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Healing benefits of sunlight| Sources of vitamin D

Oct 21, 2020

 

 

The lack of sunlight in the chilly months of the year isn’t great. We understand when it’s dark and gloomy, it becomes harder to feel awake and lively during the day. That’s why winters can be especially tough. We have to make sure that we don’t end up burritoing ourselves in a warm, fuzzy blanket and stay there all day! In winters, every single day has the same, miserable forecast- wet, cold, and dark. But when we see the sun peeking out from behind the clouds, it feels like our life depends on it to soak some up. After all, the winter sun has inspired many poets to carve out some excellent literary pieces. 

Sunshine is also very important for us. Other than making us lively on dull winter days, sunshine has a significant effect on our health. And thus, there are plenty of reasons why getting sunlight is a must. Some of them are:

Sunshine helps enhance mood and prevent depression

The body releases a hormone called serotonin when exposed to sunlight. This hormone helps in boosting mood and instills calmness. When the human body is deprived of sunlight for a long period, the body’s production of serotonin decreases. Lesser secretion of this hormone is related to a high risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

Sunshine helps in the creation of Vitamin D in the body

Direct sunlight on our skin creates Vitamin D in our bodies. Exposure to the ultraviolet B radiation in the rays of the sun causes our skin to form Vitamin D which plays a significant role in bone health. Without this vital nutrient in our body, we are prone to bone damage and breakages, and muscle weaknesses. Vitamin D encourages the absorption of bone-building calcium and phosphorus whereas the lack of this essential nutrient is the main cause of rickets in children and bone diseases like osteoporosis, arthritis pain and osteomalacia.

The good news is that just 10 minutes of sun exposure, once or twice a day is sufficient to make our bones strong.

Helps prevent some cancers

According to a few pieces of research, those living in places with few sunlight hours, are susceptible to some cancers like colon cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, etc. when compared to those who live in places where they have longer daylight hours. 

Helps in the treatment of skin diseases 

It is recommended that people suffering from psoriasis can benefit from sitting in the sunlight for about 30 minutes. The ultraviolet rays help in clearing the itchy, flaky skin which is a typical condition of psoriasis. 

Sunlight also prevents fungal growth in the skin. People living in damp, humid places with high rainfall often develop fungal infections in their skin. This can be easily prevented by sitting in the sunlight for not more than 30 minutes every day. 

Helps promote eye sight and keep the brain healthy

The blue spectrum of the sunlight stimulates the photosensitive cells in the retina of the human eye. In moderation, sunlight prevents eye diseases and maintains the sleep cycle. The photosensitive cells in the retim=na are connected to the pituitary gland, and thus sunshine helps in increasing focus and concentration, keeps the hormones balanced, and makes the brain active.

Helps boost the immune system

The blue light found in sun rays make the immunity-boosting T-cells activate faster and help increase their movement in the body. This shows that sitting in the sun for a few minutes can help boost the body’s immunity significantly without taking any medicines. 

Helps in burning body fat

Recent studies suggest that exercising outside in the winters is a great way to lose weight because sunlight shrinks fat cells. It helps balance insulin and glucose levels naturally which results in weight loss.The real danger to our heart is visceral fat, which accumulates around primary organs and the midsection. Deficiency of Vitamin D in our body leads to an increase in visceral abdominal fat thus endangering our lives.Not getting sufficient sunlight especially between 8 am and noon can desynchronize our internal body clock and can lead to weight gain.

Helps improve sleep 

Nowadays we set regular bedtimes and pop up various sleep supplements for ensuring a positive sleep environment. But, the first hour in the morning is sufficient to make and break our sound sleep at the end of the day. The warmth of sunshine in the morning soaks up the warming infrared rays and helps regulate our sleep cycles. Exposure to bright sunlight in the morning also regulates our melatonin and serotonin levels for deep restorative sleep. The morning sun increases the production of serotonin in our body that helps enhance our mood throughout the day. Whereas, melatonin is essential for a deep sleep which after the 12 hours of duration is converted from serotonin and thus helping us sleep ( sleep disorder) better that night. It’s better to catch some morning rays if struggling to sleep well at night. It is less intense in the morning and has less risk of adverse effects.

Boosts energy in the body

Sunlight also improves our energy levels. It is opposite to how we feel on those sleepy, dark and gloomy days. Hormone expert Anna Cabeca says: “When your eyes detect light, that tells your brain to wake up and release the cortisol you need to increase your metabolism and get through your day.” As mentioned above, waking up by the sun’s natural light switches off melatonin that helps stimulate sleep. It improves our energy and mood without the “fight or flight stress” of our alarm clock. Now we know the trouble of staying awake at work in the winter.

A Word of Caution-

Sunbathing irresponsibly for hours is unquestionably harmful and potentially lethal. Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays is also the primary cause of skin cancer. Always use a sunscreen with at least SPF 15 regularly before exposure to the sun rays. Adding a little sunshine to your life can boost your mood and reduce depression

Vitamin D can also be found in a few natural foods. They are fatty fish, egg yolk, cheese, fortified milk, fortified yogurt, etc.

Sunlight is extremely important for most life forms to survive. And it is very important for humans as well. However, increasing levels of pollution and the depletion of the ozone layer has led to the penetration of the harmful sun rays into the earth. But we must remember that the rays of the sun are still a necessity for all of us. Hence, it is advisable to soak in the tender morning rays of the sun for about 15-30 minutes so that we can remain healthy and active. 


 

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