Summer Survival Guide
With the best months of the year upon us, it’s time to hit the beach/pool/garden. Here’s the BESTFIT guide to making the most of the summer months…
THE EYES HAVE IT
You’ll need some sunnies. But before you think about going cheap, or purchasing a pair from the locals walking the streets at your holiday destination, it’s important to ensure you eyes get the UV protection you need. Scotlight Direct conducted some research into how much Brits knew about their eye health and the damage the sun can do to them. Of the 1,500 people surveyed, 40% of people own a pair of replica shades, which might not carry proper UV protection. Moreover, almost half of those questioned (49%) believe that darker lenses provide more protection – which is not the case. And over half of us (56%) don’t actually even know whether the sunglasses they currently own offer high UV protection. Polarised lenses offer the maximum protection, and they’re around £30 more expensive. It seems that Brits, on average, are only prepared to spend up to £12. And even if you do, apparently you’ll need to update your shades every two years anyway, as UV rays can damage our lenses. Worryingly, over a third of Brits don’t replace their sunnies after two years; and 11% don’t even replace them after six years.
Take the hit in your wallet, not on your eyes!
UPGRADE YOUR BARBECUE PART 1
Here are four simple swaps that will upgrade your BBQ game.
1. Burger Buns: white bread to wholegrain
“Wholegrain bread naturally contains more fibre than white bread. This means it can help to fill you up, and also breaks down and releases energy more slowly, making you less prone to more carbohydrate or sugar cravings later on,” explains Nutritionist Cassandra Barns. “You’ll also be getting more in the way of vitamins and minerals.”
2. Crisps: fried to baked
Whether you go for lightly salted or more exotic flavours, crisps will always be a hit when you bring out the barbecue. But like white bread, they provide quickly absorbed carbohydrates that will send your blood sugar soaring. They’re also high in salt, of course, and can be high in unhealthy fats as a result of being fried in vegetable oil. “Oats provide slower-releasing carbohydrates and are high in fibre. The fact that these snacks are baked rather than fried means you’re avoiding the overload of unhealthy fats and additional calories from crisps, too.”
3. Burger: choose high-quality meat
‘Bargain basement’ burgers can be lower in nutrients and higher in unhealthy fats, thanks to what the animals are fed on and the conditions they’re kept in. As a healthier choice, look for organic burgers – or, ideally, burgers made from grass-fed beef. Or even better, make your own!
4. Dressing: mayonnaise to olive oil
“Take a tip from the heart-healthy Mediterranean diet by making an easy dressing with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Or if you like creamy sauces, try making your own with Greek yoghurt instead of mayo,” suggests Cassandra.
HAPPY – AND HEALTHY – HOLIDAYS
According to recent research commissioned by Ribble Cycles, more and more of us are looking to exercise while we’re away. According to their findings, 74% of us are considering swapping hedonistic or lazy holidays for a fitness break, while 42% of us are looking for a boost to our mental health while we’re away by doing some form of activity. So, from yoga retreats in Ibiza and boot camps in Portugal, to weight-loss stays in Italy or Sri Lanka and life coaching in Antigua, there are more and more options to choose from. Happy browsing!
Whether you’re lying by the pool or simply making the most of the weather in your lunch hour, use the opportunity to completely get away from technology and the stresses and strains of everyday life.
“Constant connectivity to mobile devices has become one of the typical attributes of the modern day office environment, and many find themselves checking emails even when lying on the beach,” explains Andy Magill, Wellness Coach at Vitality. “One of the best possible ways to de-stress when on holiday is to turn off your work mobile, switch your mind off completely from what is going on back home, relax and enjoy the warm weather.”
And, if you can, lie in. “One of the delights of going on holiday is the luxury of not having to turn over bleary eyed at 7:00am every morning to turn off your alarm,” continues Magill. “Catching up on much-needed sleep is up there as one of the best remedies for combatting stress and relaxing whilst you’re off. In fact, getting in good sleeping habits when you’re away can help you to be more productive when you’re home.”
EXERCISE, WITHOUT PACKING YOUR GYM KIT
“A holiday presents the perfect opportunity to dodge the monotony of stuffy public transport and to shake off the lethargy of the Monday-Friday 9-5 grind,” says Magill. “A great way to take in the sights and catch the tourist hotspots is to put on your walking shoes and stroll around as much as possible. Walking will do wonders for your health through reducing your stress levels and increasing your step count.”
And if you have a pool, use it for an actual swim, rather than just bombing. “Swimming is great as water is 12 times as dense as air, so it’s a far more effective way of toning your muscles than any other form of cardiovascular exercise that you can do on land.”
GRAB A BREW!
