3 Surprising Simple Tips to Improve Your Overall Health this Summer

By Nutritious Life Editors

This content was written in partnership with OmniActive Health Technologies for its “Lutein for Every Age” initiative, a consumer awareness initiative with the goal of educating people on the importance of lutein for eye health throughout life.

We often think of summer fun as suntans, ice cream, BBQs, and too much rosé. However, summer naturally offers many health benefits that we can enjoy with just a little effort. Here are three tips to uplevel your health this summer:

Sunning Before Screening

In our technology-driven society, it’s almost second nature to begin our days by reaching for an electronic device before we’ve even pushed off the eye mask or brushed our teeth. However, sunlight before scrolling has some pretty big benefits. A quick morning walk outside, a meditation in the sun, or even simply a few breaths of fresh air on your front step can have multiple benefits. These include improved sleep quality, enhanced mood, blood pressure, boosted vitamin D production, and proper immune functioning. 

Light Affects Our Circadian Rhythm

The 24-hour internal clock that our brains use to, in simple terms, keep us on track with daytime and nighttime. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, goes down in response to light. In contrast, blue light—the light that our screens give off—decreases melatonin production for around twice as long as dimmer light. So, sunlight in the morning (and blue-light glasses in the evening) will help improve your sleep quality and overall health this summer.  

RELATED: Do Blue-Light Glasses Really Work?

Eating Nutrient-Rich Lutein/Zeaxanthin Foods

Summer is the ultimate time to get our produce on. And, when it comes to summer produce, we’re all about the unique benefits of lutein-rich foods. Lutein-rich foods are brightly orange, yellow and red fruits and veggies, but we can’t ignore green veggies; they also pack a powerful lutein punch. Lutein is a carotenoid that acts as a potent antioxidant and plays a starring role in supporting eye health. It’s found abundantly in the retina—three times as much lutein in the retina as in the blood. Although there is no RDA for lutein/zeaxanthin, it’s worth noting that the recommended intake is approximately 10 mg lutein and 2 mg zeaxanthin. Same goes for kids, there is no RDA, but recommendations are 3 to 6 mg lutein and 1 mg zeaxanthin.

And, did you know that lutein acts as a natural shield against harmful blue light and ultraviolet rays? These rays, which we encounter daily from screens and sunlight, can contribute to oxidative stress, accelerating aging and increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Similar to how we wear sunscreen for our skin, lutein helps protect our eyes!

Here are a few of our favorite ways to get our lutein in while enjoying delicious summer produce:

Brussels Sprouts: Even though they don’t make their mark until August, they’re worth noting because Brussels sprouts are super versatile. We love this fresh Brussels sprouts salad.

1/2 cup cooked Brussels sprouts contains 1 mg of lutein/zeaxanthin. 

Corn: Is it really summer if you haven’t shucked corn? Adding a little sweetness and a dose of lutein to your plate makes for the perfect summertime meal. This corn salad will be the star of your summer BBQs.

½ cup cooked corn contains 1.5 mg of lutein/zeaxanthin. 

Leafy Greens: Spinach, kale, and collard greens contain high amounts of lutein and can be used in smoothies, salads or dips. This smoothie is perfect for a hot day. 

1 cup raw spinach contains 7 mg of lutein/zeaxanthin, 1 cup raw kale contains 22 mg of lutein/zeaxanthin and 1/2 cup cooked collard greens contains 9 mg of lutein. 

Tomatoes: Do tomatoes not go with anything in the summer? We don’t think so. This is our favorite way to enjoy them, in a fresh mozzarella farro salad.

½ cup tomatoes contain .5 mg of lutein/zeaxanthin. 

And, if you are like the one in ten adults who don’t get enough lutein in their diets, it’s recommended to supplement with a high-quality, science-backed, and efficacious supplement. Here is a great place to learn more about the various eye health supplements that can help fill your nutritional gaps. 

Grounding

There is no better time to ground than in the summer. Also known as earthing, grounding can be done by walking barefoot, lying on the ground, or swimming in a lake or ocean. This easy tool—that you may even be taking advantage of without knowing it—helps realign the body’s electrical energy by connecting it to the earth. By connecting to earth, cortisol levels can be positively influenced and can help calm the brain. 

Aside from helping manage stress and mood, grounding can also improve inflammation, pain, energy and sleep! In an 8-week study, subjects who used grounding reported improved sleep and decreased pain and stress levels.

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(Image: Unsplash)

About Nutritious Life Editors
The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.

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