Four Healthy Reasons to Love Summer!

06-21-2017 9:37 AM

Today officially marks the first day of summer!

So we’re doing a lighter, more fun post today.

Summer is my favorite season of the year. I remember the carefree days of summer vacation as a child. And I drink them in as my boys enjoy the same.

I also find it much easier to eat healthy and stay active during the summer.

Today, let’s focus on four, healthy reasons to love summer! Enjoy!

1. Eat your berries. Strawberries. Blueberries. Blackberries. Raspberries. It doesn’t matter what your favorite is — just eat them! I find myself eating at least a cup of fresh berries a day in the summer. I can find locally-grown berries at my grocery store, but you may enjoy picking your own. A great activity with the kids!

Health benefits: Berries are loaded with antioxidants, which are known to help prevent cancer.

2. Soak up the vitamin D. Use your sunscreen, of course. (We don’t want to increase the risk of skin cancer!) Your skin makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. You don’t need to overdo it though. Even 10 minutes of sunlight can help increase your levels of vitamin D. Be careful about supplements. They can cause toxicity. Sunlight does not.

Health benefits: Vitamin D can boost your mood, improve bone health and possibly prevent some cancers. Read more about vitamin D and cancer prevention at cancer.gov.

3. Choose local produce. It’s even trendy for restaurants now to serve locally-grown produce. It’s usually picked ripe and tastes far better. Plus, you’re supporting local farmers and helping to build your community.

Health benefits: You’ll likely get more nutrients from your produce because it doesn’t sit around in the distribution process as long.

4. Use your melon! Take advantage of the varieties available now including watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew and galia. They all taste better in the summer! The last couple of years I’ve branched out to try some unique varieties like the Melonade, Santa Claus and Lemon Drop. I was skeptical at first because I’d never heard of them. That feeling passed with my first bite.  I became obsessed with these specialties, which are marketed under the name Kandy Melons by Martori Farms in Arizona. Now when I see the Kandy sticker on the melons, I just buy them. I know they’ll be great. They do taste like candy. I like to freeze them and throw them in the blender with a little water to make the best natural frozen drink ever! I often throw in fresh herbs like basil or mint for a really refreshing treat that you don’t have to feel guilty about!

Health benefits: Melons help hydrate your body, satisfy a craving for sweets and give your body much-needed vitamins and nutrients.

What do you love about summer? Send us your thoughts and post your pictures on our Facebook page. Use the hashtag #tmkfsummer!

Stacy Graves is a contributing editor of The Mary Kay Foundation℠ blog and website. She and her husband, Glen, are raising two teen boys. She’s worked in some type of communication role for Mary Kay Inc. or The Mary Kay Foundation℠ since 1994 — loving every minute. She’s passionate about everything Mary Kay. You can connect with her by her website or LinkedIn.