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Your Perfect Summer: Top 5 Summer Health Tips from a Naturopathic Doctor

Oh, summer! The season of golden sunshine, gorgeous blooms, and the tempting aroma of barbecued delights. As a naturopathic doctor, I always look forward to the summer months that bring opportunities for enhancing our health and wellbeing. So, here are a FIVE Tips to Make Your Healthy Summer both enjoyable and beneficial for your overall health.

Get Lots of Vitamin "N"

The term "Vitamin N" was coined by Richard Louv, author of "Last Child in the Woods," and it represents the essential, often overlooked "nutrient" we get from contact with nature. It's not found in a bottle but in the great outdoors.

Immersing in nature has numerous benefits, including improving mood, boosting physical health, reducing stress, and enhancing creativity, thus indirectly contributing to immune support.

Here's where and how you can boost your Vitamin N intake:

  • Local parks: Local parks: A morning jog, an afternoon picnic, or simply observing the birds and squirrels can help you connect with nature. Even in urban environments, parks offer a slice of green where you can unwind and follow your exercise routine.
  • Community gardens: Cultivating plants isn't just about the end product but also the process. Gardening can help reduce stress, improve mood, and even serve as a form of moderate exercise. Plus, it's rewarding to see your plants grow and flourish.
  • Beaches or lakes: If you live near a coastline or a lake, make the most of it. The rhythmic sound of waves can be meditative, and a swim can be an excellent form of exercise. You could also try activities like kayaking, paddleboarding, or even beach yoga.
  • Forest trails:If you're lucky enough to be near woodlands or wooded areas, forest walks, or hikes are great ways to immerse yourself in nature. The Japanese practice of "forest bathing" — spending time in a forest environment — has been shown to reduce stress and boost immune system function.
  • Backyard or balcony: For many of us, our home outdoor space may be the most accessible "nature" we have. Whether it's a backyard or a small balcony, you can use it for relaxation or exercise, grow some potted plants, or even just enjoy your morning coffee there.
  • Take Advantage of the Local Harvest: Summer is the season of bounty, and your body will thank you for indulging in healthy habits like consuming snacks from the local harvest. The local harvest offers a cornucopia of fruits, vegetables, and other farm products that are not only fresh, nutritious, and flavorful but also support the local economy and promote sustainability.

Here's how you can fully embrace the local harvest:

  • Farmers markets

These bustling markets are a treasure trove of fresh, seasonal, and locally grown fruits and vegetables. From succulent berries to crunchy greens, you'll find an array of produce picked at their nutritional peak. Many markets also offer locally sourced honey, dairy, and meats.

  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs

By subscribing to CSA programs, you get not only a weekly or bi-weekly share of a local farm's harvest but also an opportunity to connect with your food and the people who grow it. It's like receiving a surprise box of diverse, farm-fresh produce each summer season that encourages you to experiment with your cooking.

  • Pick-your-own farms

Some farms offer the option to pick your own fruits, like strawberries, apples, or peaches. This is not only a healthy summer fun family activity but also a fantastic way to enjoy the freshest fruits at their peak.

  • Local food fairs and festivals

Many communities host summer fairs and festivals celebrating a specific crop (think berry festivals or corn roasts). These events often feature fresh, locally grown produce and specialty items.

Prioritize Hydration

With rising summer temperatures, your body's need for water increases significantly. While there are many beverage options, nothing matches the hydration power of water.

Here are some hydration tips:

Go for:

  • Water: This should be your primary hydration source. It's calorie-free and readily available, and you can easily jazz it up by adding lemon slices or a splash of cucumber for a natural, refreshing flavor.
  • Herbal teas: When served cold, they can provide a refreshing alternative to water. Mint, chamomile, and rooibos teas are delicious options.
  • Fruit-infused water: Infuse your water with strawberries, lemons, or mint for a natural, refreshing flavour.
  • Coconut water: It's a great natural source of electrolytes, especially after a sweaty workout session.


  • Sugary drinks: These include sodas, energy drinks, and even store-bought fruit juices. They may quench your thirst momentarily but can lead to dehydration and a surge in calorie intake.
  • Caffeinated beverages: Excessive caffeine can act as a diuretic, leading to increased urine production and potentially causing dehydration.

