The body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. With the short daylight hours in the winter, we have less opportunity to be out in the sunlight. When we are out, we are often covered from head to toe with scarves, mittens, and hats. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, supporting the immune system, losing excess fat, assisting in decreasing symptoms of asthma, and strengthening your teeth.
Here are 10 benefits of getting a moderate amount of sun exposure from “MindBodyGreen:”
1. Sunlight and whole foods send breast cancer into remission. The American physician, Dr. Zane Kime, used sunbathing and nutrition to cure his patients. Even in terminal cases, Dr. Kime was able to completely reverse the metastasized cancer.
2. The sun's light kills bad bacteria. German soldiers after World War I knew of the discoveries that had been made in 1903 by the Nobel Prize winner, Niels Finsen. They used sunlight to disinfect and heal wounds.
3. Sunlight has a beneficial effect on skin disorders, such as psoriasis, acne, eczema, and fungal infections of the skin.
4. Sunlight lowers cholesterol. The sun converts high cholesterol in the blood into steroid hormones and the sex hormones we need for reproduction. In the absence of sunlight, the opposite happens; substances convert to cholesterol.
5. The sun's rays lower blood pressure. Even a single exposure significantly lowers blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure. On the other hand, pharmaceutical drugs such as statins have side effects, such as robbing the body of coenzyme Q10. CoQ10 is essential for cellular and heart energy.
6. Sunlight penetrates deep into the skin to cleanse the blood and blood vessels. Medical literature published in Europe showed that people with atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) improved with sun exposure.
7. Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood. And, it also enhances the body's capacity to deliver oxygen to the tissues in a way that is very similar to the effects of exercise. The sun has a great effect on stamina, fitness, and muscular development.
8. Sunlight builds the immune system. The white blood cells, which increase with sun exposure, are called lymphocytes, and these play a major role in defending the body against infections.
9. Regular sunlight exposure increases the growth and height of children, especially babies. Many cultures throughout history have recognized this fact. Studies have shown the amount of sun exposure in the first few months has an effect on how tall the person grows.
10. Sunlight can cure depression. The noon sunshine can deliver 100,000 lux,
a measurement of light. When we sit in offices for the best part of the day, out of the sun, under neon and artificial lights (150-600 lux), we are depriving ourselves of the illumination of nature. Sunlight deprivation can cause a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression. It is more common in winter months, but also common in people who work long hours in office buildings.
Of course, too much exposure can be dangerous, so be careful to get out into the sun for just long enough for what is right for you.
Michelle Neltner, FLMSI, AAPA, ACS
Lead Supervisor POS