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Natural Awakenings SW PA, Greater Pittsburgh

Eco-Friendly Beach Tips: Maximizing Sun and Surf During Crises

Couple Taking Selfie at Beach

Jack Frog/

Flocking to beaches is a normal urge with summer in full swing. While practicing social distancing due to the coronavirus crisis, don’t neglect regular health precautions. It’s more important now than ever to soak up vitamin D to bolster the immune system, and it can also reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease or diabetes, according to the UK University of Warwick Medical School.

Sun Protection

Mother Earth News says we can augment the body’s natural sun protection by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables that contain vitamins C and B, which are depleted when exposed to the sun. It also recommends natural tanning creams such as a combination of sesame nut oil, anhydrous lanolin and water; the liquid of one large cucumber added to rose water and glycerin; or a blend of fresh mint leaves, water, sesame or coconut oil, one egg yolk, wheat germ oil and lemon juice. Natural sunscreen innovations are emerging: the European Journal of Organic Chemistry reports that synthesizing discarded cashew-nut shells holds promise.

Effective UV protection can be attained by donning hats, sunglasses and protective clothing, including neck-to-knee swimsuits for children. Seek shade, cover up and avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Be extra careful when the UV index is high; check the daily National Weather Service forecast assessing the risk of sun overexposure, which offers a widget for smartphones.

Respect Wildlife

Respect wildlife that may be present. Be cognizant of designated turtle hatching areas; their prime nesting season continues through October. Also, tell kids not to disturb shorebirds and other winged friends that may be on the sand; some may be resting or eating after flying many miles on a long migratory journey.

Leave No Trace

Don’t leave any trash behind, especially plastic straws or bags; it’s best to use metal or bamboo straws and cloth bags. With a stiff breeze, plastics can end up in the water to entangle and choke marine life or break into toxic microplastics that pollute drinking water supplies. The online journal PLOS ONE estimates there are 5 trillion pieces, or approximately 269,000 tons of plastic, already in Earth’s oceans.
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Global Brief: Natural Thinking Spending Time in Nature Increases Cognitive Performance
More of our time is spent indoors than ever before. One of the ways by which nature may improve cognitive function (i.e. the acquisition of and goal-oriented use of knowledge) is by improving memory formation and recall, specifically that of short-term or working memory, and goal-oriented or directed attention; the kind that requires focused effort. By comparing and contrasting 13 studies, a team of researchers has shed light on this complex interaction in research published in Frontiers in Psychology. The studies used the backwards digit span task, which requires participants to invert a series of numbers and repeat them back. All demonstrated significantly improved cognition in nature as compared to urban environments. The benefits of studies like this are two-fold: not only are we learning more about how the brain interacts with its environment, but also how to leverage this interaction to lead healthier, more productive and happier lives.
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