The days are getting longer, the temperatures are rising and the sun is shining - summer is just around the corner! But in addition to all the joy that the warm season brings, it also brings challenges for our health. From the skin to the gut to our entire body, the changing seasons bring changes in our microbiome. But don't worry, science has some facts worth knowing that can help you get through the summer healthy. Find out in this article how you can make the most of your summer time!
Summer nutrition and your microbiome
Summer foods like meat and alcoholic beverages can affect your microbiome. For one thing, eating meat, especially red and processed meat, can change the balance of gut bacteria. Red meat is high in saturated fat and a molecule called carnitine. Some gut bacteria can convert carnitine into a harmful molecule called trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO), which has been linked to heart disease.
Alcohol can also affect the gut microbiome. It can damage the intestinal mucosa and increase permeability, which can lead to "leaky gut syndrome". This can allow bacteria and toxins from the gut to enter the bloodstream, taxing the immune system and promoting inflammation throughout the body.
Plant-based fibers can have a positive effect on the intestinal microbiome by enriching specific microbial species and increasing microbial diversity. Therefore, you should increase your consumption of seasonal fruits and vegetables. In addition, probiotics can help here: They can help to restore the balance of the intestinal bacteria by increasing the number of good bacteria and displacing harmful bacteria. In addition, they can improve intestinal mucosal health and strengthen intestinal barrier function, which helps prevent leaky gut syndrome. Therefore, probiotics can be a useful supplement to help offset the potentially negative effects of meat and alcohol on the microbiome.
If you want to know in detail what you should and should not do when traveling to protect your digestion, then click here.
Your microbiome and summer fashion
Ladies beware: The vaginal microbiome is an extremely lively yet sensitive ecosystem. It consists mainly of bacteria that produce lactic acid and thus maintain an acidic environment that ensures protection against harmful microorganisms. But especially in summer, this delicate balance can easily be thrown off balance. Frequent swimming in chlorine pools or salty seawater can affect the vaginal microbiome. Then there is the wet bathing suit, which is often worn for too long. A warm, humid climate is an ideal breeding ground for fungi and other harmful microbes. That's why it's important to make sure to swap wet swimwear for dry clothes as soon as possible after swimming to minimize the risk of infection and keep your microbiome healthy.
Vitamin D: Your summer hero
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. Its function in regulating the calcium and phosphate balance in the body is particularly important. It increases the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the intestine and promotes their incorporation into the bone matrix. Adequate vitamin D levels are therefore crucial for bone health and growth.
Since vitamin D is mainly synthesized through exposure to sunlight, we recommend supplementing with vitamin D, especially during the winter months or in regions with little sunlight. It is advisable to take vitamin K2 at the same time, as this vitamin regulates blood clotting and directs excess calcium in the blood to the bones. In this way, it can prevent maldistribution of the calcium absorbed by vitamin D in the body.
Last but not least: Don't forget to protect yourself from the sun's strong rays, even in summer. Despite the benefits of vitamin D, excessive sun exposure and sunburn can increase the risk of skin cancer. Also read our article “How to properly protect your skin in summer”!
With these tips you can ensure that you and your microbiome can enjoy the summer in the best shape.