Summer days are good for our health. Not just because we tend to be more relaxed, but because summer just happens to be the season where we live a bit healthier. Here are a few reasons why summer is good for our hearts.
Vitamin D from the sun
A Brazilian study found that our “bad” cholesterol levels, LDL, trend 8 percent higher in the winter than summer, and during summer our “good” cholesterol, HDL, tends to increase by about 5 percent. Seasonal cholesterol changes vary in parts of the US and Europe where there are more dramatic seasonal weather changes. This is because when it’s cold out we tend to stay in and get less sun, resulting in less vitamin D. Vitamin D improves the ratio of HDL to LDL.
We eat more fresh produce
This is because there is typically more fresh fruit available in Summer, like blueberries. Blueberries are consistently ranked among the top fruits and vegetables tested for antioxidant activity. In the summer they have the best flavor and are the least expensive. A diet full of fruits and vegetables is generally lower in calories and higher in nutrients, leading to a healthier heart.
We reduce our stress
For many, summer is a time of relaxation. Many people take time off of work in the summer, giving them time to decompress and enjoy the summer mentality: warmth, swimming, and cold drinks. During summer vacations we’re more focused on relaxing, and not stressing. Stress restricts blood flow to our hearts. Studies have shown that out of 12,000 men surveyed about vacation habits, those who took at least one vacation a year were 30% less likely to die of a heart attack.
There are no big pig-out holidays
You may eat an extra hot dog on the fourth of July, but that’s nothing compared to the amounts we eat during the winter holidays. There is no continual stream of holiday parties with tempting sweets. Eating heavy meals that are rich in carbs, sugar, or fat can bring heart palpitations. During summer all you have to do is grab a slice of watermelon to curb your sweet tooth.