Thursday, July 12, 2018

10 Ways That Sunlight Is Important for Your Health

With the prevalence of skin cancer warnings, it’s easy to forget that sunshine is not only good for you but is also crucial to the survival of this planet’s entire ecosystem.

Certainly, this is not to say one should carelessly run around in the blazing sun all day, as melanoma is still the most fatal form of all known cancers. However, when embraced in moderation, the sunlight keeps the body healthy and the mind happy. Here are 10 reasons why you should enjoy the sun responsibly.

1. Blood Pressure
When those warm rays stroke your skin, the body reacts by releasing nitric oxide into the bloodstream. As this oxide moves around your system, your vessels widen which reduces your overall blood pressure. This is exceptionally beneficial for your cardiovascular health, as it helps lower the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

2. Depression
Best known by its cleverly chosen acronym, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is when the lack of sunshine thwarts the brain’s natural serotonin production. These happy hormones are essential to emotional well-being, hence why this condition is commonly linked to people living in colder countries, those hard workers who are trapped in dark offices all day, or general individuals who are more susceptible to the winter blues. Thankfully, artificial UV solutions known as SAD lights are available.

3. Alzheimer's Disease
While the specifics are uncertain, there have been links drawn between the progress of dementia and a lack of the sun’s vitamin D. Furthermore, one widely reported symptom of this condition is what’s called sundowner’s syndrome, a term used to describe an increase in anxiety, confusion, or mood disruption when the sun goes down. The relieving effects of sunlight on depression, insomnia, and agitation are also important to note, as these factors are often associated with Alzheimer's too. Click here if you would like to know more about sundowning.

4. Cancer
Ultraviolet radiation is usually synonymous with cancer warnings, but there are surprising sunshine benefits when it comes to other forms of this abnormal cell growth. Certain studies have noted a reduced risk of breast and colon cancer with high levels of vitamin D, while other reports have provided similar results in cases of bladder, womb, kidney, and stomach tumors.

5. The Immune System
Whenever the body is invaded by an infection or detrimental bacteria, the immune system gets to work by ordering white blood cells to fight off these dangerous intruders. Sunlight supports these defense mechanisms by energizing these cells, granting them more power to destroy viruses and tumors, which vastly improves your resistance.

6. Bones
One of vitamin D’s most lauded characteristics is its promotion of calcium absorption. Calcium itself is a mineral which strengthens the bones, and this reduces the chance of fractures, breaks, or the development of osteoporosis as you age. These benefits extend to your teeth too, meaning that the more sunshine you regularly take in, the less of a concern cavities will be.

7. Skin Disorders

The relationship between UV rays and your skin is a complex one, and you should always consult a medical professional if you are unsure about what it is you are dealing with. However, in cases of various skin ailments (such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, fungal infection, etc) the sun has been shown to improve their symptoms. If any of these conditions apply to you, spend 20 minutes in the sun without sunscreen to test if this suggestion may help. However, it is imperative that you never burn yourself as this could lead to severe repercussions.

8. Growth
Just like a plant, it has been shown that prenatal exposure to sunlight has a significant impact on a child’s body size, in particular to their eventual adult height. The reasons behind these results are not entirely clear yet, but it could be linked to many of the aforementioned health properties that vitamin D provides.

9. Weight Loss
If you’re looking to lose a few excess pounds, it may be as simple as sunbathing. These regular rays are proven to reduce appetite, while their serotonin-boosting characteristics should also curb any compulsions for comfort food. Furthermore, the extra energy you acquire from the sun is a natural way to bounce through the day, burning off more calories as you go.

10. Sleep
Within your vertebrate brain, there is an endocrine gland more specifically known as the pineal gland. Its primary function is to produce melatonin, a hormone responsible for sleep patterns. If your body clock is correctly in sync with the solar cycle, this gland will be better tuned in with nighttime, prompting drowsiness and ultimately shutting you down into a healthy, blissful sleep.

This is a guest blog entry.

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