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Upgrade Your Summer: 8 Ways to Make the Most of the Sunny Season

After 18 months of isolation, we’re finally out and about again. Make the most of the rest of your summer, with foods, habits and supplements that boost energy and performance, protect your heart and joints, promote supple skin and strong hair, and keep you healthy and well, all the way into fall.

  1. Supercharge stamina and performance.

Heat, dehydration and non-stop activity can lead to lethargy, sap summer fun. Plus, metabolism naturally slows in hotter weather, making you even more fatigued. Stop that end-of-season slump, with healthy habits that dial up stamina and performance. First up: get plenty of shut-eye—longer daylight hours decrease sleep-promoting melatonin—and stay plenty hydrated. Boosting water intake cools your body’s internal temperature, and research shows ample hydration improves energy, lessens fatigue and promotes a perkier mood. Make it easier: emphasize cooling smoothies and water-rich fruits and vegetables like celery, cucumbers, watermelon and tomatoes to sneak in extra hydration.

And squeeze every last drop out of summer, with targeted nutrients that increase nitric oxide levels, critical for circulation, stamina and performance. Naturally produced by the body, nitic oxide works by prompting blood vessels to widen and relax, enhancing circulation and supporting delivery of nutrients and oxygen to muscles and cells. Red spinach, B vitamins and beets up your body’s nitric oxide levels, and studies show supplements that increase nitric oxide not only improve energy and performance, but also reduce soreness, and speed healing and recovery—so you can go stronger, longer. 

  1. Protect your joints. 

Amped-up summer activity (running, tennis, basketball, heavy lifting) can stress joints, leading to pain, swelling, inflammation and, over time, a higher risk of osteoarthritis. Plus, cookouts, concerts and holiday travels take their toll; too many cocktails and a less-than-pristine diet further spur inflammation, leaving knees, elbows and shoulders stiff and sore.

Don’t let pain bench you for the last of the season. Keep exercising—it’s good for joints—but do it more strategically. Add rest and recovery days after strenuous workouts; if joints are sore, incorporate lower-impact activities, like walking, cycling, yoga and strength training. Swimming is especially beneficial; one study found water-based exercises significantly decreased pain, improved mobility.

Then tame those flames, with science-backed nutrients; turmeric, chlorella and spirulina algae are shown to quench inflammation and ease joint pain. Nitric-oxide boosting beets enhance blood flow, increase oxygen and nutrient delivery to heal chronic inflammation. Collagen peptides not only dampen inflammation, but also protect joints from damage. The most abundant protein in the body, collagen plays a critical role in maintaining cartilage—the connective tissue that allows joints to move easily, without pain—and research shows collagen supplements reduce inflammation, lessen soreness and swelling, improve mobility and protect against joint deterioration.

  1. Baby your belly.

Holiday travel stress and sleep disturbances can upset digestion and damage your intestinal microbiome—the collection of bacteria and other microorganisms crucial for digestion and overall health. Summer’s excesses (sugar, alcohol, fast-paced living) also irritate the stomach lining, interfere with digestion and disrupt the microbiome, decreasing beneficial bacteria and boosting potentially harmful bugs. And, relevant now, since we’re all in skimpier threads: gut health is key for weight management, and research suggests a balanced microbiome plays a more significant role in preventing abdominal fat than diet alone.

Stop tummy woes from cramping summer celebrations, and stay lean and fit: curb excess sugar, alcohol and refined foods, and lessen stress—studies link ongoing tension with impaired microbial diversity. But don’t be sedentary; too much R&R disrupts gut health, promotes constipation and digestive issues, and damages bacterial diversity. 

And baby your belly, with supplements that support the microbiome and enhance digestion. Probiotics restore diversity and balance, and prebiotics like FOS, apple pectin and flaxseed provide food to nourish beneficial bugs. Other nutrients that ease digestion and improve gut function: broccoli plant and wheatgrass help break down food, keep stomach lining healthy and minimize digestive woes, so you can get back to your summer merrymaking (in moderation).

  1. Keep your ticker going strong.

A fit, healthy heart more efficiently pumps blood, fueling active muscles with oxygen and nutrient, so you can keep swimming, hiking, biking and dancing, all the way into fall. And since heart disease is the leading killer of women, accounting for six times as many female deaths as breast cancer, cardiovascular fitness is even more momentous for us. 

That’s where nitric oxide comes in. Besides supercharging stamina and performance, nitric oxide plays a vital role in cardiovascular health. By triggering blood vessels to widen and relax, it regulates blood pressure and lessens the likelihood of hypertension—or high blood pressure, a serious risk factor for heart attack and stroke that affects 43 percent of all women. Nitric oxide also regulates heart rate and keeps blood vessels healthy, curbing the build-up of plaques that can lead to heart attack or stroke, and research links diminished nitric oxide with a higher rate of cardiovascular disease. 

