Health

 

Janice Stanger, PhD

Janice Stanger, PhD

Posted July 20, 2016

Published in Health

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Are You Getting Enough Sun?

Read More: sun, sunburn, sunscreen, vitamin D

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Four Health Benefits of Sun, and Why Sunscreen Can Be Dangerous

Life on earth evolved with the sun. Humans are adapted to live and thrive with sunshine - otherwise, people would have long since vanished from the planet. Once you understand the benefits and risks of exposure to sun, you can make informed decisions. How much sun should you get, and when and how can you shield yourself from its powerful rays sun through trees small Mcdonald forest.jpgonce you have gotten an optimal amount?

Language lets you know, in an intuitive way, that modern medical and chemical industries exaggerate the dangers of sunshine's ultraviolet rays and minimize surprising benefits. The word "gloomy," which matches a day without sun, implies unhappiness, a somber and even threatening outlook, and hopelessness. "Sunny," on the other hand, matches a bright and cheerful day with a promise of comfort and a better future to come.

Published research reinforces the meanings of "gloomy" vs. "sunny." A 2016 study in Journal of Internal Medicine followed 29,518 Swedish women for twenty years. The researchers found that women who spent time in sunshine lived longer. Their article concluded that: "avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking."

Four Health Benefits of Being in the Sun

Vitamin D is a hormone produced by your body when sunlight of sufficient intensity contacts bare skin. Vitamin D pills can't totally replace sunshine, any more than vitamin supplements can replace healthy foods. Articles on the health benefits of sun usually focus on vitamin D . Here are four additional benefits -over and above vitamin D production - of sun exposure:

ONE. Release of nitric oxide from skin: Nitric oxide (NO) is a substance that makes your arteries open wider, thus lowering blood pressure. This lower pressure in turn reduces your risk for cardiovascular disease.

The release of skin NO in response to sunlight may be why, in areas distant from the equator, there is an increased risk of coronary heart disease, blood clots in veins and arteries, and stroke in the winter. This is when the sun is at its weakest in those locations.

Click here to learn the three more benefits of sunshine and some dangers of sunscreen

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