The Health Benefits of Sunshine

Sunshine

Summer is around the corner and so is all that sunshine. And by now, your ears are full with advice on how to make sure you don’t get sunburns or suffer dehydration or get any other disease that is associated with excessive sun exposure. One of the causes notorious for melanomas, for instance, is excessive sun exposure.

You should heed all that advice.

But did you know that sunshine also delivers powerful health benefits? Well, after this post, we are sure you will look for opportunities to soak up the sun-while protecting yourself from the harmful effects from overexposure. When you are properly exposed, you will enjoy many benefits from sunlight.

Sunshine may decrease inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

In a recent study conducted at the Australian National University, researchers found that children who were exposed to the sun for just an extra half hour a day had a lower risk of developing IBD by at least 20%.

This is especially significant considering the fact that almost 1 million people live with IBD in the United States. This amounts to a total annual economic burden of IBD is between $15-$30 billion each year.

This is expensive for employees and employers alike. So want to reduce the risk that you or your kids will develop IBD? Spend some time in the sun this summer.

Sunshine is a rich source of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is important to calcium absorption into the body. The lack of calcium is linked with dental and bone health problems. Thus a lack of Vitamin D usually means weak bones and teeth as well.

In order for your body to absorb and use calcium properly, you need Vitamin D. And yes, Vitamin D is a vitamin you can get from being in the sun. Now of course, there are opportunities for you to get Vitamin D from supplements. However, nothing beats a natural source. The sun will literally help you have healthy teeth and bones.

Other benefits of Vitamin D include:

  • Vitamin D stimulates your pancreas to produce insulin. This is helpful for keeping diabetes at bay.
  • Vitamin D boosts the immune system.
  • Vitamin D boosts brain health. In one study, researchers showed how Vitamin D reduced the risk for multiple sclerosis.

Sun exposure reduces the incidence of certain cancers

Although excessive exposure to the UV rays of the sun is well-known to cause cancers, the right amount of sun can keep them away as well.

According to this article that was published by the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, people who are not exposed to the sun enough are more likely to develop certain cancers including: colon, ovarian, prostate, Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and pancreatic cancer.

The reason this happens is because a Vitamin D-derived hormone is needed in order to regulate the maturation of the cells in these organs.

When Vitamin D is low (as a result of low or little sun exposure), the levels of this hormone is also low and because of this, cell maturation is delayed and leads to cancerous cells instead.

Sunlight improves cell function

The sunlight increases your body’s core temperature. With your core temperature raised to a good level, the cells in your body are able to function optimally.

Your immune cells for instance, improve their activity when you are exposed to sunlight. So by exposing yourself to the sun, you will be getting the benefit of a boosted immune system as well.

Sunlight and your mental health

Have you noticed how excited you get (or at least your kids get) whenever the sun is out? It turns out all that good feeling is not just in your mind.

Sunshine boosts the release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin gives you a sense of calm and well-being.  This is why people seem less stressed when the sun is out.

And even if there was nothing biological going on between your brain and the sun, something about having clear blue skies and a bright yellow sun always triggers a better mood.

The Health Benefits of Sunshine

And this improvement in your mood goes a long way to promote your mental well-being. Most of the time, articles focus on the negative aspects of being exposed to the sun.

Of course, if you are not using sunscreen and you are not drinking enough water during the hotter months of the year, you will suffer. But a proper dose of sunshine with all these safeguards in place will help you fully enjoy the health benefits of sunshine.