Read This Before Your Next Summer Cookout

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

July 1, 2015

  • What you should know before your next cookout
  • Time to change things up
  • 2 super-nutrients protect against sunburn

After being stuck inside all winter, you’re probably chomping at the bit to start having some summertime fun. Barbeques, pool parties and days at the beach are all in order.

Now, down here in South Florida where my clinic is, it’s pretty much summer all year round. So I’ve seen it all when it comes to patients who forget to take appropriate precautions on sizzling-hot days.

They come into my office with sunburn or sun poisoning.

They’re often dehydrated, and every now and then I’ll get a patient who has a hefty dose of food poisoning after a cookout.

Well, these types of events can really take the fun out of your summer. So today I’d like to share a few tips on how you can make the most of those hot and sunny days.

First off, let’s talk about those family cookouts, company picnics and poolside barbecues.

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It’s important that your raw meat doesn’t come in contact with other foods that are already prepared.

You see, most supermarket meats contain the superbug versions of salmonella and campylobacter. Together, these cause about 3.6 million cases of food poisoning each year. And poultry is often tainted with an antibiotic-resistant form of E. coli.

But, we usually kill off those bugs in cooking.

When cooking out – you want to get your meats on the grill as soon as possible and slowly cook it to just the right temperature.

If you cook meat too fast or at too high heat, it can release cancer-causing compounds. If you don’t cook it enough, well… that’s just asking for a case of food poisoning.

On the other hand, you can avoid this problem altogether by changing things up. Turn your cookout into a “fish-fest.”

Cooking fish and shellfish doesn’t take nearly as much time as red meat and poultry. And you can grill them up at a much lower heat. As a result, grilling them produces fewer cancer-causing chemicals.

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Or, go for grilled shish-ka-bobs. When you cut your meats into smaller chunks they cook much faster. So you can quickly get it to the right temperature, with less risk of chemicals being released.

Now, what are you going to do about protecting your skin while you’re out having fun?

You may think you’ve got it covered with your SPF 50 sunscreen.

And sure, that lotion will stop you from getting a burn. But the chemicals in sunscreens are often more dangerous than the sun itself. Some of these compounds are estrogen mimics. Others damage your DNA. And some of them even become carcinogenic when the sunlight hits them.

Plus, sunscreens almost completely block your body’s ability to produce vitamin D. That’s a crime, because vitamin D helps protect your body from cancer – including skin cancer!

That’s why I like the idea of boosting your sun protection with “sunscreen in a pill.” And there are two that you can easily pick up at your local vitamin store:

Astaxanthin is one of today’s biggest breakthroughs in antioxidant nutrition. A particular type of microalgae (Haematoccous pluvialis) produces it to protect itself from sun exposure. It can help protect you from the sun, too.

Just 4 mg. daily for two weeks can help you withstand longer UV exposure without burning. It actually works by protecting your skin against DNA damage caused by the radiation. It’s like an internal sunscreen.

It takes awhile for the astaxanthin pigment to build up in your system. So start taking it daily at least two weeks before spending time in the sun.

GliSODin is another supplement that helps it take longer for UV exposure to burn your skin. It can reduce sunburn by about 20% and decrease redness much more rapidly if you do get a burn. This means a lower chance of sunburn to start with, and quicker recovery time when you do get one.

For best results, take 500 mg. of GliSODin for four weeks before sun exposure.

It’s also smart to wear a hat and sunglasses, and move into the shade or under an umbrella during the hottest part of the day.

And, if you’re frolicking in the sun for long periods of time, make sure you find a natural sunscreen – made with zinc oxide.

Oh, and just one more thing…be aware that excess alcohol intake on a hot summer day can dehydrate you. So sure, have a drink or two. But keep it in moderation. If you’re a woman, that’s one drink a day. For men, it’s two.

But don’t “supersize” it. A drink is a 12-ounce can or bottle of beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor (either straight or in a mixed drink).


2011 Retail Meat Report. National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System. Feb 2013.

Superbugs Invade American Supermarkets. Environmental Working Group. Apr. 2013.

Suganuma K, et al. Astaxanthin attenuates the UVA-induced up-regulation of matrix-metalloproteinase-1 and skin fibroblast elastase in human dermal fibroblasts. J Dermatol Sci. 2010 May;58(2):136-42.

Mac-Mary S, et al. Could a photobiological test be a suitable method to assess the anti-oxidant effect of a nutritional supplement (Glisodin®)? Eur J Dermatol., vol. 17, no. 3, May-June 2007