This time of year, we are bombarded with news warning us of all the negatives effects of sun exposure – premature aging, wrinkles, sunburns, and obviously the worst – skin cancer. (We’ll address all the possible negatives in another blog and how you can protect yourself from them.)
But very few times do we hear about all the reasons we need sunshine! One of the major reasons humans need sunshine is that it is the best way for our body to produce Vitamin D! The only other way for our bodies to get Vitamin D is from foods (such as eggs, liver, fatty fish) and from supplementation. Both are very minimal amounts compared to what the body can produce when exposed to sunshine.
Vitamin D is made by our bodies from skin exposure to UVB radiation from the sun. The catch here is that sunscreens were designed to block UVB radiation. So, if you are putting on sunscreen every time you go out in the sun, then you make it near impossible for your body to synthesis Vitamin D.
Sunshine leads to Vitamin D synthesis, which leads to immune protecting benefits that will help you live a healthier and happier life. Do not avoid the sun completely, if you do it will result in low levels of vitamin D and increase the likelihood of depression (think Seasonal Affective Disorder or Winter time blues).
Here are three simple ways to use sunshine for your health:
- Do not burn! Sunburn is an enemy to health and vitamin D synthesis.
- Listen to your skin and at the first sign of reddening, you should cover up or get out of the sun.
- Start with small doses of sun exposure. A simple way to get started is to get 10 minutes of sunshine each day on as much skin as possible. The preferable hours for this are before 11 AM and after 4 PM.
These same rules apply to kids, too!
I also recommend you make smart nutritional choices, such as Greens Plus, to help protect you from too much sun exposure. The vibrant colors in Superfoods provide an amazing array of antioxidants that fruits and vegetables naturally produce to protect themselves from ultraviolet radiation. This protection is in turn passed on to humans who consume them.
Remember health is a holistic approach. Be active, get smart sunshine exposure, and eat healthy!
Dr. Travis Illian received his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama in Human Performance. He is certified nationally as a strength and conditioning coach and has published several scientific studies on Greens+ Products.