What’s the first word that comes into your mind when you hear the word “sun” or “sunlight” ?
Let me guess, but I believe the words, hot, sweat, shades, summer, beach are the first words that came to your mind, yes?
However, the sun is not just for fun. Did you know that the sun, or specifically the sunlight also provides our bodies with numerous health benefits? While that seems to be far-fetched, the reality is that we as humans also can absorb and metabolize sunlight. But unlike plants, our bodies do it differently and may differ due to many factors.
Here are some of the health benefits that comes from moderate exposure to sunlight:
1. Exposure to sunlight helps with your blood pressure
One common knowledge is that exposure to sunlight stimulates our bodies to produce vitamin D. And what vitamin D does is that it helps us to have sturdier bones. However, a certain study found out that exposure to sunlight not only does the bone good, but also lowers your blood pressure. When sunlight touches the skin, nitric oxide is released which in turn lowers the blood pressure. And if we have low blood pressure, the risk of stroke and heart attack is minimized.
2. Sunlight helps treat certain skin diseases
While the sun does have UV radiation, which may cause skin problems, studies show that the benefits outweigh the risks with regards to sunlight exposure. Certain skin diseases such as psoriasis, acne and eczema has been found to be cured by repeated exposure to sunlight. Sunlight suppresses overactive immune systems and helps in increasing white blood cells which may explain why it helps with the treatment of skin diseases.
3. Better sleep
Having problems sleeping? You may not be getting enough sunlight. Our circadian rhythm or our bodies’ ability to differentiate between night and day is largely affected by our exposure to sunlight. When the sun hits our eyes, it sends a signal to our bodies to stop the production of melatonin (the hormone that makes us sleepy) and when the sun is no longer around, our bodies naturally know and then produces melatonin to make us feel sleepy. If you have problems sleeping at night, ditch the shades and start exposing yourself to the sun!
4. Strong bones
A 2011 study showed that a once thought eradicated disease known as rickets which is the softening of the bones is found to be resurfacing around the world. Children that is not exposed to sunlight are at risk in developing this disease. But, adults too are advised to spend time in the sun as the menopausal stage and getting older does have an impact in our bone strength.
5. Reduce the risk of cancer
Overexposure to sunlight may cause skin cancer – but researchers found out that those with moderate exposure to sunlight have a drop of at least 60% risk of developing any type of cancer.
How much sun do I need?
Now that you know how helpful sunlight is to the body, you may be tempted to take it all off and lie under the sun the whole day. However, that is not advisable. Over exposure to the sun is still the leading cause of skin cancer.
Balance is the key, according to science, we can get the vitamin D we need from sun exposure by spending at least 10 – 20 minutes, 3 times a week. If you’re going longer – apply a lotion with a sun protection factor of at least 15.
Enjoy the sun – it is a gift, the sun shines to everyone.
About The Author
Charlotte has tried every buffet restaurant in the Metro and is on the quest to try the ones in the provinces soon. She's an active blogger and you can find her in her think tank in Marco Polo on weekdays. She used to think Oleia Topical Oil can help her loose weight since it's good for inflammation only to realize it's better for after work massages.