Summer means outdoor time; BBQs, holidays, day trips and picnics in the park. This busy social season also means we tend to pay more attention to our diets and the condition of our skin, hair, nails and eyes – and find ways to guard them against excess sun, swimming pool chlorine and sea water, which can all take their toll. And it is also a time many may turn to fad diets to get ready for holidays – leading to the potential for nutrient insufficiency.
Dr Carrie Ruxton, from the Health and Food Supplements Information Service (HSIS), says: “What we eat really can influence the health of our skin and hair so it’s worth getting your diet in order well before summer, or before that holiday. Another thing we want to avoid on holiday is a bloating or upset tummy – a balanced diet can be the first step towards a happy tummy.
“Remember, nutrients should be obtained from eating a balanced diet, but where this is not possible, or where people need additional support to meet their nutritional needs, vitamin and mineral supplements provide a reliable source of additional nutrition.”
Dr Carrie Ruxton’s top nutrition tips to get ready for a summer of fun and outdoor life;
- Skin saviours– skin can easily dry out thanks to sunburn and sea salt. As well as using a good quality sun cream and post-sun moisturiser, make sure you get enough vitamin A in your diet by eating lots of carrots, red and yellow peppers, broccoli, eggs and dairy foods. B vitamins and vitamin C also support normal skin. When travelling, make sure you take your multivitamins and minerals with you, a good probiotic can also be a useful addition to your luggage.
- Joint care – we all get more active in the summer, but this can lead to joint aches and pains if you’re not used to regular exercise. Fish oils and glucosamine can both help to support joints while magnesium is important for normal muscle function. Aim to include fish in your diet twice a week and take an omega-3 or a glucosamine supplement every day.
- Holiday hair – if swimming pools or straighteners are playing havoc with your hair, give it a boost by choosing foods rich in biotin and zinc. Good sources include seafood, lean meats and poultry, beans, nuts and soya. A B vitamin supplement should also contain biotin as it forms part of the B complex of vitamins.
- Strong stomachs – nothing puts a damper on the summer holidays like bloating and digestive problems! Studies show that taking a probiotic supplement for a few weeks before you travel can reduce your chance of picking up a diarrhoea of vomiting bug.
- Nice nails – nails are often on display when we switch to summer clothes, but cracks and splits can be a problem. Both selenium and zinc are vital for normal nail health so try to eat more poultry meats and fish. A handful of Brazil nuts, or some dried mango provides 100% of your daily selenium recommendation or you could try a multimineral.