Dr. Kathleen Jones
6 Ways Sunlight Keeps You Healthy
Sunlight is central to our way of life, helping to govern nearly every natural process on earth.
Getting the right amount of sunlight on a regular basis is a simple way to foster whole-body health and keep you feeling your best. Here are 6 ways sunlight makes you healthier:
It’s an amazing source of Vitamin D.
What would we do without it? Vitamin D increases calcium levels, strengthening your bones and warding off osteoporosis. It’s also incredibly important for your immune system, helps reduce inflammation, and works to optimize metabolism.
It releases beta-endorphins.
Beta-endorphins are a type of natural painkiller your body produces when exposed to direct sunlight. As you might imagine, these hormones are helpful in several ways. Besides reducing pain, they speed the healing process, fight symptoms of depression, improve alertness, and promote an overall sense of calm and wellbeing.
It’s good for your skin.
Sunlight can be a helpful treatment for several types of skin conditions like acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Of course it’s important to exercise caution, as prolonged sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer. It’s estimated that as little as 5-15 minutes of direct sun exposure 2-3 times per week is enough to reduce symptoms of skin conditions. It’s always wise to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 15 and/or wear a hat and long sleeve shirt midday, when the sun is at its brightest.
It protects you from disease.
The vitamins the sun give us boost immunity, lower blood pressure, and can help protect you from several types of chronic illnesses. Research has shown sunlight can also lower your risk of several types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes and can help ease symptoms related to arthritis, IBS, and thyroid disorders.
It promotes a healthy circadian rhythm.
Your body bases its sleep cycle almost entirely around how much sunshine it receives and when. Receptors in your eyes soak up natural light in the morning, triggering the release of serotonin and cortisol, which help you to feel alert. Going outside for a few minutes as soon as you wake up every day can help your brain to produce the hormones you need to get started with your day - it's estimated that sunlight is over 1000 times more effective at triggering these “wake up” hormones than exercising in a dimly lit room.
It helps with seasonal affective disorder.
Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a type of depression that ebbs and flows with the pattern of the seasons. People with SAD experience worsening symptoms of depression during the winter months, particularly January and February, when sunlight is more scarce. You’re more likely to develop SAD if you are female, have a history of anxiety and/or depression, or live in a location without abundant sunshine. If you experience SAD, it’s important to make sure you’re getting extra Vitamin D from your diet and supplements during the winter months.
As we begin to get closer to fall, now is a great time to schedule a wellness checkup and stock up on Vitamin D supplements. Call or schedule online today!