The need for sunshine for your health and healing,
written by Meriel Davis, one of our chiropractors at Back 2 Balance chiropractic clinic in Hove.
It has to be said this winter has been long. Very long. People are fed up with the cold, the wind the rain and ofcourse the snow. But In my opinion what people are mostly miffed about was the distinct lack of sunshine. Sunlight is one of THE most important things humans incorporate into their life. The benefits are endless. We may curse the cold but we NEED the sunlight.
Most people by the beginning of spring, especially this spring are a little sunlight deprived. It affects their mood, their sense of well being and their hormonal balance. The darker your skin tone, the more sunlight you will need as skin colour is directly related to the amount of vitamin D your body is able to manufacture itself. So the paler the person the less sunlight is needed to reach optimum vitamin D levels and 15 minutes a day of direct exposure is sufficient. However darker skin tones are likely to need up to an hour every day to reach the same levels. This is down the the evolutionary affect of coming from different parts of the globe with different levels of sun exposure.
Research shows that sunlight has protective affects against many types of cancers. Most notably….skin cancer. Yep skin cancer. Sunlight activates cells in the skin to stimulate immune cells to do their duty of fighting infections and take care of damaged cells. Therefor vitamin D via sunlight prevents cancer cells from dividing as well as advancing the death the of cancer cells themselves. Therefore a nice healthy suntan (a light overall tan colour) does signify health. However it is sunburning which has been linked to skin cancer. So when the sun does actually decide to shine remember to take frequent breaks from it if you think you’ll be outside all day.
Sunlight has also been shown to be excellent for
-Bone health – namely preventing osteoporosis. So if you have brittle bones or have a family history of them then get outside. Especially on the colder days where you’re likely to need a vitamin D top up.
-Mood. Sunlight stimulates the manufacture of serotonin in the brain. The feel good chemical. This chemical has been shown to be low in those with depression or seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Humans have evolved over thousands of years around sunlight however now a days everyone spends the majority of their time indoors. So make a conscious effort this spring to get outside. Walk the dogs, stroll along the beach, meet a friend for a coffee and sit outside. Your body will love you for it.