The days are getting longer, the sun is starting to shine (well, not so much for us on the West Coast!), and the time has come that people are considering purchasing sunscreen and new bathing suits for those long days at the beach.
Now, everyone loves to float in the lake, drink a few drinks, and eat snacks while basking in the sun - but how do you stay perfectly bronzed instead of red like a lobster?
Besides slathering sunscreen every few hours, what else can you do to stay hydrated and healthy outside? Let me share what I do as a Holistic Nutritionist to stay sun safe and avoid that dreaded sunburn.
1. Stay hydrated; instead of plain water, try adding more mineral-rich drinks.
Did you know that drinking gallons of water each day is outdated research? If you're peeing more than five times a day, that is not healthy anymore. Drinking too much water can completely deplete your cells of minerals and leave you even more dehydrated and thirsty than when you started! Find a mineral-rich drink that you like and incorporate it into your day. Numerous options are excellent for hydration, so I will share some of my favourites.
I enjoy infusing a few herbs overnight and straining them the following day. I consume them as a cold beverage that is mineral-rich. Oatstraw and nettle are both excellent and full of nutritional benefits. Hibiscus with raw honey is also delicious, hot or cold!
Coconut water is an excellent mineral source, full of potassium, sodium, and manganese. It is the perfect mix of electrolytes. Try mixing coconut water, orange juice, salt, and collagen for a fantastic afternoon pick-me-up! This beverage is called an "adrenal cocktail" and is incredibly nourishing.
Another easy way to get hydrated is to incorporate hydrating fruits. Watermelon, mango, and other in-season local fruit are full of water to keep you hydrated.
Bone broth has become very popular in the health and wellness world, and that is because it is full of minerals and excellent for cellular hydration. The collagen keeps your skin looking youthful, while the hydrating minerals keep you energized throughout the day. Bone broth is best if you make it homemade, but store-bought is an excellent second choice.
Lastly, trace minerals. Trace minerals are essential because most of the minerals have been stripped from our water. You may be filtering out the bad stuff, but are you putting the good minerals back in after? I use ConcenTrace® Trace Mineral Drops (traceminerals.com). (This is not sponsored!)
2. Avoid PUFAs
What's the deal with PUFAs? Polyunsaturated fatty acids, or PUFAs, are highly unstable fats. Because they are unstable, they go rancid quickly. The temperature that they oxidize at is very low. When they oxidize, they lead to free radicals. Free radicals create damage in your body and age you quicker. Think about an apple. It turns brown if you leave it out after you have cut it. That is called oxidization. PUFAs in your body do the same thing, causing these oxidization spots on your body.
PUFAs are found in vegetable oils - canola, soy, sesame, and other vegetable oils have a chemical makeup that leaves them highly unstable. These can affect your skin's ability to tolerate the sun and can be mitigated with Vitamin E, but avoiding them as much as possible is the best thing to do. Eating out will expose you to PUFAs, but I wouldn't avoid eating out; in those cases, you should take vitamin E to mitigate any damage.
Other places where you may find PUFAs are in nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are also vulnerable to rancidity. Rancidity can be mitigated by purchasing the nuts and seeds from a quality, trusted source and storing them in the fridge. If they are not stored in the refrigerator, they almost immediately oxidize.
Something that has become very popular is taking Omega-3 supplements, which is something I do not personally advocate for. The Omega-3 industry was valued at 2.10 billion in the United States in 2020, the point being that they have a strong marketing campaign. The downsides of supplementation are oxidization, as I mentioned before. This may cause age spots on your body; they are generally brown circles that you may believe are unavoidable with age. The best way to get Omega-3 is to eat seafood such as salmon and avoid farmed fish if possible.
3. Supplement with Vitamin E
Vitamin E is one of my favorite vitamins. You may be asking, a favorite vitamin? I am a Nutritionist, after all. Vitamin E is excellent for preventing oxidization in the body from PUFAs, as mentioned above, but it also comes with numerous other benefits.
Vitamin E benefits:
-protection against UV rays from the sun ☀️
-anti-aging by reducing inflammation
-increases hair thickness
-improves hormones by balancing the endocrine and nervous system
-it helps cramping and heavy bleeding on your cycle
-may protect against Alzheimer's
A few things that I have noticed improvements in my life are that I get sunburnt way less and that my periods are much more bearable. I've seen less cramping, less irritability, and less breast tenderness around my menstrual cycle, which was one of the main reasons I got into holistic health, to begin with.
Vitamin E can be taken internally or applied topically before and after sun exposure. I take 400 IU daily, but this is not medical advice.