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Oral Care and Health Daily

Summer’s Surprising Health Perks

Here are three unexpected ways the sweet season boosts your health.

It’s hard not to love summer, with its picnics, vacations, swimming pools and long, lazy days. And of course, you already knew more relaxation and less stress is great for your health. But here are three unexpected ways summer makes you healthier:

1. Summer’s fruits and veggies actually reduce stress.
Not only are they mouth-wateringly delicious, but many garden-fresh fruits and vegetables are vitamin C goldmines -- and the nutrient helps your body combat the damaging effects of stress. “During the summer months, you can easily find fruits and veggies that are rich in vitamin C, such as tomatoes, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cantaloupe, peaches, and nectarines,” says Keri Gans, a registered dietician and the author of The Small Change Diet. Bonus: Vitamin C is also great for strong teeth and healthy gums, not to mention it boosts weight loss and even helps protect against sunburn! (You still need sunscreen, sorry.)

2. Soaking up the sun strengthens your bones and teeth.
Your body needs vitamin D to maintain healthy bones and teeth, and the best way to get it is from the sun. In the winter when sunlight is scant, most of us have to rely on foods (salmon, mackerel, tuna, and fortified milk products) to meet our vitamin D needs. But in the summer, your body synthesizes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Just a few minutes a day can help build up vitamin D stores that are depleted during the darkness of winter. To protect against skin cancer, slather on sunscreen after a brief sunbath.

3. You release more feel-good hormones.
The long days of summer fuel our body’s production of serotonin, a brain chemical that is associated with mood elevation. Levels of this feel-good hormone tend to fall during the dark days of winter and rise during the brightest, sunniest time of the year, says John R. Sharp, a Harvard psychiatrist and author of The Emotional Calendar. “The fact that people are a little less in need of psychiatric help in the summer gives us a clue as to the importance of the time of year to people’s well-being.”