I thrive in the summer. I have increased energy, vitality and positivity as well as decreased colds and viruses, lethargy and the urge to stay under a blanket and watch Netflix.
Summer is like a super vitamin for our health. There is a science to summer’s extra serving of happiness. There are easy, cost free ways to reap the benefits of what summer has to offer our health and well being.
Breathe in the Phytoncides
Sounds scientific, right? It is! Trees and plants give off phytoncides, active substances which prevent them from rotting and getting diseases. When we inhale phytoncides emitted by trees they build our immunity as well. Several studies suggest that phytoncides lower blood pressure and even increase our bodies’ natural killer (NK) cell activity, which is part of the immune system’s way of fighting off cancer. While you can breathe in forest phytoncides all year long, the activity is at its highest in the summer. And the immune boost from just 15 minutes of time in a forest lasts up to thirty days, so get yourself by some trees and breathe in the phytoncides.
Bask in the Negative Ions
Negative ions are tiny molecules produced in nature. They are abundant in forests, mountain areas and around waterfalls and the ocean. Also, the number of negative ions in the air is increased after a storm – that “after the rain” good mood is real. Negative ions have been scientifically proven to enhance immune function, purify the blood, and balance the autonomic nervous system which promotes deep sleep and healthy digestion. They also boost the production of serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for alleviating depression and relieving stress. You may have thought it was just gazing at the trees or the surf that makes you feel good, but the experience is powerfully enhanced by negative ions. Enjoy the air by the forest, ocean or mountains and experience some proven good vibes.
Get Your Dose of Vitamin D
It is estimated that 40% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D, a vitamin essential for many important reasons to our health. When your skin is exposed to sunlight (UVB), it makes vitamin D from cholesterol. We’ve all gotten the memo that we need to avoid the sun’s rays to prevent skin cancer, so this can get confusing. Scientists suggest exposing as much of your skin to the sun as possible because Vitamin D is made in the skin – so you need to expose lots of skin to the sunlight to make enough. The ideal time of day is in the late morning or until around 1pm during the summer, and 10 – 30 minutes should be sufficient for most people with lighter skin. People with darker skin may need a bit longer. Also, go ahead and protect your face and eyes while exposing other parts of your body. Since the head is a small part of the body, it only produces a small amount of Vitamin D. Take a mid-morning break from your desk and activities to get outside without sunblock for 15 minutes and roll up your sleeves, etc. to expose yourself as much as you can. After 10-30 minutes it’s time to protect yourself from the sun!
That’s right. Embrace the shvitz and let yourself glisten! Our bodies produce almost 1 liter of sweat per day and doing so has important health benefits. Sweating is one of the most efficient ways to detox your body (no juicing required). Sweat flushes out alcohol, salt and many toxic elements. Sweating also fights off colds and illnesses because sweat contains antimicrobial peptides effective against viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Also, prolonged sweating that occurs during exercise or even brisk walking outside increases the level of the “feel-good” endorphin hormones that are naturally released during physical activity. Bonus, wear all natural deodorant so you aren’t cutting off your body’s natural need to sweat with an anti-perspirant. Let yourself get super sweaty and reap the feel good and long term benefits!
Go Barefoot to Ground into the Earth’s Electrons
On a beach or in your own backyard the simple act of putting the bare soles of your feet directly on the earth has two main health benefits. One, stimulating pressure points that correlate to our major organs (i.e. performing your own reflexology) opens blockages and aids in digestion, elimination and boosts immunity. Second, you get a grounding effect. We are disconnected from the Earth due to our modern lifestyle and we build up charges within us from the technology we use and the electromagnetic sources around us. Grounding your feet on the earth minimizes the consequences of electromagnetic pollution and induces physiological changes that promote health. One way to ground daily in the summer is to get out first thing after you wake up (bring your coffee!) and stand barefoot in the grass.
Reap the Nutrients of Summer’s Abundance
Summer is the season where we can enjoy so many abundant fruits and vegetables in season! Berries, melons, greens, mushrooms, onions and the full spectrum of fresh nutrient dense foods are powerhouses of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that amplify your health and are scientifically proven to help prevent illnesses and disease. Load your plate with the natural bounty of summer and thrive!
Want a super dose of all of these? We thoughtfully employ every one of these summer paths to wellness at our day retreats! Come see for yourself – summer won’t last forever and we are here to help you embrace it!