Many people prepare for the onset of winter by stocking up on extra vitamin C and other immune boosters. However, summer also places our bodies under specific demands and it’s important to make sure we keep our systems balanced through these long hot months.

§  Hydration: Drink lots of fresh, still water to stay hydrated and keep energy levels constant. Eat high-water fruits like watermelons and cucumbers. Cutting back on alcohol and caffeine is important too (sorry!)

§  Mineral depletion: Many of us will be perspiring more than usual and many minerals are lost through the skin when we do – particularly zinc. Zinc is an essential mineral for every cell function of the body. Zinc rich foods include lean red meat, fish and dark leafy vegetables. Pumpkin seeds are a great zinc source too; sprinkle them on cereals and salads and have a handful with some nuts for a snack.

§  Skin: Whilst observing appropriate skin protection (creams and clothing) is essential to reduce your risk of skin cancer, it’s worth knowing that there are foods that can also help. High on the list is co-enzyme Q10. You can find this in broccoli, spinach, sardines, mackerel and whole grains. Studies have shown that tomato paste is particularly effective at supporting skin at a cellular level and is a great ally in fighting skin cancer. Great excuse for a home-made pizza!

§  Food safety: Needless to say, hot weather can create food and digestive issues as certain harmful bacteria thrive in these conditions. Make sure you pay attention to preparation and storage, especially with children’s lunchboxes. (I see many children with upset tummies caused by bacterial infections from food). Lunchboxes that have sections for ice blocks are best, and using frozen bread for sandwiches can help keep fillings cool and fresh. If dining outside, use appropriate lids and covers to keep flies off the food.

§  Holiday tummy: If you’re going on holiday, your eating habits and routines are likely to be quite different to usual. Bowel movements are often different too – many people find they become constipated. Don’t worry! Taking a probiotic (healthy bacteria supplement) will help strengthen your gut flora and, if you’ve eaten something that doesn’t agree with you, it will also help speed your recovery!