at an increased risk for age-related cataracts and other eye conditions. In addition to sporting UVA/UVB rated sunglasses when you’re outdoors, carotenoids are well recognized for their roles in eye protection.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are two carotenoids that accumulate in the lens and retina of your eyes. When consumed daily through food or supplementation, these nutrients help maintain eyesight in people who are at risk of age-related macular degeneration, while fighting the effects of sun and free radical damage to the eyes.[7,8]
Vision Factors® contains lutein and zeaxanthin as part of a unique blend of protective antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that are essential to healthy vision. Red lycopene, CoQ10, and vitamins C and E provide antioxidant support, while other key ingredients, such as B vitamins, zinc, selenium, and copper work together to maintain healthy visual processes.
3. “Oil Yourself” From the Inside
Months of swimming in the ocean or lake combined with the hot summer air can leave your skin parched and in need of serious moisturizing. Dietary fats have important functions in your skin’s protective barrier and a loss of fat content is part of the skin’s aging process. So in addition to your nightly application of coconut oil or other favourite body cream on the outside of your skin, including healthy fats in your diet can help keep you “oiled from the inside”. Fantastic food and supplement choices include:
- Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are plentiful sources of the omega 3 essential fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
- SeaRich™ Omega-3 makes taking fish oil convenient and provides concentrated EPA and DHA benefits in just one teaspoon per day (without a fishy aftertaste!). It is made from fresh, high quality omega-3 fish oils sourced from sustainably harvested wild anchovies, sardines, and/or mackerel. The triglyceride form makes it highly bioavailable for easier absorption and use by the body.
- Flaxseed oil is a vegan friendly source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body converts into EPA and DHA as needed.
- Avocado oil is a delicious source of healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E.
Beaching in the summer heat can be sweaty business, causing you to lose water and electrolytes. You can replenish this loss by making water your drink of choice and drinking at least six to eight cups of it per day (and even more when you’re exercising or sweating heavily).
A critical part of staying hydrated is to replace the electrolytes that you lose through sweat—especially sodium. This can be as simple as snacking on homemade trail mix, roasted seaweed, and other foods that contain sodium in addition to other meaningful nutrients. A few thirst quenching options for replenishing electrolytes include:
- Coconut water, which contains natural levels of potassium, sodium, and magnesium
- A 1:1 mix of fresh fruit or vegetable juice with water
- Homemade electrolyte beverage containing 1L water, 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp honey, and ¼ tsp salt
A Happy, Well-Nourished Summer
Spending your summer in a relaxed, beachy routine is an ideal hiatus from the other hectic months of the year. Taking steps to protect yourself from the harsh summer elements includes making food and supplement choices that support your body’s natural defenses against UV and heat exposure. And when summer’s over, you can walk into fall feeling happy, healthy, and well-nourished.
 Poljsak B, Dahmane R, Godic A. Skin and antioxidants. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. 2013; 15(2):107-113
 Nishida Y, Yamashita E, Miki W, et al. Quenching activities of common hydrophilic and lipophilic antioxidants against singlet oxygen using chemiluminescence detection system [Japanese]. Carotenoid Science. 2007; 11:16-20.
 Tominaga K, Hongo N, Karato M, et al. Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects. Acta Biochimica Polonica. 2012; 59(1):43-7.
 Oregon State University. Vitamin E and Skin Health [Internet]. Linus Pauling Institute. 2020 [cited 9 July 2020]. Available from: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-E
 Oregon State University. Vitamin C and Skin Health [Internet]. Linus Pauling Institute. 2020 [cited 9 July 2020]. Available from: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C
 Ivanov I.V, Mappes T, Schaupp P, et al. Ultraviolet radiation oxidative stress affects eye health. Journal of Biophotonics. 2018; 11(7):e201700377.
 Weigert G, Kaya S, Pemp B, et al. Effects of lutein supplementation on macular pigment optical density and visual acuity in patients with age-related macular degeneration. Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science. 2011; 52(11):8174-8.
 Ma L, Hao Z.X, Liu R.R, et al. A dose–response meta-analysis of dietary lutein and zeaxanthin intake in relation to risk of age-related cataract. Graefes Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology. 2014; 252(1):63-70.
 Cao C, Xiao Z, Wu Y, et al. Diet and skin aging – from the perspective of food nutrition. Nutrients. 2020; 12(3):870.
 HealthLinkBC. Drinking Enough Water [Internet]. Healthlinkbc.ca 2019 [cited July 8, 2020]. Available from: https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/health-topics/abk5466