Be sun savvy

Be sun savvy

Be sun savvy

Spending time outside is a great way to stay physically active, reduce stress, and improve your vitamin D levels. While enjoying the sunshine is important for your health, it is also important to protect your skin. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States with over 5 million people treated for it each year. Fortunately, most skin cancers are preventable. Consider the tips below as you head outside this month:

Limit sun exposure

The hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. are the most hazardous for UV exposure. You can reduce your risk of skin damage by seeking shade under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter before you need relief from the sun.

Apply and reapply sunscreen

Put on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher before you go outside, even on cloudy days. Sunscreen wears off, so be sure to reapply it if you stay out in the sun for more than two hours. Don’t forget to check the expiration date.
Always consult a healthcare provider before attempting a new exercise regime. If you are struggling with pain or have other medical concerns, seek treatment from a medical professional.

Wear protective clothing

When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect your skin. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one. Darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, at least try to wear a T-shirt or beach cover-up.

Find a wide-brimmed hat

For the most protection, wear a hat with a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through.

Slip on sunglasses

Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection.

A change in your skin is the most common sign of skin cancer. This could be a new growth, a sore that doesn’t heal, or a change in a mole. Not all skin cancers look the same. Speak with a medical provider if you have any concerns about your skin. In the meantime, stay cool, stay hydrated, and enjoy your summer!

Tips to drink more water

Getting enough water every day is important for your health. This is especially true during the summer months. Consider the tips below to help you consume more water during the day:

  • Carry a water bottle with you and refill it throughout the day.
  • Freeze some freezer safe water bottles. Take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
  • Choose water when eating out. You’ll save money and reduce calories.
  • Add flavor to your water with a wedge of lime or lemon.
  • Consume foods with high water such as watermelon, cucumber, apples, and lettuce.

Tips to drink more water

Summer is here and the sun is shining bright! Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” is both a nutrient we eat and a hormone our bodies make through sun exposure. It supports bone health, muscle function, cell growth, and immunity. The amount of vitamin D your skin makes while in the sun depends on many factors, including skin tone, geographic location, weather conditions, time of year, and time of day.

Your skin can produce quite a bit of vitamin D in 15-30 minutes of bare skin sunlight exposure. Even though sunlight helps your body create vitamin D, you should still protect your skin properly with sunscreen. Sunscreen that is 15 SPF or higher can block vitamin D absorption by more than 90%, so you may want to consider getting enough of this vitamin through your diet as well.

Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Fatty fish (trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel) and fish liver oils are among the best natural sources of vitamin D. Fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in the American diet. Breakfast cereals often contain added vitamin D, as do some brands of orange juice, yogurt, margarine, and other food products. Check the food labels for this vital nutrient next time you pick up groceries.

Many people take supplements to maintain their vitamin D levels. There are two forms of vitamin D supplements: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both forms increase vitamin D in your blood, but D3 might raise it higher and for longer. Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, it is best absorbed when taken with a meal or snack that includes some healthy sources of fat.

Vitamin D deficiency is a common global issue. About 1 billion people worldwide have vitamin D deficiency. Signs and symptoms might include fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, muscle aches, or mood changes. If you’re wondering if you’re getting enough vitamin D, talk to your primary care provider. Do not take supplements or change your diet without consulting a medical professional.