We are now reflecting, repairing and rebuilding South Florida.
Our patience will be tested, particularly that of those in the Florida Keys. Now more than ever, we need to stay strong in both body and spirit.
So I offer a few thoughts that I will keep in mind as I haul tree limbs to the street:
▪ Stay hydrated. I cannot emphasize this enough. It is hot and many of us do not have air conditioning for a cooldown. Keep a water bottle in sight at all times. Keep drinking throughout the day. The first sign of dehydration is a headache, and seriously, don’t we have enough of a headache after Irma.
Water is perfect for hydration, but if you are sweating a lot, consider a sport drink. Eight glasses of water a day is a starting point but not an absolute rule. And remember fruits are a source of fluid.
There are many stress-reducing foods that are well suited for a time without electricity. Here are three of my favorites:
▪ Unsalted nuts. Almonds, pistachios and walnuts are a trifecta of stress reduction. They contain magnesium, which has been described as the original “chill pill.” Magnesium can help prevent stress hormones from entering the brain. Nuts also have fiber, protein and healthy fats. Tree nuts also contain phytonutrients that help control blood pressure.
▪ Avocados. Avocados are a South Florida staple. They are loaded with stress-reducing B vitamins that maintain healthy nerves and brain cells. They also have monounsaturated fats and potassium for heart health. Spread over crackers or breads to make a delicious and nourishing snack.
▪ Dark chocolate. Don’t we all need a treat? Just an ounce of dark chocolate has been found to improve mood by increasing serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. Pair the chocolate with fruit for a calming, antioxidant-rich snack.
Sheah Rarback is a registered dietitian on the faculty of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Follow her on Twitter @sheahrarback.