Alcohol: While a chilled beer or a cocktail may seem like a good idea, alcohol actually dehydrates your body. If you do choose to consume alcohol, it's best to limit your intake and alternate with glasses of water.

Stay Away From Sun Exposure

Enjoying the sunshine is a summer staple, but it's crucial to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Sun exposure safety is not just about preventing sunburn; it's about safeguarding your skin from long-term damage and reducing the risk of skin cancer.

Here are some important sun safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Avoid the peak sun hours: The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Try to limit your sun exposure during this time by seeking shade or engaging in indoor activities.
  • Wear protective clothing: Opt for loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that covers your skin. Look for garments with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) labels for added protection.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat: A hat with a wide brim provides shade for your face, neck, and shoulders.
  • Protect your eyes: Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays to shield your eyes from harmful radiation.
  • Apply sunscreen: A broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of at least 15 is essential. Make sure to cover all exposed areas of skin, including your face, neck, arms, and legs. Look for sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide for physical protection against the sun.
  • Reapply sunscreen frequently: Sunscreen wears off over time, especially if you're sweating or swimming. Reapply every two hours or more often if needed.
  • Seek shade: If you're spending a prolonged period outdoors, find shade under trees, umbrellas, or canopies to give your skin a break from direct sunlight.

SPF Between 15 and 50

The acronym SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor, and this measures the level of protection a sunscreen provides against UVB rays. 

The number associated with SPF indicates how long it takes for UVB rays to redden the skin compared to not wearing any sunscreen.

I suggest using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF between 15 and 50. Here's why:

  • SPF 15: Provides adequate protection for daily activities and brief sun exposure.
  • SPF 30: Offers a high level of protection and is suitable for extended outdoor activities.
  • SPF 50: Provides the highest level of protection, ideal for individuals with fair skin or those prone to sunburn.

Remember, regardless of the SPF level, it's important to apply sunscreen generously and reapply regularly, especially after sweating or swimming. Sunscreen should be part of your daily routine, even on cloudy days, as UV rays can still penetrate through clouds and cause skin damage.

Natural First Aid

Accidents and minor mishaps are a part of life, but that doesn't mean you have to rely solely on conventional medicine to address them. Nature has provided us with a treasure trove of remedies that can effectively soothe and heal common issues. From motion sickness to bug bites, there are natural alternatives that can alleviate symptoms and promote well-being.

So, whether you're planning an adventurous trip or simply want to stay healthy and be prepared for the unexpected, these remedies can come to your rescue. Check out one of Lifestyle Markets blogs about Natural First Aid Remedies, where you can find a lot of helpful info:

Motion sickness

For those prone to motion sickness while travelling, our expert suggests using ginger capsules or chews. Ginger has been used for centuries to alleviate nausea and vomiting. It can help calm an upset stomach and reduce feelings of dizziness. Keep some ginger capsules or chews handy for your next road trip or boat excursion.

Cuts and scrapes

When it comes to minor cuts and scrapes, a salve containing calendula, comfrey, and essential oils can be incredibly beneficial. Calendula has natural antiseptic properties that promote wound healing, while comfrey possesses skin-soothing qualities. Essential oils like lavender or tea tree oil can provide additional antiseptic and calming benefits. Apply the salve to clean wounds to help prevent infection and support the healing process.

Bug bites

Bug bites can be itchy and irritating, but lavender oil can come to the rescue. Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can help alleviate itching and reduce redness. Apply a small amount of lavender oil directly to bug bites to soothe the affected area.

Bumps and bruises

For bumps and bruises, our expert recommends using homeopathic arnica cream or tablets. Arnica has been traditionally used to reduce swelling, inflammation, and pain associated with minor injuries. Apply the cream topically or take the tablets as directed to promote healing and minimize bruising.


Sunburn is a common concern during the summer months. To soothe sunburned skin, aloe vera gel is a go-to natural remedy. Aloe vera has cooling and moisturizing properties that can provide immediate relief from sunburn discomfort. Apply a generous amount of pure aloe vera gel to the affected areas to hydrate and soothe the skin.