Fact: hot drinks are able to cool you down more than ice-cold beverages. Why? A cup of brew stimulates heat receptors in the mouth, enhances circulation and eventually raises your body temperature. Once this happens, you will start sweating at an increased rate. When it evaporates, the sweat effectively cools you down.
TAKE AN ACTUAL CHILL PILL
Did you know there are nutrients that can actually help you to cool down? Curcumin, which is derived from turmeric root, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and promotes circulation. By speeding up blood flow it reduces its stickiness and effectively cools your body down. Try CurQuMax by Quest Vitamins
Whether you go dark brown or redder than a lobster, you’re going to need to moisturise your skin, and maybe even apply some aftersun. Kill two birds with one stone by choosing a light-textured moisturiser with Aloe Vera. This natural extract is known for its cooling properties and has been used for years to help with sunburns. Most of us are aware of the benefits of Aloe Vera applied on skin but the benefits are far wider – especially when taken internally. You can also replenish electrolytes and minerals lost due to dehydration on a sweaty day.
So, reach for a soothing skin gel, such as What Skin Needs (available from www.whatskinneeds.co.uk,
£9.99), or drink some Aloe Vera juice. Rich in zinc, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin B, it’s your
natural energy drink.
Suntan lotion is essential, but you don’t want chemical-filled nasties plastered all over your body, right? Bare Republic have launched a range of natural items free from the horrible stuff. Their Tinted Face SPF Sunscreen doubles up as an SPF 30 Facial Mineral Sunscreen, while if you’re planning on being active – and after reading this feature you really should! – you’ll need a longer lasting and water-resistant sunscreen. Their natural, chemical-free active SPF 50 Mineral Sport Sunscreen Lotion has a broad spectrum of UVA/UVB protection, plus it’s water resistant for 80 minutes and has no chemical actives, synthetic fragrances or parabens. Both cost £17 for 100ml. Check out www.barerepublicnaturals.com. Alternatively, try the Bioderma range. Photoderm MAX offers real internal biological protection thanks to an exclusive patent that preserves and stimulates the skin’s defences (immunity) during sun exposure. And don’t forget the kids! Photoderm KID uses a specially combined with C-peptide, a derivative of three natural amino acids (methionine, arginine, glycine) which strengthens protection against DNA damage caused by UVB rays, which are particularly harmful for the thin, fragile skin of children. Head to www.bioderma-uk.com… some things aren’t worth risking.
UPGRADE HOUR BARBECUE PART 2
Not your actual barbecue, but rather the food on it! Here’s a recipe for free from our very own Ben Coomber…
Simple baked salmon and roasted veg
A super simple dish that you normally load onto a baking tray, season, and throw in the oven. You can do that, or you can chuck it in a load of foil and stick it on the BBQ… It’s high in protein, and has a healthy mix of vegetables. It’s convenient, easy to cook and adaptable, rich in antioxidants vitamins and minerals, broad nutrient profile, high in omega 3 fats and essential fats, good monounsaturated fats, and it’s filling, too!
180g salmon fillet
2 medium courgettes
1 cup butternut squash
1 tbsp yellow olive oil
Create a parcel from the tin foil, add the salmon fillet and put the seasoning and sliced lemon on top. Cover with the rest of the tin foil, and throw on to the barbecue for 20 minutes. Chop up the courgettes and onion into large chunks and the butternut squash ½ the size of the courgette so they cook at the same time. Season with plenty of your chosen spices, then pour 1 tbsp of olive oil into your hands, then rub this oil all over the vegetables, covering all of them evenly. Cook again for 20-30 minutes depending on how quickly they cook and brown up on the barbie.
Hot weather, plus daytime drinking and nighttime hedonism can mean lost days on your holibobs. However, prep right and you’ll be poolside in time to get your towel on the sunlounger.
1. Be sure to stock up on electrolyte-rich water for the morning after or, even better, between alcoholic drinks at night. Energy drinks also contain electrolytes, but they’ll also have a load of sugar too.
2. That sluggish feeling you get after a night on the lash is a lack of potassium in your cells. Quick fix: have some avocado on toast followed by a banana. Both are potassium rich, and will have you back in the game way before a fry up.
3. Avoid dark spirits. If you’re going to do shots, stick to the clear variety, for they contain less congeners (which damage your liver).
4. Snack on cucumber, celery, asparagus and cranberries. These foods will help you flush out the toxins and replenish the nutrients and minerals you need.
Heading to exotic and far away lands? You MIGHT be exposed to foods that you’re not used to, which can easily imbalance the bacteria in your intestines and upset your digestion. “You can also be at a higher risk of exposure to bacteria that can cause illness, especially if you travel to places where food hygiene standards may be lower than you’re used to,” says Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at Superfooduk.com. “Consider taking a live cultures supplement that is designed for travelling and that doesn’t have to be kept refrigerated.”