Vitamins and Minerals for Summer Health

Updated by Charlie Rose, Spring 2015 

Some vitamins are particularly important in the summer, especially when your exposure to the sun is increased or if you tend to get hay fever. Make sure you have good levels of Vitamin A and Vitamin C in particular  in your diet. If this is not the case then taking them as a supplement is recommended. 

Vitamin A (otherwise known as Retinol) is powerful in guarding against infection during the summer months. It is a fat-soluble vitamin- this means that the body stores the leftovers for future use. Because of this, it is possible to ingest too much. Pregnant women in particular should be careful of their Vitamin A consumption, as overdosing can have a detrimental effect on their baby. Oily fish, cheese and eggs are a great source.

Another way to take it would be to supplement with Beta-Carotene, a precursor, it changes into Vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant vitamin. It improves the integrity of the mucous membrane, contributes to a healthy immune system and reduces inflammation. (All properties useful in lessening hay fever symptoms.) In food sources, it can be recognised by its bright colour. Carrots, apricots, sweet potato and mango are all excellent sources.

Vitamin C is a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory that can be found in lemons, oranges and grapefruit. These citrus fruits also contain bioflavonoids, which work together with Vitamin C to produce a more potent result, thanks to their antioxidant properties. Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin. It is not stored in the body and so must be replenished daily to be effective. It is essential in the production of collagen, which is needed for healthy, youthful skin and speeding up the healing process in wounds.  Vitamin C can also help protect against UV rays and is important in regulating blood sugar levels. 

Vitamin E, like all antioxidant vitamins (A, C and E), is vital in protecting the cells from damage caused by free radicals. This is especially important in the summer months when the sun is at its strongest. It contributes to healthy skin, eyes and immune system. Nuts, seeds, wheatgerm and olive oil are great sources.

Vitamin B taken as a complex, is useful to lessen the effects of hay fever as the condition can be linked to stress. Stress wreaks havoc on the body in many ways including weaken the immune system’s ability to fight off infection. For hay fever sufferers, it can result in the using up of antioxidants that would help to reduce histamine within the body. Vitamin B is best taken as a complex because the eight individual vitamins work best together. They are a strong component in the breakdown of food into fuel, therefore a supplement is also advised for fatigue.