8 Reasons Why Sun Exposure Is Surprisingly Beneficial
Everyone knows that you need to put on sunscreen before going outside. But can there be health benefits to spending time under the sun? The UV rays emitted in sunlight can be harmful, if you aren’t careful, but they are also an essential resource your body needs to stay healthy. Here are the top eight reasons to enjoy a little sun exposure today.
1. It Compensates for Diet Deficiencies
First off all, sunlight is essential for your body to produce Vitamin D. The UV rays in sunshine react with chemicals in your skin to produce Vitamin D3, which is then synthesized by your liver into a form that your body can easily use. Without sunshine, your body cannot produce this compound. Vitamin D occurs naturally in almost no foods, and although many processed products in the United States are fortified with it, most people who rely on diet alone for their intake end up deficient in Vitamin D.
2. It’s Historically Supported
So what good does this Vitamin Do? Vitamin D was first discovered by scientists who were researching ways to treat rickets, a childhood bone disease that is caused by a Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D was also found to be effective against tuberculosis—many TB victims were sent to sunny climates to help recovery.
3. It Lowers Blood Pressure
Vitamin D can help keep blood pressure under control. People who live in northern latitudes, where there is less sunlight, are often at risk for this problem, but exposure to UV light was found to help fight against hypertension in a 1998 study. In addition, Vitamin D may have some ability to reduce the risk of diabetes.
4. It May Fight MS
The causes of multiple sclerosis are not well-understood, and there is no consensus on whether or not Vitamin D can help combat the disease. However, there is substantial evidence that Vitamin D deficiencies often contribute to MS development, and some researchers believe that getting more exposure to UV light can help reduce symptoms for those who already have it.
5. It’s an Immune Booster
Vitamin D derived from sun exposure is an essential component of your body’s ability to fight infection. It helps increase your number of white blood cells and keep them healthy, allowing you to more effectively stave off disease. In addition, UV light has anti-microbial qualities and can directly kill some types of bacteria. Lack of sunlight (and Vitamin D) is one reason that flus and colds become more common during the winter.
6. It’s Multipurpose
Deficiency in Vitamin D has been tied to a number of minor health problems, including digestive problems, excessive sweatiness, and bone aches. Getting enough sunshine can help fight these problems and boost your overall health.
7. It Improves Sleep Cycles
Even without the many advantages that come from Vitamin D, exposure to sunlight has been shown to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm. This 24-hour cycle helps dictate when you feel tired, hungry, and wide awake, but our modern exposure to artificial light can throw it off, causing insomnia at night and sleepiness during the day. By increasing exposure to sunlight, you can help keep your body’s natural rhythm going, helping you get a good night’s sleep and keeping you wide awake during the daytime.
8. It Reduces Stress
Finally, exposure to sunlight can help boost serotonin levels in the brain. This neurotransmitter can help increase relaxation and positive feelings, decreasing your amount of stress. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression that is especially prevalent in the winter, is linked to lack of sunshine. As mentioned above, sunlight can help you sleep better, which also reduces stress and anxiety. And everyone knows that going outside, enjoying the warm air, and playing on a bright, beautiful day can leave you in a better mood!
Keep In Mind
One important thing to remember, however, is that in high amounts, UV light can be dangerous. It is the only known carcinogen that can be beneficial to your health—which means that although it can fight disease and improve your mood, it can also cause serious problems if you get too much of it. Also, sunburns are painful! Be sure that you remember sun protection if you’re going to be outdoors for a long period of time, and that you don’t overdo your sunbathing. Vitamin D supplements are one excellent way to get the benefits of sun exposure without the downsides. We offer a wide variety of supplements here at PurMedica, because your health is one of our top priorities.
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