Bring On The Sun
The sun is not our enemy. It’s something we’ve talked about before in our newsletters and blogs and – now that spring has graced our doorstep – something we should all take to heart as we prepare for the warmer months.
Increasingly, evidence exists which suggests that sunlight, especially when taken in moderate doses, brings with it benefits that far outweigh its potential harm.
Let’s start by looking at the sun’s role in the production of Vitamin D, which brings with it a whole host of health benefits, and which we can maintain at a healthy level simply by getting out in the late morning or early afternoon sun for approximately 15 minutes every day. Often referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, Vitamin D helps to slow down the rate of cellular aging and build strong bones, whilst also boosting the immune system and assisting the body fight off serious infections, as well as joint and muscle pain. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Vitamin D can also help us to ward off stress. On the flip side, a deficiency in Vitamin D, which can be brought about by spending too much time indoors or by excessive use of UV sun cream, can lead to the development of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and the possibility of depression.
This in itself should be enough to convince us that moderate exposure to the sun can be good for us. But recent research conducted by scientists at the University of Edinburgh in the UK now gives us further reason to embrace the sun’s rays. In a paper published online in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology in April this year, the University’s Senior Lecturer in Dermatology, Richard Weller, released findings which indicate that considered exposure to the sun can improve health and even prolong life. This is because a compound called nitric oxide, which helps to lower blood pressure, is released into our blood vessels when sunlight touches our skin. As a consequence, the risk of heart attack or stroke is substantially lowered, leading to Weller’s preliminary conclusion that “the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risk of skin cancer.”
Exposure to the sun can:
* Improve our stores of Vitamin D, helping to reduce aging, fight off infection, decrease joint and muscle pain, ward off stress, build stronger bones, and prevent depression.
* Help release nitric oxide into our blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure and reducing the possibility of heart attack or stroke.
Tips for Getting the Most from the Sun
* Head outside in the late morning or early afternoon and try to get a 10-15 minute dose of sunlight every day.
* When heading out in the sun for prolonged periods, apply sunscreen only after you’ve soaked up 10 minutes of rays.
* Remember to be sensible when exposed to the sun for an extended time. Cover up with light clothing and headwear, and apply sunscreen to exposed areas.
* Avoid chemical-based sunscreens and use a natural, broad spectrum sunscreen instead. We’re biased of course, but we think our wonderful Day Star Range is as good as anything on the market.