As enjoyable as the spring and summer seasons are, they can also bring a host of issues like sunburn, headaches, and insomnia. Here are six easy fixes to sidestep warm weather health hassles so that you can truly embrace this time of the year.
Tea Tree Oil: Fights Odor
Fun in the sun fast-tracks the growth of underarm bacteria, making odors a worry even when we use deodorant. For all-day peace of mind, dab washed and dried underarms with diluted tea tree oil at bedtime. Australian scientists say tea tree oil is rich in anti-microbial compounds (monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes) that kill up to 90 percent of troublesome underarm bacteria. To do: Mix 30 drops of tea tree oil with three ounces of rubbing alcohol and shake well before using. (Apply deodorant per usual).
Tomatoes: Ward Off Sunburn
We love spending time outside, but not how sun-kissed skin can stay pink, dry and itchy for days afterward. Thankfully, a study in Scientific Reports suggests enjoying one cup of fresh tomatoes or 1⁄2 cup of cooked tomato products or sun-dried tomatoes daily can cut your risk of sun damage by as much as 49 percent. Dermatologist Jean Krutmann, MD, explains that lycopene (the pigment that gives tomatoes their red hue) quickly neutralizes the tissue damaging free radicals produced when UV light hits skin.
Floral Scents: Melt stress
Rising humidity, daily temperature fluxes and a list of to-do’s can tax adrenal glands, increasing their production of the stress hormone cortisol and leaving you edgy. To melt away stress in as little as two minutes, gently rub the inside of a flower petal and breathe in the lovely scent it releases. Japanese scientists say when flower petals are touched, they produce chemicals (volatile organic compounds) that lower cortisol output and relax tense muscles, plus stimulate the production of a brain hormone (GABA) that acts as a powerful, natural tranquilizer.
Lemongrass Soaks: Foil Itchy Feet
Soaking your feet twice weekly in lemongrass tea kills rash-causing skin fungi on contact to cut the risk of an athlete’s foot flare-up by 83 percent, say British researchers. To do: Simmer two lemongrass tea bags in two cups of water for 20 minutes; remove tea bags and mix liquid with four cups of very warm water and 1⁄2 cup of Epsom salts. Soak your feet for 15 minutes, then dry thoroughly.
Iced Lattes: Halt Repeat Headaches
Rising temperatures trigger headaches, as even mild dehydration tamps down painkilling endorphins. The good news: Research in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests milk-laced drinks restore fluid balance faster than water to ease headaches in just 10 minutes and cut the risk of future pain in half if you sip 12 ounces daily. Credit both regular and lactosefree milk’s carbs, amino acids, and potassium, which speed water absorption through the digestive tract lining.
Grassy Tickles: Stop Insomnia
Warm nights and early sunrises are just some of the weather hassles that can make it hard to fall and stay asleep. But spending 20 minutes daily walking outside in bare feet can cut the risk of insomnia by 67 percent, say University of California scientists. Cardiologist Stephen Sinatra, MD, explains when bare feet touch the ground, your body absorbs electrons — tiny negatively charged particles — that reset your biological clock so it releases more sleep inducing melatonin at bedtime.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.