We live in a world that is besieged with unreasonable messages about the precariousness of sun, however; we must remember that in ancient times many cultures had the know-how to use the sun as a healing source for all kinds of illness. Sunlight therapy, now known as heliotherapy, dates back to the times of ancient Greek which was then called heliosis. We are timid of sun exposure given its collation to skin cancer and premature aging. But don’t completely ditch the sun as its exposure has innumerable health benefits that go beyond just vitamin D. Exposure to the sun for 10-15 minutes a day is imperative. Let us know why and how one should go about it…
Adequate supply of vitamin D
Sunlight boosts body’s supply of vitamin D. It is said that there are about 1000 genes in our body that are monitored by vitamin D3. About 10% of the genes in our body are affected by sun exposure as this D vitamin is formed by the skin’s response to the UV radiations of the sun. A sufficient supply of vitamin D promotes bone growth and prevents diseases such as breast and colon cancer, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, seasonal disorders, and depression. It triggers the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the body. With higher levels of vitamin D3 in the blood, one is at a lower risk of encountering fractures of all types. It is extremely important for older people to avoid osteoporosis. Sunlight multiplies the white blood cells in the body which play a key role in building the body’s immunity system and help guard us against various infections. Sunlight is thus a remedial treatment for muscular development, fitness and stamina.
Regular sunlight elevates the serotonin levels in the body making us more bright and buoyant. It is a better approach to increase serotonin without the aid of drugs. Blood levels of vitamin D3 are low during winters so the summer sun can endow the body to stock on the same and produce vitamin D3 when required. Expropriation of sunlight causes a condition called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It is a type of depression common in winter months which mostly affects people who work for long hours under the roof and are hardly able to spare a few moments to go out in the shade. Moderate exposure increases the levels of natural antidepressants in the brain and produces the mood-lifting chemical, serotonin. Symptoms of SAD include difficulty in developing concentration, fatigue, loss of interest in daily chores, moodiness, and sleeping excessively. Regular sun can thus foil moderate depression, particularly if combined with exercise, such as a walk in the park. It’s also seen that exercising outdoors creates more endorphins in the body than exercising indoors. Sunlight assists you to respond to your stress situations, reverse your blood pressure, manage insulin, and convert carbohydrates and fat into energy.
Improves sleep quality
The hormone melatonin is responsible for making us drowsy. When sunlight strikes our eyes a message is sent to our brain which bars the production of melatonin until the shade goes away. Cataclysm of melatonin during the day results in its low levels at the night causing poor sleep quality especially in the elderly. To assure that the body clock is in sync, one should go out and get some sunlight as soon as you wake up so that it signals the body to activate its daytime phase. Dump the sunglasses early morning to let the pineal gland stop producing melatonin.
Lowers blood pressure
Exposure of skin to ultraviolet rays produces a compound, nitric oxide, which lowers blood pressure. Nitric oxide stored in the top layers of the skin responds to sunlight and causes the blood vessels to dilate as the oxide moves into the bloodstream. Sun exposure not only improves health but even drawls life span. This is so because low blood pressure curtails the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Constant use of sunblock for the fear of skin cancer could result in the person being prone to heart diseases. Cardiovascular diseases, often associated with high blood pressure, are responsible for about 30 per cent of deaths globally each year. Blood pressure and these diseases vary according to season and latitude, with increased levels observed in winter and in countries further from the equator, where ultraviolet radiation from the sun is lower. Sunlight can clean human blood vessels with atherosclerosis. It is also known to increase the body’s capacity to transport oxygen to different tissues in the body.
Help ward off Alzheimer’s symptoms
For aging women, the imminent menace of developing Alzheimer’s disease and subsequent memory loss is a constant concern. Studies show that vitamin D helps maintain a fully functional mind and lead to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. Studies show that women with low levels of vitamin D have a high chance of marred cognitive functions. These results support vitamin D’s reasonable effects on the overall health. A research shows that very low levels of vitamin D (less than 10 nanograms per milliliter of blood) are akin with a higher risk of cognitive impairment. Shade decreases the amount of vitamin D produced. People with darker skin tones naturally have less vitamin D as compared to the fairer ones.
1.Promotes general well-being
The amount of sun exposure in the early months of an infant’s life determines how tall he would grow. Thus in many cultures, children are exposed to mild sunlight to trigger growth. Sunlight accelerates healing of skin disorders such as acne, eczema, jaundice and other fungal skin infections. However, y=this treatment measure should be adopted under medical supervision to counter the negative effects of UV radiation and to ensure that benefits overshadow the risks. Vitamin D deficiency even makes us more prone to certain cancers like breast and colon cancer. Studies show that vitamin D supplements result in a 60% drop in the risk of establishing any form of cancer.
Always keep in mind skin color, geographic location and the amount of skin you expose to the sun affect the quantity of vitamin D produced by the body. Experts advise not to expose your skin to direct sunlight over 15-20 minutes. Apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 afterward. If being outdoors is not possible, one can even obtain vitamin D from supplements, food such as milk and fatty fish like mackerel, tuna, and salmon. Everything has its pros as well as cons. If the sun rays can heal they can destroy too. So just be mindful of the precautions you must take while out in the sun and you can get the most out of the most ancient and natural healer.