It’s summertime, and that means that you’re probably making much healthier choices without even trying. Here are just a few reasons why we tend to treat our hearts better during the warm months from June to September:
- We are less stressed
Most people take time off from work or school during the summer. Some head out of town or to the beach, and others find time to relax at home. When away from the stress of work, we typically report better sleeping schedules and measure lower blood pressure. One study found that people who took at least one vacation per year were roughly 30% less likely to die from a heart-related ailment, as opposed to those who did not take any vacation time.
- We go outside and get active
Think of all the possibilities: swimming, biking, hiking, beach games or playing catch with the kids. When the weather is great, we want to get out there and enjoy it. Exercise doesn’t seem like a chore when you don’t even realize you’re doing it.
- We get more vitamin D from all of the sunshine
While most other essential vitamins are found in our food naturally, we actually synthesize vitamin D from sunlight. This is important because vitamin D plays a key role in maintaining the ratio of our “good” cholesterol to “bad” cholesterol. Studies have shown that, on average, levels of bad cholesterol are 8% higher in the winter, and levels of good cholesterol increase by 5% in the summertime. Since more sunlight means more vitamin D, it makes sense that our levels of good cholesterol increase during this time of year.
- We don’t celebrate holidays that are centered around food
The foods that most of us binge-eat for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner are surely unhealthier than what’s being served at your summer barbecue. Plus, when you’re out in the sun all day, pecan pie tends to lose its appeal.
- We eat fresh produce
Many fruits and vegetables are in season throughout the summer, making them less expensive. Not only are these foods cheaper and more accessible, but they often taste the best during this time, making the produce aisle much more appealing than the winter months. Blueberries, in particular, are the ripest, freshest and also the cheapest during the summer, so eat up!
We would like to share a recipe from one of our past newsletters for a Strawberry-Melon Summer Salad. Enjoy!