Spending time outside is one of the best things about summertime in Michigan. You may not be aware that many health experts are now recommending 10-30 minutes of direct sunlight every day! This means no sunscreen or protective clothing. The benefits of sun exposure in this limited amount helps produce the vitamin D our bodies need for excellent health. Keep in mind that, for most of us, anything more than 30 minutes without protection may be harmful.
There are some non-toxic sunscreens on the market today and several plant foods can act as a natural sunscreen. Not only that but they can help your body protect itself from the skin damage that can lead to skin cancer. These foods can also protect your skin from other damaging effects of too much sun so that you can get the vitamin D and other health benefits you need, with a lower risk of harm.
Antioxidants, the compounds found only in plant foods, help protect your body from the damage that can occur from free radicals. They also lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes! Bonus! Antioxidants are what gives plant foods their beautiful color and they protect your skin from the oxidative damage that can occur with too much sun exposure. One way they do this is by reducing inflammation of your skin cells.
We have learned through research that antioxidants like vitamin C play a role in acting as a natural sunscreen and protecting your skin from sun damage. Vitamin C destroys any free radicals that it comes in contact with when applied on the skin. How cool is that?
These 9 are the best foods for sun protection:
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables: A high intake of green leafy vegetables — such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and swiss chard — may reduce skin cancer risk.
Garlic and Onions: have a beneficial effect on skin cancers and other diseases.
Pomegranate: shown to have promising preventative and therapeutic effects in skin, breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.
Green Tea: protects skin against UV radiation. Just one cup a day for one month can reduce risk of basel cell carcinoma (skin cancer).
Soybeans: have an overall skin protective effect. It is important, however, to choose organic soy to avoid harmful GMOs.
Grapes and Grape Seed: contains cancer-preventing properties that may reduce the effects of UV rays on skin.
Mushrooms: appear to suppress breast cancer growth – a serving size is just a half a mushroom daily. Cook before use.
Turmeric: has many health benefits. Its main active ingredient is curcumin, which has been widely studied for cancer prevention.
Ginger: effective at slowing tumor growth and killing skin cancer cells.
Safe sunscreen is necessary for anyone spending any more than the recommended few minutes outside. Not all sunscreens are equally safe, though. Many include toxic substances. Read and look up the ingredients to know what you are putting on your skin. The Environmental Working Group has useful information at www.ewg.org that may help you decide. Let me know if I can help you with this.
When you read the title, what came up for you? What does self-care mean to you? So often, we think that taking care of ourselves is selfish or self-centered. Let me offer a different perspective. What if taking care of yourself was essential? What if not taking care of yourself lead to you not being able to participate in family activities or not being able to take care of those you love? When we think of it that way, it feels more important…maybe less selfish and more self-ful. Allow me to give you permission right now to take care of yourself and make it a self-care summer! It's not too late.
Self-care means something different to all of us. For some, it may be taking a bubble bath in a candlelit room with soft music (that does sound kind of nice) and for others it may be taking a short break during a busy work day. You may not even know what self-care means to you. Below is a list of self-care “acts” that people enjoy. What stands out for you? What feels like an indulgence you don’t typically afford yourself?
Hiring a babysitter for a night out with your spouse or friends
Taking a long walk in a nature environment like the woods or lakeside
Hiring a high schooler on summer break to do some food prep for you
Sitting in a quiet room reading a good book
Taking a ‘mental health’ day off work even when you are not sick
Eating healthy fruits and vegetables to nourish your body
Going to bed by 10pm (or earlier!)
Declining an invite for an event you don’t really care to attend (but may feel obligated)
Going on a long bike ride with the sun on your face and breeze in your hair
Visiting a neighbor or friend that you just haven’t had time to see
Signing up for that yoga or dance class that you’ve been hearing so much about
Taking an afternoon nap…just because
This is not an inclusive list…if none of these stand out to you, think of your own. Maybe it’s a vacation to the mountains for a hiking expedition. Think big! And think small. Self-care is something we can do every day with practice. Taking the time to care for ourselves not only benefits you but your family will notice a happier person to live with. This summer, think self-care. It’s the perfect time to start a practice caring for yourself. Self-care is self-love and we all need more of that! Love is the answer! If you, or someone you know needs some support on how to incorporate more self-care activities into your life, reach out to me for my free Health Up coaching session. You are worth the time…just ask someone who loves you.
REQUEST YOUR FREE HEALTH STRATEGY SESSION
Recipe of the Week
Lavash is a thin, rectangular Middle Eastern flatbread that's perfect for rolling into sandwich wraps. Choose whole-grain lavash or use a whole-grain tortilla for the wrap. You can change it up and substitute different vegetables like grated carrot, baby spinach, baby kale, sliced tomato, and/or sprouts. These can be made ahead of time, as well…so make a few and use as a grab and go for you and your family!
Serves: 4 (1 wrap each)
1 large cucumber
1 large red bell pepper
4 sheets whole wheat lavash (or tortilla)
2 cups oil-free hummus (making your own is easy, just ask me)
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
4 teaspoons capers, chopped
¼ cup chopped red onion
Peel and seed the cucumber. Cut into 16 strips, each about 4 inches long and ½ inch wide. Slice red pepper in half and remove stem, seeds, and ribs. Slice into 16 strips, each about ½ inch wide.
Lay out a sheet of lavash on a clean work surface with the short edge facing you. Spread a thin layer of hummus (about ½ cup) over the lavash, leaving ½ inch margin around all four edges.
Distribute 4 pieces of the cucumbers horizontally along the lower third of the lavash. Stack 4 of the red bell pepper strips on top of the cucumbers. Finally, stack ½ cup romaine on top of the red peppers. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon capers and 1 tablespoon red onion over the hummus on the remaining ⅔ of the lavash.
Starting at the short end closest to you, roll the lavash into a tight cylinder. Set aside, seam side down. Repeat the process with the remaining lavash sheets and remaining vegetables.
Slice ¼ inch off the ends of the lavash and discard. Then slice each lavash roll into about five 1 ½ inch rounds and serve. These can be made in advance.
Recipe from: Undo It! By Dr. Dean and Anne Ornish
This is a new segment I will be doing. I will share a health & wellness related book and discuss it briefly on my Health Tip Tuesday Live on Facebook. I'm excited to share all the amazing books I have in my library!
“The best things in life make you sweaty”
From “Undo It” Move More Chapter 5
The content in this newsletter is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional.