Although excessive exposure to UV rays from the sun can lead to cataracts and skin cancer, sunshine is important and offers numerous health benefits.
Sunshine has a positive effect on our mood. It also produces Vitamin D, which is so important to the body, boosting the immune system, and helping create healthy bones.
Ironically, many of us do not actually get enough sunshine to enjoy these benefits because we have become fearful that exposure to the sun’s rays puts us at risk. Moderation is always the key.
Vitamin D and Bone Health
Vitamin D is key in preventing and fighting disease. It supports bone growth and plays an important role in reducing the risk of breaks and degenerative conditions. The sun provides one of the highest Vitamin D concentrations. Just ten minutes of direct exposure to the sun each day can help your body to produce Vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 (Calciferol) helps your body maintain healthy calcium and phosphorus levels. It also works with other hormones in the body to reduce the likelihood of developing brittle bones or osteoporosis.
Vitamin D as Cancer Prevention
Research shows that Vitamin D plays a role in cancer prevention. There is a link between higher Vitamin D intake and a lower risk of colorectal cancer. Other studies have shown an association between Vitamin D and a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer and prostate cancer, although the full relationship is still unclear.
The Creighton University School of Medicine has done their own research and their findings state that Vitamin D is critical in reducing the risk of most cancers, including a 60 percent reduction in colon, breast, and skin cancer. So while overexposure to UV rays can cause skin cancer, it seems the right amount can actually prevent skin cancer.
Vitamin D as a Mood Enhancer
Sun exposure is a mood enhancer. Exposure to the sun is associated with stimulation and happiness. Sun exposure fights depression, especially sadness or SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Many people suffer from SAD when they do not receive adequate amounts of sunshine during cloudy, overcast weather for longer periods of time, or winter months. Full spectrum lights are often used as treatment.
Humans need sunshine. We have since the beginning of time. The key is to limit exposure to the sun so you do not burn, not to avoid exposure altogether.
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