Oh my, how the weather has changed! One week ago there was snow in the highlands here in Nova Scotia, and now we are dealing with a heat wave and a humidex of 40 degrees! I thought I wouldn’t have to write about this topic until late July, but since we are experiencing the hot temperature, let’s talk a little about keeping ourselves cool during these dog days of summer.
Keeping cool during the warmer months is very important for your health in many ways. When you become overheated, your body will start sweating, releasing internal heat, until your body temperature returns to normal. This is amazing when you look at how extraordinary our bodies are, but, when you sweat out more than you replace, it can cause some serious problems.
Proper hydration is necessary as it prevents heat stroke from happening. The problem is when you sweat so much in an effort to cool down the body that you become dehydrated. When your body runs out of fluids to sweat out, and you haven’t been drinking enough water to supply more fluids, your body temperature will continue to rise. Then you may begin to notice heat stroke symptoms such as fatigue, headaches, skin problems, muscle cramps, low blood pressure and a rapid heart rate. In addition, prolonged dehydration can lead to serious complications like organ failure.
Natural Ways to Keep Cool
Drink Plenty of Water – the most important thing you can do to keep cool is to drink more water than you usually do because you are losing fluids through sweat. Drink two to four cups of water every hour when you are outside or exercising. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to start drinking water, by then you are already becoming dehydrated and putting yourself at risk of heat stroke. If you’re not a fan of drinking water all day, there are other beverages that will help you to stay hydrated. Try to make your own fruit smoothie or veggie juice. Sparkling water is a great option because it comes in several flavors. Adding sliced lemon, lime, cucumber, or whole fresh or frozen berries to your water can make the taste more satisfying.
Eat Hydrating Foods – while drinking water is very important, you can also get it from foods. There are many healthy foods that can contribute a large amount of water to your diet. Not only do they have high water content, they contain valuable electrolytes. Some of the best hydrating foods include:
- coconut water
- oranges & grapefruits
- grapes, melons & peaches
- bell peppers
- broccoli & cauliflower
These hydrating fruits and vegetables are full of important electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, calcium, and sodium. Eating plenty of these foods will help you to stay hydrated and combat electrolyte imbalance. Electrolytes help you to maintain fluid balance, keep blood pressure levels stable and help with nerve signaling, just to name a few roles of these vital nutrients. You can become dehydrated more easily if you have an electrolyte imbalance. This increases your risk of developing heat stroke symptoms.
Avoid Sugary Drinks, Alcohol, and Caffeine – it’s important to prevent dehydration by avoiding the consumption of sugary, sweetened drinks, alcohol and caffeine. All of these dehydrating beverages cause increased urination and electrolyte loss. Plus, consuming too much sugar can lead to inflammation. Although sports drinks are marketed to keep you hydrated during physical activity, many of these products contain a ton of added sugars and synthetic flavorings. So, go for natural electrolytes instead. Try coconut water or adding hydrating fruits to your water.
Avoid Direct Sunlight – to avoid a heat-related illness, limit your time outdoors on those hot days, especially midday when the sun is at its hottest. If you’re outside on a very hot day, stay in the shade. If you’re in an open space, bring an umbrella for protection, wear sun-protective clothing, a hat, and sunglasses, and use sunscreen on exposed skin.
Natural Sunburn Relief
Unfortunately, even if you’ve slathered on sunblock, those UV rays can sneak through and leave you with a painful, itchy red burn. While I believe some sensible sun exposure is essential for your health to prevent vitamin D deficiency, but too much of a good thing can lead to a damaging sunburn that could increase your risk of skin cancer and premature wrinkles.
What is a sunburn, anyway? A sunburn occurs when the sun hits your body and exceeds what your skin can handle. This prompts your skin to release melanin, its protective pigment.
Here are a few interesting sunburn facts:
– A fair-skinned person can get a sunburn in less than 15 minutes during the intense midday sun.
– Interestingly, the sunburn process starts setting in before it’s even visible to the naked eye; the first effects may not show up for several hours.
– Blisters related to sunburn could take hours to days to develop.
– It could take a full 24 hours for a sunburn’s full effects to surface.
It’s always best to avoid a sunburn in the first place. However, we shouldn’t completely stay away from the sun. Usually, 5-10 minutes per day is all someone needs to get sufficient vitamin D. When suffering from a sunburn, your body is desperate for moisture, so try to speed up the process by “moisturizing” from the inside out with lots of water and eating foods with high water content. If after a long summer day, you’ve spent too much time in the sun, applying a soothing, cooling lotion can help calm the inflammation and make it feel much better.
We are also now selling our new, all-natural Soothing Aloe Body Lotion at Body Solace Studio!
All the ingredients in our Soothing Aloe Body Lotion are designed to help with sunburn relief:
• Aloe Vera gel: anti-inflammatory, full of vitamins and minerals, soothing and cooling, with lightweight moisture
• Coconut oil: amazing moisture for damaged skin, anti-inflammatory, reduces redness and rehydrates skin.
• Avocado oil: healthy hydration filled with healthy fats, minerals, and antioxidants your skin loves
• Witch hazel extract: astringent to tighten and heal skin, anti-inflammatory
• Beeswax: used to emulsify the lotion but also provides a protective layer on the skin
Essential Oils for Sunburn Relief
• Peppermint oil is a natural painkiller. It also helps soothe burnt areas by providing a cooling sensation. Also, because peppermint oil is so good at alleviating headaches, it can also help with an after-sun headache some people suffer from.
• Lavender oil reduces inflammation, the sting of burns, and reduces redness. Because it has antimicrobial
properties, it’ll speed up healing, allowing your body to recover faster.
Be careful of the green ‘Aloe Vera Gel’ you can get off the store shelves. They are full of many toxic chemicals and colorants that are not healthy for our bodies. Try to keep your tender skin as moisturized with natural ingredients as you can after too much sun.