By BILL HARRIS
Special to The Lede
Listen up, Canada, Dr. Oz has some specific summertime health advice, catered to Canadian concerns!
During a recent visit to Bell Media headquarters in downtown Toronto, Dr. Mehmet Oz - whose beloved and long-running daily program, THE DR. OZ SHOW, can be seen weekdays at 4 p.m. ET on CTV - provided some fascinating insights into how we should be thinking about our health as the seasons change. With the official first day of summer coming later this week, it’s the perfect time to hear what the doc had to say:
Q: The usual philosophy among Canadians is, “Summer is short, so we have to take advantage of it!” It leads to a mad scramble, which I assume people in Los Angeles and warmer climates must chuckle about, right?
Dr. Oz: “The beautiful thing about the summer in Canada is, it's spectacular. So you have more of a high and a low. If you ask people in L.A. if they like the weather, many will say no, because they need the ups and downs. Life is supposed to be a cycle. It's not a straight line. So I don't throw away the brilliance of having seasons at all. Summer sometimes can be a shorter season in Canada, but it's still a season.”
Q: Do our bodies actually function better when there’s a distinct change of seasons?
Dr. Oz: “I played football in college, and one of the things I love about football is, there's a clock, and the clock runs out. You can't waste any time. It's like our lives. Seasons force you to live in the moment, because the moment is going to end. The moment may be defined as a month, or three months, but it's going to end. So there's something about that reinforced natural cycle. Seasonal cycles are important.”
Q: That said, I assume Canadians need to be cognizant of certain dangers when the hot weather arrives?
Dr. Oz: “They did a study in Madrid where they compared city dwellers to rural dwellers, and the folks out in the countryside, when there started to be more sun in the spring, they slowly began to get tanned, and they never got burned. And they don't really have much of an incidence of skin cancer, at least the dangerous kinds of skin cancer, like melanoma. But the folks in the city, when the weather would get warm in May, suddenly they'd run out to the countryside, get instantly burned, and then go back to work again. So interestingly, even in Canada, there are going to be differences in how you deal with new seasons, depending on where you live. Ideally you'd like to start exposing your body to the outer elements gradually, instead of hibernating for 10 months, and then spending two full months outside. I know that’s what happens to my folks.”
Q: Should our eating habits change with the seasons, too?
Dr. Oz: “In some places, like California, where there's ubiquitous fresh produce all the time, it doesn't really matter, but up here in Canada, if you eat seasonally, it makes a difference. You have root vegetables in the wintertime, but these are starchy vegetables, designed to hold onto the carbs in a different way than corn, for example, or other products that grow more in the summertime. So when you have a beautiful summer, which you do have in Canada, I would absolutely binge away on seasonal food, but then I would freeze things, such as berries, blueberries in particular. We have a place in Maine, which is basically Canadian weather, and that's what we do.”
Q: So all things considered, as long as we manage our sun exposure, and don’t forget to freeze some summer food for the winter months, you’re a fan of the changing seasons, like we have here in Canada?
Dr. Oz: “I wouldn't give that up for anything.”