Let the Sunshine in! 5 Benefits of Sun Exposure
Shedding some light on the benefits of sun exposure. Photo by Anna Borska.
During the peak of summer, we are often reminded to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful rays, but just how dangerous are they? After all, life on Earth depends on the sun, so it must be there for more than just turning on the lights every morning. Despite all the warnings, the sun is actually necessary and beneficial for a number of reasons, including but not limited to:
Benefit #1: Sunlight Provides the Best Source of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin when it reacts with the UVB rays emitted from the sun. The link between vitamin D and bone health has been well established, but did you know it also plays a role in many other functions? Recent research has shown links between vitamin D and insulin regulation, stroke, heart attack and immune function to name a few.
Benefit #2: Sunlight Gives us More Energy
The sun warms our planet, raising our core body temperature in the process. A higher core body temperature helps stimulate our body’s detoxification processes, as well as increasing cell function, thus giving us more energy.
Benefit #3: Sun Exposure Can Help Us Lose Weight
The pineal gland is a small gland in the brain that regulates the body’s circadian rhythm. It responds directly to sunlight, via receptors in the retina, and is responsible for regulating metabolism, various endocrine functions, and producing the sleep hormone melatonin.
Benefit #4: Sunshine Makes us Happy
Lack of sun can actually lead to symptoms of depression, resulting in a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. While many were initially skeptical of this condition, doctors have had great success with light therapy, which suggests a direct link to lack of sunlight.
Benefit #5: Sunlight Helps REDUCE the Risk of Cancer
This may sound counterintuitive given all the warnings about skin cancer, but an adequate exposure to sun may actually reduce the risk of certain types of cancers. Recent research has shown a link between sunlight and reduced risk of colon cancer in particular.
And there you have it – vindication for those of us who enjoy pool or beach time in the summer. But what about skin cancer and early aging? Well, for starters, the body needs sunlight to rejuvenate cells as part of the anti aging process. In addition, a healthy diet and exercise can help the body naturally rid itself of the free radicals it picks up from the sun. For example, anti aging therapy in Los Angeles and other top clinics would include information on foods rich in antioxidants to cleanse and rejuvenate the body. It is true that sunlight, like most things in life, can be overdone, but that does not mean that we must turn ourselves into vampires and avoid the sun at all costs.
A little sun now and then can revitalize us and brighten our day.