15 Health Benefits of Sunshine from 15 Health Benefits of Sunshine

15 Health Benefits of Sunshine

Just for a moment, forget what you have heard about sunshine, skin cancer and harmful ultra-violet radiation. Spring has arrived and before we know it summer will be here. That means hotter and sunnier days are on their way.

When natural sunlight hits the skin it triggers the body’s production of vitamin D. Vitamin D is also known as “the sunshine vitamin.” It is a crucial ingredient for overall health; protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps muscles, improves brain function and may even protect against cancer.

Low levels of vitamin D can cause heart disease, prostate cancer and dementia.

Your body is meant to be in the sun, and exposure to sunlight during the day is crucial to your wellbeing (Sunlight May Improve Heart Health). It is advised to get at least 10-15 minutes of sunlight daily.

Exposure to sunlight has a huge impact on depression, seasonal affective disorder and sleep quality. According to Forbes, “in 2012, 60 million Americans filled prescriptions for sleeping pills, up from 46 million in 2006 (as reported in The New York Times).”

Adding a little sunshine to your life can even promote weight loss (The Health Benefits of Weight Loss)! The warmer months allows for fun outdoor activities. Go on a hike (The 10 Best Spring Hikes in the U.S.), take up a new sport, go for a run, bike around your neighborhood or even plan a camping trip. You will be surprised to see what spending a little time outdoors can do for your health.

Reduce Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

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Unfortunately diabetes has been increasing among individuals over the years (Preventing Type 2 Diabetes: 6 Healthy Habits You Need to Follow). According to Larkin Hospital, vitamin D plays a huge roll in the production of insulin and studies have shown a positive association between insulin resistance and vitamin D deficiency. They explain, “many studies supplementing vitamin D to subjects at risk of diabetes have shown significant improvements in fasting glucose levels, insulin production, insulin resistance, and A1c control (a marker of long term blood glucose levels).”

Boost Immunity

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It has been proven that sunshine stimulates your immune systems’ vitamin D and T cells which results in boosted immunity (Ways to Boost Your Immune System Against Cold and Flu). Researchers say, “we rely on solar energy to enable our bodies to stave off infections and fight disease.”

Prevents Vitamin D Deficiency

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Vitamin D is also known as “the sunshine vitamin.” According to research, “vitamin D insufficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. An estimated 1 billion people worldwide, across all ethnicities and age groups, have a vitamin D deficiency (VDD).” Therefore, exposure to sunlight nourishes the body with vitamin D.

Reduces Cancer Risk

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Research has shown that “stripping off in the spring sunshine might be even better for men, as a second vitamin D study suggests it decreases their risk of developing kidney cancer.” Dr. Mercola explains from a scientific point of view, vitamin D reduces the risk of many forms of cancer and increases survival rates once cancer reaches a detectable stage.

Lower Blood Pressure

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High blood pressure is extremely dangerous, it’s important to educate yourself on ways to lower your blood pressure. One of which include, exposure to sunlight. Research has shown that nitric oxide stored at the top layer of the skin reacts to sunlight which causes blood vessels to widen as the oxide moves into the blood stream. This results in lower blood pressure.

Improves Your Mood

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Having a bad day? Step outside! Sunlight increases levels of serotonin which help promote feelings of happiness (25 Science-Backed Ways to Feel Happier). It is advised to catch sunlight for 10-15 minutes a day.

Improves Sleep

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Research suggests that morning sunlight exposure is linked to better sleep and health. Getting less morning light could make it more difficult for you to fall asleep and wake up at your preferred times (20 Secrets You Need to Know for Your Best Night’s Sleep).

Weight Loss

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According to Livestrong.com, lack of sunlight can result in depression which can affect your appetite. They also explain, hunger is controlled by a part of your brain called the hypothalamus (it works with serotonin and helps relieve hunger). Lack of sunlight causes a drop in serotonin levels, which can result in the feeling of fullness not being achieved. Therefore, exposure to sunlight will help you control your appetite. Bonus: Sunlight also increases your activity level. As the weather gets warmer there are more outdoor activities to participate in.

Alzheimer’s Symptoms

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Research has shown that Alzheimer’s patients exposed to bright light encountered fewer symptoms of depression, agitation and nighttime wakefulness. (7 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease)

Better Bone Health

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As we know, vitamin D nourishes our body. But what many of us don’t know it that vitamin D actually helps our body better absorb calcium. This results in strong, healthy bones.

Heals Skin Disorders

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Dr. Mercola explains that sunshine may actually be able to fight skin diseases by attracting immune cells to the skin surface. UV radiation exposure has been proven to treat eczema, acne and psoriasis. (Secret Ways to Fight the Signs of Aging)

Promotes Eye Health

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Contrary to what many people believe, sunlight is not the enemy to our eyes.  Vitamin D has been linked to improved vision (15 Foods That Improve Your Vision) and eye aging. According to research, “the effect that the rays of the sun have not only a beneficial, but a curative effect upon the eyes.”

Can Cure Depression

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Exposure to sunlight has been linked to increased levels of a natural antidepressant in the brain. The brain produces more serotonin on sunny days than darker days. Therefore, individuals experiencing depression may feel less symptoms if they spend time in the sun.

Improves Brain Function

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Sunlight directly affects the brains pineal gland. It’s the gland that produces melatonin; a powerful antioxidant that is important for sleep quality and helps prevent depression. So get outside so you can get a good night’s sleep; it's important for proper brain function.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Seasonal Affective Disorder is believed to be linked to lack of sunlight. It is a form of depression that is roused by changing seasons. According to Healthline, “without enough sunlight exposure, a person’s serotonin levels can dip low. Low levels of serotonin are associated with a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).”