Happy Birthday America!
As we all celebrate the 4th with many American traditions-here are a few tips to stay healthy and safe for your holiday weekend!
The sun is particularly strong this time of year. Its penetrating rays can cause accelerated skin aging but long-term the sun may increase a number of skin cancers. While a limited amount of sun exposure is healthy for vitamin D production and for healthy day-night cycling-too much sun is unhealthy.
What to look for in a sunscreen?
Active ingredients in sunscreens come in two forms, mineral and chemical filters. The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. These products typically include a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Oxybenzone is found in 70% of conventional sunscreens.
Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. A handful of products combine zinc oxide with chemical filters.
While too much sun can promote skin cancer-some of the chemicals in most conventional sunscreens may themselves cause cancer. For example, parabens is a known carcinogen and oxybenzone is not only an endocrine disruptor-but may be a carcinogen as well. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detected oxybenzone in more than 96 percent of the American population, based on a representative sampling of children and adults. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s update on the toxic effects of chemical-based sunscreens.
So what to choose?
Heck-its July 4th so there will be the usual array of “American celebration foods” such as hot dogs, hamburgers, potato-egg salad, pork and beans, sugar-laden desserts, booze etc.
So what are some healthier options to balance out the good-bad-and ugly?
Having a picnic?
Consider having salad as a side dish that is fiber-rich satiating and colorized from anti-oxidant rich pigments. This will help protect your genes against the disease-promoting chemicals in many of these festive foods for the holiday. Consider this tomato onion cucumber salad.
Having a hamburger? There are many healthier options that the customary beef burger which is heavily laced with disease-promoting animal fat.
Try a leaner cut of beef such as ground sirloin or 90% lean ground beef are available at many stores. Grass-fed sources of beef and even buffalo provide a healthier mix of fats that dampen the inflammatory process. My preference would be grass-fed sirloin ground into hamburger-but you may not have a say in it. So if you are served the conventional hamburger:
Use a whole-grain, higher fiber roll or bread for the hamburger. Think about adding onion, tomato, pickles instead of dousing with sugary ketchup.
Hosting a BBQ? Give people some healthier options such as antibiotic-free naturally raised chicken, cubes of beef or chicken kabobs with onion, peppers and tomatoes-perfect for the grill?
Finally, we all love dessert for the 4th! Watermelon has many disease-fighting properties which is rich with lycopene-an antioxidant.
But we all tend to splurge over the holidays so consider some patriotic dishes-rich in strawberries, blueberries and white cream.
Enjoy a happy, healthy and exciting Fourth of July celebration with friends and family!
To Your Good Health,