Health Benefits of Sunlight
Did you know that nearly half of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D? Vitamin D prevents muscle weakness, boost immune function, and reduce bone loss (which is why you often see it paired with calcium.) The tough thing is that it’s not in many foods outside of fish and egg yolks. So you have to get outside to enjoy the HEALTH BENEFITS OF SUNLIGHT!
the health benefits of sunlight
You may be scared because of all of the information on skin cancer and aging marketed out there. How do you find the right balance? According to experts, moderate sun exposure outweighs the risks of receiving too little sunlight.
A Harvard Medical School study discusses the complicated relationship between too much and too little sun. It is extraordinarily dependent on location, skin tone, “dose” of sun, age, and even genes.
As a rule of thumb, the following increase your risk of absorbing harmful UVA and UVB rays to promote skin cancer.
- Closer to the equator
- Lighter the skin tone
- More time in the sun
- Under the age of 20
Make sure you get sunshine without going overboard. Here are five more health benefits of sunlight:
1. Sunlight makes you happy.
Outside of bone health, sunlight is essential to boost your mood to avoid SAD, seasonal affective disorder, and even mild depression by triggering the release of serotonin.
2. Sunlight reduces the risks of certain cancers.
Vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to various cancers in new research, such as prostate, colon, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer according to a study by Environmental Health Perspectives.
3. Sunlight makes you smarter.
University of Arizona researchers found that sunlight increases your brain processing speed and spurs nerve cell growth in the hippocampus (where your brain forms, processes, and stores memories.)
4. Sunlight improves your sleep.
Sun exposure improves sleep quality because when your body senses sunlight, it stops the production of melatonin, which controls your sleep cycle. If you aren’t outside during the day, the body never stops producing melatonin, and your body won’t know when to rest.
5. Sunlight strengthens your immune system.
Sunlight boosts your immune system because it improves the production of immune T cells based on groundbreaking research at Georgetown University. These cells activate gene pathways involved in production and repair.
Get out there in the sun and bring your plus one with you! Go for a walk, grab a soccer ball, or set up a backyard picnic. For those of you up north, it means you should make double the effort as you are more prone to deficiencies. Aim for 15 minutes of sun on exposed skin (without sunscreen) for medium skin tones on your arms and face.
If you can’t get outside, we highly recommend taking Vitamin D3 supplements. For the right dosage, review your blood test results from your annual physical to see your Vitamin D levels.