Boost your body’s levels of this heart-protective molecule, and help your ticker stay strong: exercise, keep cholesterol in check, and fortify your diet with whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables. Taking slow, deep breaths through your nose also triggers the release of nitric oxide (plus, deep breathing eases stress and tension, crucial for cardiovascular health). And studies show supplements like beet root that enhance nitric oxide lower blood pressure, improve blood flow and keep arteries flexible and strong, to lessen the likelihood of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.

  1. Support immunity.

There’s nothing worse than summer colds and flu—especially in the middle of a long-awaited vacay. A robust immune system can ward off infections and prevent nasty bugs from wrecking your holiday plans. But planes, trains and new locales are rife with bacteria and viruses, and travel-related factors can diminish immune response. And immune health is vital as we transition into fall, and a new flu season still full of unknowns. 

Keep those bugs at bay with healthy travel practices that up your infection protection. Before you go, plan ahead and leave plenty of time, to minimize rushing and decrease stress; tension and anxiety dampen your body’s pathogen-fighting potential. Meditation and deep breathing have proven results for reducing stress, shoring up defenses. Getting plenty of shut-eye before (and during) your trip supports immunity: studies show people lacking in restful slumber are more likely to get sick, and recover more slowly, after being exposed to a virus. And gut health plays a central role in immunity, and disruptions to beneficial bacteria decrease resistance. 

For the best travel insurance, bolster your defenses with science-backed nutrients shown to enhance immunity. Turmeric is rich in curcumin, a compound proven to cool inflammation, support immune response and inhibit viral infections. Antioxidants like polyphenols, beta carotene and vitamin C (in beets, greens and carrots), protect against foreign invaders, and research shows supplementing with antioxidants significantly improves immune response. Add gut-healthy nutrients like probiotics, flaxseed, apple pectin and FOS to nourish your microbiome and boost its protective response to pathogens. 

  1. Strengthen skin (and hair and nails).

Summer sun and fun take a serious toll on your natural glow. Chlorine in pools strips skin and hair of oils, and salty sea water leaves hair and nails dry, brittle and prone to breakage. And too much sun damages hair, and can set you up for premature aging, even skin cancer. Maintain your natural beauty, with healthy summer habits. Rinse off every time you leave the pool or ocean, and take sun protection seriously. Minimize exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when UV radiation is at its peak, and slather on sunscreen every time you go out (even walking, biking or gardening); one study found using sun protection on a daily basis reduced the risk of melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. With all the recent recalls of toxic sunscreen products, be sure yours isn’t doing more harm than good; choose a natural, mineral-based version free from chemicals.  

To fortify hair, skin and nails from within, add a collagen supplement to your beauty routine. As the structural matrix of skin, collagen plays a crucial role in skin’s strength, elasticity and suppleness, and research shows taking collagen supplements can minimize wrinkles and offset signs of aging. In one study, daily collagen supplements improved elasticity, increased hydration and significantly reduced wrinkles. Collagen supplements also stimulate your body’s own collagen production, along with other skin-strengthening proteins like elastin. And other research shows collagen improves nail health, reduces brittleness and breaking, and promotes hair strength and volume.

  1. Detox and heal.

Summer cookouts, vacation eats and too many poolside cocktails can leave you in need of a serious cleanse. Detoxing is especially important as we head into fall and winter, to shore up resistance to the inevitable onslaught of fall and winter colds and flu. Start by streamlining eating habits. Avoid sugars, refined carbs and processed foods that trigger inflammation, and cut way back on alcohol; it stresses the liver and impedes detox efforts. Emphasize anti-inflammatory vegetables, fruits and healthy fats (avocado, olives, nuts), plus fiber-rich foods to nurture beneficial bacteria, encourage bowel movements and hurry the removal of intestinal pathogens. And stay hydrated, to support kidney function and lymph flow, vital for flushing out toxins.

Maximize your detox efforts, with cleansing botanicals that reduce inflammation, nourish the gut and increase circulation. Spirulina, turmeric and chlorella cool inflammation, and wheatgrass, goji berries and acai are loaded with antioxidants to fight free radicals and heal damage. Beets boost the body’s nitric oxide levels, promoting blood flow enhancing oxygen and nutrient delivery to cells, and speeding the removal of waste products. And gut-supportive ingredients (flaxseed, apple pectin, FOS prebiotics) balance the microbiome and help your body sweep out toxins.

