Five tips for a healthy summer: How to get the most out of the summer months
Jill Silverman ’97, a dietitian nutritionist, shares her advice on how to stay healthy this summer
Jill Silverman ’97 is an assistant professor of nutrition science at SUNY Farmingdale and registered dietitian nutritionist in Roslyn, N.Y. She teaches classes in obesity and weight management, food science, macro- and micro-nutrient metabolism, community nutrition and introduction to nutrition. She also sees patients in her private dietetics practice.
Here is Silverman’s advice for a healthy summer:
- Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer barbecue season. However, regularly consuming grilled animal proteins, specifically red meat, can lead to the ingestion of carcinogens. But don’t hang up those BBQ tongs just yet! Instead, trim visible fat to decrease drippings and smoke. Marinades provide a barrier between foods and high heat. Partially cook meat in the oven and throw it on the grill before serving. Flip meat often and scrape burnt surfaces off. And consider substituting red meat with vegetables.
- Prefer hot dogs to hamburgers? Consider serving them with sliced red peppers, grilled pineapple or other vitamin C-rich foods. Processed meats — hot dogs, sausage, bacon and cold cuts — contain nitrates and nitrites that lead to the formation of carcinogens. Thankfully, vitamin C helps inhibit their formation.
- Dehydration is most common in summer. Watch out for extreme thirst, less frequent urination, dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness and confusion. The American Council on Exercise recommends drinking 17–20 ounces of water two to three hours before exercise; 8 ounces 20–30 minutes before exercise; 7–10 ounces every 10–20 minutes during exercise; and 8 ounces no more than 30 minutes afterward. Sports drinks replace lost electrolytes, but go easy because of the added sugar. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which exacerbate dehydration.
- We synthesize vitamin D — the sunshine vitamin — when our skin is exposed to the sun’s UVB rays. However, these same rays are associated with sunburns and skin cancer. Sunscreen can reduce these adverse effects without compromising vitamin D status. Don’t skip the SPF!
- Did you know July is National Blueberry Month? Just one cup has 25% of the vitamin C you need each day, plus four grams of fiber. Their vibrant color comes from anthocyanin, a flavonoid with highly potent antioxidant properties. Interestingly, frozen wild blueberries have even higher antioxidant activity than their farm-raised counterparts. Whichever blueberry you choose, eat it raw because heating reduces antioxidant properties.