Do you struggle to get your necessary vitamin D through fortified foods or supplements? Why are you not taking advantage of the benefits of sunlight?
Right now, I want you to suspend the media-induced paranoia about the sun because your physical and emotional wellbeing will soar if you give that shiny ball of gas a chance.
7 Reasons You Need More Sun in Your Life
- It’s a natural cancer-fighter. The link between vitamin D deficiency and many forms of cancer has been well established by countless scientific studies. When your body gets a dose of sunshine, it metabolizes it to produce vitamin D. In one trial, researchers determined that it dropped overall cancer risk by a whopping 60% in study participants – across all types of cancer!
- It’s a natural anti-depressant. Sunshine raises your brain’s production of natural antidepressants. This is even more important in the winter months when sun exposure is at its lowest in many areas of the world. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may affect as much 26% of the world population but many people might not recognize the signs. What’s truly fascinating is that this condition is also experienced by those who work the “graveyard” shift or those who spend their daylight hours in artificially lit spaces.
It helps you get a quality night’s sleep. I’ve talked about sleep a lot over the years because without enough of the good, deep kind your body doesn’t have a chance to recoup and repair. When you get exposure to the sun, your natural production of the hormone melatonin slows so that you’re bright and awake during daylight hours. Then production then ramps up when you’re ready for sleep.
- It improves the strength and density in your bones (and teeth). Not only does the vitamin D in sunlight help babies and children grow, it helps your body regulate and absorb calcium. Your bones and teeth benefit greatly. People who get regular vitamin D have fewer fractures as they age. Cavities in the teeth are more prevalent in areas of the world that get little sun.
- It boosts your immune system. If you suffer from an autoimmune condition, give sunlight benefits a try! It stimulates your body to produce more white blood cells. Researchers discovered that sun exposure suppresses an immune system that is overreacting while also boosting its ability to fight illness and infection. It has had excellent results in the treatment of psoriasis, acne, and eczema.
- It is excellent for your heart. The University of Edinburgh reported that sunlight on the skin causes your body to release nitric oxide. That is incredible news for those with high blood pressure (hypertension)! HBP is a leading risk factor in heart attack and stroke. Other benefits to the heart are the way it regulates cholesterol levels and lowers physical symptoms of stress.
- It preserves and improves brain function. Sunlight boosts your production of serotonin, which improves emotional state, but it also helps your central nervous system in ways scientists are only beginning to discover. Studies have linked sunlight exposure to a lower risk of multiple sclerosis (MS), an easing of symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, and higher overall cognition. Scientists have noted that sunlight exposure boosts production of nerve cells in the area of the brain devoted to memory.
Everything in Moderation
To be clear, I’m not telling you to go outside and bake for hours with horrible oils slathered on your skin. It might not matter to you now but you’ll regret toasting your skin when you’re my age! Too much exposure without protection will degrade your skin cells and you’ll look like well-cured leather. Your cancer risk is outrageous and it isn’t a good look for anyone.
No, what I’m telling you is to let the sun help you, even heal you, responsibly. Utilizing the natural benefits of sunlight makes that statement entirely possible.
- Don’t fake tan (not ever)! Fake tanning increases your risk of skin cancer by almost 60% in your first appointment. In the United States alone, it is responsible for almost half a million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer and approximately ten thousand cases of melanoma!
The Journal of the American Medical Association states, “Given the large number of skin cancer cases attributable to indoor tanning, these findings highlight a major public health issue.”
It is highly addictive (yes, I said addictive) and is most popular with the teenage to under-30 crowd of women.
- Don’t leave your skin unprotected for more than 20 minutes! Responsible exposure means giving your body the chance to soak up the valuable benefits of sunlight without staying out there until you burn (which is very, very bad).
The best guideline is 10-20 minutes (depending on your skin tone and sensitivity) in early morning or late afternoon. The skin of your hands and face are most receptive. Leave them bared to the sun. Use the time to meditate as well and you’re going to love how you feel.
You cannot allow your skin to burn. A single burn (accompanied by blisters) equates to doubling your personal skin cancer risk. Five “not so bad” burns has the same effect. Avoid the hottest hours (10am to 3pm) when the effects of the sun’s rays are much stronger.
- Don’t use those scam over-the-counter sunscreens! No matter what the media and sunscreen companies have been force-feeding us for almost three decades, the chemicals in those products are deadly.
Even worse, many commercial sunscreens have proven to increase skin photosensitivity. That means you have an even higher chance of burning unless you continually slather yourself with the toxic mix.
Instead, opt to make your own or buy a natural sunscreen from your local health food market. It’s simple to make and worth the effort.
Invite the benefits of sunlight into your life right now. Be cautious about how you go about getting what your body needs but do not be afraid! That warm glowing ball in the sky has much to offer for lifelong health!