  1. Stay calm and focused.

After months of solitude, summer’s heat and activity can feel overwhelming. Other summer stressors—disrupted schedules, body image issues, pricey vacations and financial strains—add up, leaving you anxious, tense, moody and less than buoyant. Levels of cortisol (the primary stress hormone) are higher in the summer, triggering anxiety and mood changes. Sweltering heat also impacts your brain, and studies link soaring temperatures with decreased focus, attention and cognitive function.

Recapture your summer rapture, with simple shifts that soothe stress, increase focus and promote equanimity. Maca root is rich in compounds shown to ease anxiety, reduce tension and boost mood; other research suggests maca can improve learning and memory, support cognitive function. Antioxidants in plants like alfalfa, broccoli, carrots and beets combat biochemical changes prompted by stress; anti-inflammatory botanicals (spirulina, chlorella, turmeric) dampen inflammation in the brain, linked with depression and low mood. Nitric oxide also plays a key role in mood, stress and brain health, and research shows diminished nitric oxide impairs learning, memory and cognitive function. Other studies suggest supplementing nitric oxide eases anxiety and stress. Supporting your body’s nitric oxide levels with beets can sharpen focus and clarity, restore calm—so your storybook summer has the happiest ending.

Upgrade your smoothie. 

When you’re just too hot (or busy) to cook, smoothies are the solution for a cool, simple breakfast or refreshing afternoon snack. Don’t waste that blender space; make the most of your smoothie, with power-packed ingredients to boost stamina and support overall health.

Beets and Berries Detox Smoothie

Makes two servings

Start your day right: swap coffee for a cleansing blend of beets, berries and greens—loaded with antioxidants to dampen inflammation and heal damage—plus fiber-rich chia, apple pectin and probiotics to support your gut and help sweep out toxins right out of your system. Beets boost circulation, to dial up your detox (deliciously). 

2 cups coconut water

1 cup frozen raspberries

1 cup frozen blackberries

1 small green apple 

1 tablespoon ground chia seeds

1 scoop Snap Nitric Oxide Organic Beets

1 scoop Snap Collagen Peptides + Super Greens 

Fresh raspberries and blackberries for garnish (optional)

  1. Combine coconut water, raspberries and blackberries in a blender. Core and chop apple (leave skin on). Add apples, chia seeds, Snap Nitric Oxide Organic Beets and Snap Collagen Peptides + Super Greens to blender. 
  2. Puree on high until smooth and creamy. Divide between two glasses. Garnish with fresh raspberries and blackberries, if desired, and serve immediately.

Chocolate-Cherry Stamina Smoothie 

Makes two servings

Banish slumps and energize your afternoon, with a mid-day smoothie to hydrate, refresh and power up performance. Protein provides sustained energy; beets boost your body’s natural nitric oxide levels, enhance vitality. And cherries are shown to fight inflammation, minimize muscle damage and speed recovery, so you can keep going, all summer long. 

2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk

1 cup frozen cherries

1 scoop unflavored whey, pea or other protein powder

2 tablespoons unsweetened raw cacao or cocoa powder

1 medium banana

2 scoops Snap Nitric Oxide Organic Beets 

Fresh cherries and raw cacao nibs for garnish (optional)

  1. Combine almond milk, cherries, protein powder and cocoa powder in a blender. Peel banana and cut into chunks; add banana and Snap Nitric Oxide Organic Beets to blender.
  2. Puree on high until smooth and creamy. Divide between two glasses. Garnish with fresh cherries and cacao nibs, if desired, and serve immediately.

Glowing Greens Beauty Blend

Makes two servings

Restore your natural radiance: this creamy blend of collagen and greens strengthens skin, hair and nails, protects against damage. Spinach is rich in skin-healing beta carotene, and kiwi is loaded with vitamin C to support your body’s own natural collagen production. Avocado and coconut milk add nourishing fats to soften skin and hair, and keep you glowing for the rest of the season.

1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk (about 1 can)

2 cups packed baby spinach leaves

2 scoops Snap Collagen Peptides + Super Greens 

1 small avocado

2 small kiwi fruits
1/2 to 3/4 cup crushed ice (optional)

Kiwi slices for garnish (optional)

  1. Combine coconut milk, spinach and Snap Collagen Peptides + Super Greens 

in a blender. Halve avocado, remove pit and scoop flesh into blender. Halve kiwi fruits and scoop flesh into blender. 

  1. Puree on high until smooth. Add ice, if using, and puree again until thick and creamy. Divide between two glasses. Garnish with kiwi slices, if desired, and serve immediately.