These powerhouse supplements are sunny weather approved
When the warm, summer weather finally greets us, we make the most of it—creating travel plans, organizing family outings, and maybe even lounging poolside. But as our schedules fill up, our bodies often need a little extra TLC to keep up with a change in routine (and change in weather). Here, we’ve rounded up 10 go-to supplements to have you feeling your best this season.
Whether you’re hiking in the summer heat or spending an afternoon gardening outdoors, too much sun exposure can quickly lead to dehydration. And when we sweat, we lose valuable electrolytes (essential minerals our body needs such as calcium and magnesium). The best way to replenish lost electrolytes? With a healthy diet, fluids like coconut water (an electrolyte powerhouse), and supplements often in the form of capsules or powders.
You may be well familiar with the sunshine vitamin, a.k.a. vitamin D, which aids the body in absorbing calcium and phosphorus, contributing to greater bone strength and immune function. Since so few foods naturally contain vitamin D, the best way to increase your levels is by taking a supplement. And while regular sun exposure is a natural source, sunscreen can hinder absorption by more than 90 percent, making vitamin D a summer supplement essential.
Summer brings more backyard BBQs, patio dinners, and plenty of travel. Translation: increased opportunity to experience digestive issues like bloating and cramping. On top of that, hotter temperatures can actually alter the bacterial makeup of your GI tract. Popping digestive enzymes (proteins your body uses to break down food and turn it into energy) in supplement form can be your saving grace during these food-forward occasions.
Just as digestive enzymes assist your body in breaking down food, probiotics help keep that digestive environment in tip-top shape. These living micro-organisms (trillions of which already live in your gut) promote a healthy balance of gut bacteria. If your summer plans lack a variety of probiotic-rich meals or you’re suffering from a stomach bug, consider a supplement.
We all turn to sunscreen to defend our skin against sun damage, and while it’s certainly the most effective method, recent research indicates that collagen peptides may also help protect our skin from UV damage. Collagen is a well-known structural protein found in our skin and bones, and collagen peptides are tiny bits of protein in an easily digestible form. Look for an oral collagen supplement in the form of pills or powders to boost skin elasticity and help it retain more moisture.
As much as we look forward to vacationing in another time zone, it isn’t exactly easy on our system. (Trying to catch a few hours of shuteye on the plane is hard enough). Look to a melatonin supplement to get your circadian rhythm back on track. The reason? The hormone is a darkness signal for your body to help it achieve sleep, even if it’s bright outside. Tip: jet lag is worse when traveling east compared to west, so give yourself a few extra days to adjust.
Vitamins B12 and B6 are touted often, but it’s easy to forget that there are actually eight B vitamins our body relies on to thrive (from folic acid to thiamin). These are collectively known as the B-complex. All of these vitamins play an essential role in converting the food we consume into glucose, a.k.a. energy, which is all the more necessary during active summer days.
When our schedules get busier and our travel plans more frequent, our immune systems can take a hit—especially if eating more meals out means less access to foods with vitamin C. This essential nutrient has powerful antioxidant properties and can help combat summer colds before they happen. The reason a supplement can be so vital is that vitamin C is water-soluble, meaning it’s not well stored in the body. Taking vitamin C daily is a great alternative when food sources are lacking.
Research has shown that fish oil supplements can potentially reduce sun-induced inflammation (think: sunburn relief) and also offer some sun protection. This is because omega-3 fatty acids appear to alter the skin’s inflammatory response signals to UV rays. Of course, that’s no reason to ditch the SPF, but it’s yet another benefit to consuming omega-3s this summer.
As the warm weather makes its return, allergies often arrive just as quickly. Instead of suffering through sneezes, look to a natural remedy like quercetin, a dietary flavonoid that’s responsible for giving many fruits and veggies their color. Research has shown that quercetin has the potential to stop immune cells from releasing histamines, helping to reduce allergy symptoms as a result.