These days, medical experts, dermatologists, beauticians and a host of other professionals warn against exposure to sunlight as the ultraviolet rays (UVR) from the sun have harmful effects on your skin. Consequently, many now have a high phobia of the sun and all outdoor activities.
While some of the rays from the sun may be harmful to some extent, the sun, nevertheless, is a natural resource, and daily exposure to sunlight for specific periods is beneficial to your health generally. Let's look at a few major health benefits of sunlight.
• SUNLIGHT BOOSTS VITAMIN D
Unlike most vitamins that are obtained from food, vitamin D can be synthesized from the sun. Vitamin D is essential for many functions such as for strengthening bones and teeth, supporting the immune system, losing excess fat, protecting the brain against dementia and decreasing asthma symptoms for both adults and children.
• SUNLIGHT MAY REDUCE RISK OF SOME DISEASES
Some studies have linked vitamin D to protection against colon, kidney, and breast cancer. Combining sunlight therapy with other cancer treatments also tends to improve the patient's prognosis. Sunlight also has a beneficial effect on skin disorders, such as psoriasis, acne, eczema and fungal infections of the skin, as well as musculoskeletal problems like multiple sclerosis and rickets.
• SUNLIGHT HAS PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS
Exposure to sunshine (even indirectly – such as through a window) can alleviate stress levels. Sunlight causes the brain to produce more serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates appetite, sleep, memory and mood. Another psychological benefit of sunlight is the control of the secretion of melatonin (a hormone that helps you sleep); exposure to sunlight during the day increases the natural production of melatonin at night. It also significantly lowers blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure and can cure depression.
• SUNLIGHT BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Ultraviolet radiation kills bacteria and interferes with their reproductive cycle by damaging DNA. Soldiers in World War 1 even used it to disinfect wounds. Sunlight penetrates deep into the skin to cleanse the blood and blood vessels. The white blood cells, which increase with sun exposure are called lymphocytes, and these play a major role in defending the body against infections. Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood and also enhances the body's capacity to deliver oxygen to the tissues; very similar to the effects of exercise. The sun has a great effect on stamina, fitness and muscular development.
Like most things we have been given to enjoy, moderation is key to getting the best of natural daylight. You should keep exposure moderate; factors such as your skin type, time of day and how much skin is exposed all determine the healthiest dosage of sunshine for you. If you are not used to the sun, then your skin will be more sensitive to it; avoid sunburn by building up your tolerance slowly. If you are light skinned, a 10-15minute daily dosage should be adequate, while you'd require almost six times the sun exposure if you're dark skinned. Take advantage of nature and get a little more extra sunshine today – it's good for you.