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 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 (women should 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 to eat: Cut back on sugary foods. Once you’ve got an infection, be sure to eat lots of yogurt — the kind that contains live, active cultures.
What to eat: Eating foods rich in vitamin B-5 (found in yogurt and California avocadoes), 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 skin.
What to eat: Replenish electrolytes with a sports drink that contains them and drink water. Potassium-rich foods include bananas, raisins, potatoes, and spinach.
What to eat: The retina is actually made up of vitamin A. Thus, foods rich in this vitamin – along with beta-carotene, zinc, and Vitamins C and E – are beneficial to the eyes. Good sources are dark green vegetables like kale, chard, and mustard greens, plus bell peppers, carrots, and blueberries. Eat eggs for their high dose of lutein, an important antioxidant that also helps prevent eye damage.
What to eat: Fortified cereals and bread or take a B-complex vitamin.
By Christina Frank, WebMD, August 2006