The Beauty Of Sunlight

EGWS
Now that summer is officially here, we’re enjoying the brightest time of the entire year. Let’s consider taking a more balanced look at exposure to the sun. It’s true that there are consequences of unregulated sun exposure, not the least of which is sunburn. Unfortunately, the sun has gotten a bad rap when it comes to its overall effects on our body’s health and beauty. In fact, the sun’s light has many ways of making us feel healthier and happier, especially now, with early dawns and lovely summer evenings. There are many benefits from sunlight. You may be aware of some of them and others might surprise you. We’ve highlighted some of the most notable ones below.

BOOSTS VITAMIN D SUPPLY
Among several notable benefits of sunlight exposure is its ability to boost our body’s vitamin D supply. Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient that your body needs in order to function at its healthiest state. VD11This essential vitamin facilitates the absorption of calcium, an important factor to maintain healthy bones. An adequate supply of vitamin D enables our bodies to be fortified not only against many physical conditions but also acts as a preventative against mild depression, promotes increased energy and elevates our general level of well-being. The great news is that just a little bit of sunlight can go a long way. In the northeast U.S., in the middle of a summer day, an individual with fair skin who spends ten minutes without sun block or sunscreen can get a healthy dose of the day’s requirement of vitamin D. This recommendation varies with geographical location, season, skin tone and a variety of other factors.

ELEVATES YOUR MOOD
In addition to vitamin D, regular sunlight naturally increases the serotonin levels in your body – making you more energetic, alert and happy. Whenever you spend most of the day indoors, away from the sun, under artificial lights, you’re missing out on the benefit of receiving natural light. Sunlight deprivation can result in a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a form of depression which occurs during the winter months especially in northern latitudes and also among people who spend the bulk of their time indoors.

AND THE BENEFITS CONTINUE…

STRONGER BONES
Vitamin D, produced by some exposure to sunlight or the consumption of certain foods (or supplements), assists in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which translates into a stronger framework for your entire body.

PROTECTION AGAINST SOME FORMS OF CANCER
While skin cancer has been linked to excessive exposure to the ultra-violate radiation of the sun, studies have shown that people living at higher latitudes may be at increased risk for other forms of cancer as a result of getting too little exposure to sunlight over the course of a year.

A STRENGHTENED IMMUME SYSTEM
Vitamin D is linked to supporting the body’s immune system. This may explain why more people suffer from colds and flu during the darker winter season than in the months when more outdoor activity is possible. So you may be able avoid the common cold or flu by spending some time outdoors in direct sunlight.

A BETTER REGULATED IMMUME SYSTEM
People suffering from a variety of auto-immune conditions including psoriasis have long known that a certain amount of time spent in the sun helps control the effects of the disease and returns their skin to a healthier appearance.

BETTER SLEEP, INCREASED ENERGY AND JOYSleep
Besides vitamin D, sun exposure is related to production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates the quality of sleep, serotonin, a neurotransmitter that fights depression, and endorphins, another neurotransmitter that reduces pain and fights stress.

POSSIBLE LINKS TO REDUCING THE RISK OF A VARIETY OF DISEASES
Scientists believe that vitamin D may affect no fewer than 1,000 genes which then govern almost every tissue in the body. Research suggests that exposure to the sun may decrease the risk for diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Don’t be sun-shy but remember to use moderation and common sense. Consider taking some time to soak up some sunlight. Unless you’ve been advised to do otherwise, enjoy the sun. You’ll feel healthier, happier and more alive.

 

Much of the data in this blog was based on an article authored by M. Nathaniel Mead, MSc, who is the medical/scientific editor at Photoimmune Discoveries, BV (The Netherlands). It was published online by Environmental Health Perspectives and in print: Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Apr; 116(4): A160–A167. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2290997/
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