Have you heard that if you’re thirsty you may already be dehydrated? There is some truth to that—your body is telling you to drink water because it is on its way to becoming dehydrated. Hot weather can sap moisture from our bodies which is why hydrating is so important when the mercury starts to rise. Staying hydrated decreases the risk of heat-related illness such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion. Both illnesses occur when the body overheats, typically caused by physical exercise or high temperatures.
Beat the heat by drinking enough water on a daily basis, at least eight to ten, eight ounce glasses. Always choose water over soda and limit dehydrating beverages such as coffee and tea. If you are exercising or outdoors, drink even more water. If it is a struggle for you to consume eight glasses of pure water daily consider alternatives such as coconut water, which is a great source of electrolytes, or infused water. You may enjoy the taste of water more if infused with a combination of fresh fruit and herbs. It’s as easy as filling a pitcher or portable bottle with water and adding in sliced lemon and a few sprigs of mint.
Seasonal Produce Packs a Cancer-Fighting Punch
Some healthy choices are easier to make during the summer months, the heat naturally decreases our appetites--a fresh salad just sounds much better than a piping hot bowl of chili.It is much easier to follow the USDA’s recommendation of filling half our plates with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables in season are also rich in nutrients that help decrease the risk of various types of cancer.
Whether you prefer strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or raspberries, the summertime is the best time to enjoy them. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), berries are one of the most likely fruits to reduce cancer risk. Berries are not only low in sugar and high in fiber (a winning combination) they are also chalk full of antioxidants. Studies show that antioxidants may slow or prevent the development of cancer. Fresh berries are your best bet for full nutritional benefits so enjoy them alone, along with other fresh fruit or add them to your cereal, a smoothie or even as a topping on dessert.
Other seasonal fruits such as peaches, watermelon, and grapes also contain antioxidants. Grapes are a rich source of the antioxidant resveratrol. A study published in The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology shows that resveratrol may stop cancer from starting in the breast, as well as in the liver, stomach and lymphatic system. Resveratrol is found in the grape’s skin particularly in red and purple grapes. The USDA suggests enjoying fruit such as grapes and watermelon at room temperature rather than chilled to maximize antioxidant content.
A variety of tomatoes also guard your cells from damage that can lead to cancer. Heirloom tomatoes are a flavorful summertime treat enjoyed in soups, salads, and pasta—raw, grilled or sautéed. Leafy green vegetables straight from a summer garden also offer protection against the risk of various cancers. The wide range of carotenoids in spinach, kale, collard greens, and swiss chard are believed to act as antioxidants which help prevent cancer. In fact, the AICR report that carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer.
Avocados are also available in abundance during the summer months. This nutritional powerhouse provides a combination of cancer fighting nutrients which have been shown to offer significant protection against various cancers. Adding avocado to salads, sandwiches, salsa or even enjoying plain as a snack, the avocado is a refreshing way to fight cancer this summer.
Eat your produce fresh or at the very least, crisp. The American Cancer Society warns against overcooking fruits and vegetables to avoid depleting the nutrients they contain. You’ll also want to eat vegetables and fruits at their prime which is when they are just picked. Farmers’ markets only offer foods at their seasonal peak and typically at their prime so be sure to check out your local farmers’ market for the freshest produce available.