The Benefits of Sunshine
Sunshine! You just have to say the word and you are already smiling. I love sitting in the warmth of the sun and feeling it warm me up from deep within all the way to the surface. Seeing its rays peek through giant fluffy clouds in an afternoon sky, watching my sunflowers turn their heads as they follow the sun travelling from east to west throughout the day…all these things put a smile on my face and make me happy. But it’s not just a coincidence. There’s a science behind that smile and a whole lot more than you even knew about how the sun makes us happy. The sun contributes to so many health benefits to our bodies but, like grandma used to say, “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing”. I know it sounds like a total cliché thing for a grandma to say but mine really did say it all the time. Moderation is the key. Too much of the sun’s powerful rays and you can end up with a nasty sunburn and damaged skin. But just enough and it can do wonders.
1. Sunlight prevents depression. We pretty much already know this one. Especially those of us who live farther north and experience long, dark, winter days. We get Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which is caused by a drop in our serotonin levels. Serotonin is associated with boosting our mood and making us feel calm and focused. There are triggers within our retina, when exposed to sunlight, that sends out signals to release the happy hormone. This doesn’t just help the SAD sufferers but also those suffering from non-seasonal depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, pregnant women with depression, panic attacks, and anxiety-related disorders.
2. Sunlight builds strong bones because it has an enormous amount of Vitamin-D. We need Vitamin-D because it helps us absorb calcium and phosphorus into our bodies which we couldn’t do otherwise. It also helps improve the function of our muscles and decreases our chances of falling which could create bone fractures. There’s a lot of interaction there. Ever notice your kids start growing faster in the summertime? Yup, that’s the sunlight having an effect on your kids’ bones making them taller and stronger. Not only does Vitamin-D help bones but it helps to prevent certain types of cancers, such as breast and colon cancer.
3. Sun exposure has a therapeutic effect and promotes healing on skin disorders such as: acne, psoriasis, eczema, jaundice, and other fungal skin infections.
4. Your immune system gets a huge boost because sun light actually increases white blood cells which defends the body from infection.
5. Blood pressure is significantly lowered from sun exposure. Not only that but when the sun’s rays penetrate deep into the skin it cleanses the blood and blood vessels. Studies have shown that people with atherosclerosis (hardened arteries) improve after sun exposure.
6. Sunlight increases our oxygen intake into our bodies and enhances our bodies’ ability to deliver it to tissues very much like exercise.
7. Sunlight kills bacteria. It has been used to disinfect and heal wounds and when you hang your laundry out to dry the sunlight, it’s killing bacteria in the fibres of your clothes and sheets.
So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and soak up the sun for at least 30-minutes a day without any sun screen so those healthy rays can penetrate through and do your body good! You’ll be lookin’ good inside and out.