Sunlight is natural and has an array of benefits for humans. The sun not only provides both light and heat that warms us, but in some cases sunlight can change how we feel and how we look. All sun exposure is suggested to be kept in moderation to avoid excessive sun damage. The use of sunscreen can be more damaging than the sun itself. Coconut oil is an excellent natural sunscreen without any side effects. Learning what the health benefits of sunlight are will help you decide if sunlight therapy will work for you.
The best-known benefit of sunlight is its ability to boost the body’s vitamin D supply; most cases of vitamin D deficiency are due to lack of outdoor sun exposure. At least 1,000 different genes governing virtually every tissue in the body are now thought to be regulated by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3(1,25[OH]D), the active form of the vitamin, including several involved in calcium metabolism and neuromuscular and immune system functioning.
It also is a strong supporter of bone growth and health to avoid degeneration and breaking. One of the highest concentrated forms of natural vitamin D is found in sunlight. Getting up to ten minutes of direct sun exposure each day helps the body produce vitamin D. Vitamin D3 or calciferol is a type of fat soluble vitamin. It helps the body maintain healthy levels of phosphorus and calcium. Vitamin D3 works together with the body's other hormones, minerals and vitamins to help prevent osteoporosis and brittle bones. The Creighton University School of Medicine states that Vitamin D is crucial in reducing the risk of most forms of cancer such as colon, skin and breast by up to 60 percent.
Melatonin produced by the pineal gland protects skin cells against UV rays and regulates skin pigmentation.
One main benefit of sunlight for most people is that it can enhance your mood. Many people associate sunlight with happiness and stimulation. Natural light from the sun allows us to complete outdoor projects such as gardening and engage in outdoor sports such as baseball or golf. Sunlight has been known to combat depression, especially sadness experienced with those who have seasonal affective disorder or SAD. This disorder triggers depression during winter months or days where there is gray or cloudy weather. A day of sunlight exposure can help someone affected by SAD while utilizing the effects of bright light and the warmth of the sun.
Other Benefits of Sunlight Exposure
- Reduce the chance of multiple sclerosis: There is some indication that Vitamin D can help ameliorate some of the symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis and even fight against its development.
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: While there are plenty of other factors involved in the development of type 2 diabetes, there are some studies that suggest that Vitamin D, along with calcium, may help reduce the risk for developing the disease.
- Prevent high blood pressure: There is a possibility that Vitamin D may actually help prevent high blood pressure, meaning that a little sun exposure can be good for your heart.
- Cancer risk reduction: There are some indications that Vitamin D could actually aid in reducing the risk of different cancers. And some cancers are actually encouraged by a lack of Vitamin D.
- Increase chance of cancer survival: If you do have cancer, there is some evidence that the presence of Vitamin D can help increase the chances of survival, due the possibility that Vitamin D can actually shrink some cancer cells.
- Help prevent bone diseases: Because of its role in helping the body to absorb calcium, and due to other factors, getting sufficient sun exposure for the production of Vitamin D can help prevent bone diseases that can result in fractures and other problems.
- Prevent some muscle pain: Recent studies point to the idea that sensible sun exposure might aid in reducing and preventing some muscle pain.
- Reduce risk of rheumatoid arthritis: Those who have sufficient Vitamin D intake could possibly reduce the chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis, as well as reduce the symptoms the condition.
- Prevent flu: Could Vitamin D help prevent the flu? It might, according to some recent studies. It might also help you reduce the duration.
- Reduce severity of cataracts: While cataracts cannot be completely prevented, their severity can be reduced with the help of Vitamin D. You can see more clearly if you have proper exposure to sunlight.
Your physical health can also be affected by sensible sun exposure. It’s not a good idea to spend too much time in the sun, since it can result in skin cancer and other health problems. However, limited sun exposure can have physical benefits.
- Boost the immune system: Vitamin D is essential to the immune system, and can help boost your immune system so that you can fight off disease more effectively.
- Lower cholesterol: One of the ways you can help lower your cholesterol naturally is to enjoy some sensible sun exposure.
- Lower resting pulse rate of the heart: Studies suggest that sunlight can help lower your pulse rate, improving cardiovascular health.
- Add resistance power to skin: While too much sun can be damaging to the skin, moderate exposure can actually be helpful to the skin. It can actually help your skin build up resistance to eczema, acne and psoriasis.
- Increase metabolism: Sensible sun exposure can help boost your metabolism, increasing the rate at which you burn calories. This can be a great thing, helping you lose weight and stay in shape.
- Better liver function: The nutrients that come as a result of sun exposure can help enhance your liver‘s function.
- Improve digestion: If you are interested in improving your digestion, you can increase your sun exposure to a moderate amount.
- Enhanced kidney function: Sun exposure, thanks to Vitamin D, offers help when it comes to kidney function. Kidneys remove waste from the body, so getting proper sun exposure can help decrease the toxicity in your bloodstream.
- Stronger skeleton: As the Vitamin D produced from sun exposure is absorbed, it can help strengthen bones in the skeleton. You’ll have less brittle bones, and a better posture.
- More physical exercise: It’s more fun to be outside than it is to be inside, and you can use sunny weather as a good excuse to get out and exercise. The sun encourages biking, hiking and even golf. Head out on a nice day and enjoy the sunshine — and get more fulfilling exercise.
Your mental state can also be influenced by sun exposure. Sensible amounts of sunlight can help you improve your mental health and contribute to your feelings of emotional well being.
- Reduce stress: You can reduce your stress level with the help of proper exposure to sunlight. Taking some time to enjoy the sun can help you sleep better as you decrease your stress level.
- Reduce anxiety: If you are feeling anxious, sensible sun exposure on a regular basis can help soothe you. Sunlight is one of the natural remedies to anxiety.
- Fight depression: There is evidence that sunlight is a natural way to improve your mood. If you suffer from depression, adding a little moderate sun exposure might help you combat the symptoms.
- Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): If you suffer from SAD during the winter, you can combat the feelings with the help of natural light. Look for ways to introduce more sunlight into your environment, with the help of open windows. You can also use sun lamps that mimic the sun’s healthful rays.
- Better relationships: More sunlight can help your relationships because it offers a mood enhancement. Not only that, but you can knit closer family relationships by using good weather and fun in the sun as an excuse for inexpensive, quality family activities.