Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Benefits of Sun Exposure

After my last post when I briefly touched upon the issue of sun exposure,  I decided that I would have to elaborate on the importance of moderate sun exposure.  I think that there are a lot of misconceptions about being in the sun.  The media has done a number on this topic, making everyone run for cover, having us live like bats and smearing chemical laden, cancer causing products on our skin for the sake of avoiding skin cancer. Imagine the irony of that!  (I'll share more on chemicals in body care products and cosmetics in a future post.)

We were designed to be in the sun!  We need it to be healthy, to fight cancer, to sleep better and to be happier.  There are many other functions of the body that work better when we spend time in the sun.  Today, by listening to all the talking heads, people have become vitamin D deficient, creating a host of different problems.

Here are some of the benefits of moderate sun exposure:

Sun exposure helps improve digestion, it boosts the immune system and helps the body to prevent several different types of cancers.  It also improves blood circulation and it helps in eliminating depression.  It enhances  sleep.  This is a big one for me!  (I have finally recognized that I am most prone to insomnia when I don't get enough sun exposure.)  It helps to balance hormones.  It is crucial for strong healthy bones.  This isn't a complete list of benefits!  There are most certainly more!

Here are some of the problems from too little sun exposure:  Depression is exacerbated.  It is also a contributing factor to Alzheimer's disease, allergies, autoimmune disorders, diabetes (both  type 1 and type 2).  It also is a contibuting factor to osteoporosis, heart disease and several types of cancer. The list goes on and on.

What time of day and how much sun should we get?
The best time to expose yourself to the sun is in the morning or afternoon. How much time exposure in the sun depends entirely on the pigmentation of your skin.  If you are fair, you will need less time.  If your skin color is darker, you will need more time in the sun.  I have olive tone skin, and I strive to have at least ten  to fifteen minutes in the sun each day when I walk my dog. I don't wear sunscreen when I spend time in the sun in the morning or afternoon.  If I have to spend all day in the sun, I look for sunscreen products with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.  (I have neglected  on occasion to put on sunscreen for a full day of sun exposure  and I haven't burned since I increased my consumption of raw foods.)    As I mentioned before, I really like Dr. Mercola's sunscreen that doesn't have harmful ingredients.

So why is there such hysteria about skin cancer?
If you are on the standard American diet and you burn a lot, you better believe you are at risk for getting skin cancer.  This diet is high in animal protein and processed foods.  However, if you tip the scale in the other direction and have skin that is saturated with antioxidants that come from fruits, vegetables and superfoods, your skin will become resistant to sun damage and will ward off skin cancer.  You will also become resistant to many other kinds of cancer because of the vitamin D.  Take time to listen to Mike Adams in this clip he did on sun exposure.  It is so excellent!  He even discusses information that is very new to me about tanning beds.  According to Mike Adams, if you have a good, clean, nutrient rich diet, brief to moderate use of tanning beds can help you get vitamin D in the winter months.  This makes perfect sense to me.  However, it seems that tanning beds have become the focus of recent media attention as seen in this article.  Many dermatologists now support the FDA banning them.  In light of that, consider that meat consumption is closely linked to cancer as seen in The China Study. I wonder if these same doctors would support a ban on meat?  Fat chance! It is obvious that I am not a fan of using traditional medicine to treat disease. I do my best to avoid using drugs (chemicals) for healing. Of course, I am thankful for the wonderful benefits of modern medicine in dealing with life threatening situations from trauma and acute conditions. However, I will always turn to natural methods for prevention of disease and healing of chronic conditions.  As for the possibility of the FDA outlawing tanning beds, I find it very interesting that this is the same government organization that approved brain cell killing excitotoxins like aspartame (artificial sweetener found in diet sodas) and turns a blind eye to the development and proliferation of GMO's.  (It seems that GMO manufacturers are now considering including human genes in rice!)  The things that make you go hmmm...

As the weather is warming up, and the days are getting sunnier, be sure to get outside and enjoy one of the healthiest things you can do for your body - getting some sun!  Now go out and get your Vitamin D!

Enjoy the Jouney!