Sunshine Health – The Importance of Vitamin D
Sunshine Health is a powerful concept that has recently begun to attract the attention of a lot of people. The United States is often referred to as a “land of abundant sunshine”. This may well be true, however we have got such a checkered view of what sunshine can do for us that it is very easy to forget that the rays are not just emitted from the sun. They are everywhere, even in the dead air.
The rays we are all so familiar with come primarily from the sun. We see them reflected on our computer monitors and TVs, but there are other sources. Earth’s surface temperature contains enormous amounts of UVA and UVB radiation. The rays strike our bodies in droves each and every day. Our skin absorbs the radiation and it is passed on to us.
But, as wonderful as all that sunshine is, it is also loaded with dangerous pollutants. Some people argue that we are overly exposed to these harmful rays because of the “time-scales” we work in. For example, we have to be at work late in the afternoon when the sun is at its highest. Many of us then use tanning products to keep us looking and feeling “ripe”. But, we still are exposed to those same harmful UV rays at later times in the day.
Our modern lifestyle keeps us in those “working-in” hours most of the day. This demands that we are exposed to many hours of sunlight. The sun also makes us more active than at any other time. Working in the dead of winter doesn’t really give us a chance to get any of the nutrients we need. That is when we can most benefit from the “UV rays”, or as some prefer to call them, the “benefits”.
There is no arguing that the sunshine benefits are substantial. It has long been known that exposure to the sun stimulates vitamin D production. Vitamin D is one of the most important “indicators” of a healthy immune system and a good state of overall health. When we get plenty of sunshine, it also helps to boost our mood. When we feel good about ourselves, we tend to feel better around others too. So, the sunshine is a real win-win situation.
There is no denying that those who are most exposed to UV rays are people who spend their lives outside. Anyone with a job outside must keep up on the proper safety measures. And if you’re not outside, you should consider wearing hats and clothing that cover your face and neck to protect you from UV rays.
The average American only spends about two hours a day in the sun. When we think about how often we use the services provided by hospitals, schools, police departments, etc., it becomes clear why so many of us need the sun’s healthy rays. We depend on our bodies for oxygen and protection. Our bodies are constantly being threatened by damage from UV radiation. It is truly a true lifesaver.
Keeping our immune systems strong is a very important part of our overall health. When we expose ourselves to sunlight, the free radicals that are caused by UV radiation are neutralized. This allows us to fight off infection better. As we continue to use the services provided by these organizations, we become more aware of how regularly we may need to take advantage of the sunlight to maintain optimum health. We can all benefit from keeping the sun at our back.
Being healthy is a lifelong pursuit. We may choose to slow down a bit as we age, but a lack of healthy exposure causes us to age prematurely. Aging is the biggest preventable cause of death in America. That statistic alone should be motivation enough for us to make sure we are getting our fair share of Vitamin D.
There are a number of ways we can ensure we are getting enough Vitamin D in our diets. We can increase our intake of foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids like fish and flaxseeds. We can also take supplements or eat foods fortified with Vitamin D to increase our body’s absorption of this crucial nutrient. Using a sunscreen that contains an SPF of 15 or better will protect us against UVA and UVB radiation.
Getting enough healthy exposure to the sunshine is one of the best investments we can make in our lives. If we can’t do it, at least try to do it as frequently as possible. If we can’t spend time outdoors, we can still get the benefits of Vitamin D by using a good sunscreen and making sure we are exposed to the sun as much as possible throughout the day. That small amount of extra help will pay off big time when it comes to Sunshine Health.