Direct exposure to sunlight can be very dangerous and damaging, but if taken in moderation, sun may also protect against many diseases. Sun, in fact, provides us with energy that all living things need in order to live and grow, and it also promotes our vitamin D production, enhances mood, and improves sleep.
But let’s take a look at some of the most important health benefits of sunshine.
1. Proper Sun Exposure
Before we start talking about the beneficial effects of the sun, we must first emphasize the importance of proper sun exposure.
If you wish to enjoy all the health benefits of sunshine without any harmful after effects, you should absolutely avoid overexposing yourself to the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is the time of the day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, and during this time the sun’s rays are the strongest and most dangerous.
However, midday sun is the best source of UVB rays, which in turn are the primary and the most powerful sources of vitamin D. Only 10 to 15 minutes of direct sun exposure (without sunscreen) can be enough to generate sufficient vitamin D amounts!
UVA rays (morning and afternoon) do not promote vitamin D production, but they have other great health benefits and are also less likely to cause sunburns.
2. Sunshine and Vitamin D
As we have just mentioned, sunlight is our primary source of vitamin D, known also as the sunshine vitamin.
Sunshine, vitamin D and bones
Vitamin D is necessary to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus.
Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium, and is thereby responsible for building stronger bones. It promotes bone mineralization and growth, and its deficiency may, in fact, cause thin, soft, brittle, misshaped and weak bones, susceptible to breakage.
Sunshine, vitamin D and cancer
Researches have shown that getting enough sunshine, meaning adequate amounts of vitamin D, may reduce the risk of cancer by at least 60%.
Being a potent cell growth regulator, vitamin D may prevent the creation, the growth, and the development of cancer cells and tumors.
Other sunshine and vitamin D health benefits
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, found in some foods and produced in the body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Vitamin D is essential for our health and for the proper functioning of various systems in our body. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, miopathy, multiple sclerosis osteoporoses, psoriasis, rickets, and many other illnesses.
- Sunshine can also activate a form of cholesterol found in the skin, known as 7-dehydrocholesterol, and convert it into vitamin D. In this way sunshine lowers cholesterol levels.
- Sun exposure is very important for pregnant women as well. It helps protect against preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by soaring blood pressure and swelling of hands and feet. Preeclampsia can cause premature delivery and maternal and fetal illness, and is also a second leading cause of maternal and fetal death.
Vitamin D deficiency is a common cause of preeclampsia.
3. Sunshine and the Immune System
Another great health benefit of sunshine lies in its power to improve your immune system, by increasing the number of white blood cells and promoting the production of gamma globulin. This is essential for your body’s natural defense system, as it helps fight bacteria, molds and viruses, and ward off infections and diseases. It also helps increase the oxygen carrying capacity of red blood cells.
4. Sunshine and Skin Benefits
It is well known that sunshine gives your skin a healthy glow and a smooth and radiant appearance. But this is not all!
- Sunshine stimulates the skin to produce more brown pigment, known as melanin, which is what makes you look tanned. The more melanin the skin produces, the more it is protected against harmful sun-rays. In fact, if you get regular exposure to sunlight, you will develop a natural resistance against ultra violet rays.
- The sun rays cause the top layer of the skin to become thicker, making it less susceptible to damage. Moderate skin thickening can be very helpful in protecting the skin against aging and other environmental harmful effects.
- The UV rays have also the ability to fight and kill bacteria, viruses, yeasts, molds, fungi, and mites that may appear on your skin.
- Sunshine can also help reduce, or even eliminate different skin disorders such as acne, boils, diaper rash, psoriasis, eczema, athlete’s foot, etc.
5. Sunshine Enhances Mood and Promotes Better Sleep
Sunshine and better mood
One of the greatest health benefits of sunshine lays in its ability to sooth our nerves and enhance our mood. It can have positive effects on our mind and lift up our spirits, while fighting depression and promoting calmness. All in all, sunshine can cheer us up!
Sunshine, in fact, cures a type of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), caused by decreased sunlight in the winter months.
Sunshine is known to increase serotonin levels in the brain. Decreased winter sunlight may instead lead to depression, for it makes our body produce twice as less serotonin compared to summer sunlight. Sunlight therapy has therefore shown to be the only efficient treatment for people affected by SAD.
Sunshine and better sleep
Getting enough sunlight will help your serotonin levels remain high during the day, and increase the melatonin production in the night.
In fact, natural sunlight inhibits the release of melatonin, and its output is therefore greatly increased at night, which helps maintain a normal circadian rhythm, while promoting better sleep.
Other Health Benefits of Sunshine
- sunshine promotes healthy circulation
- prevents heart disease by strengthening the cardiovascular system
- stabilizes blood sugar and blood pressure
- improves digestion
- helps in balancing the hormones
- sun rays are effective in treating jaundice
- enhances liver and kidney function
Now add some sunshine to your life and let us know if you have enjoyed reading this post. Just leave a comment below.