Sunlight strengthens our immune system, boosts mood and powers every cell, tissue and organ within our bodies.

Sunlight is essential for our health and optimal well-being.

But how can we optimize the sun’s benefits?

Most of us work fulltime jobs, have a family to care for, laundry to do and dishes to clean. We can’t afford to spend all day sprawled out at the beach.

Turns out, we don’t have to.

All we need is a little bit of sun exposure to reap the sun’s benefits.


In his book, “Heal Yourself with Sunlight,” Andreas Moritz states:



Adequate amounts of vitamin D3 can be made in the skin after only 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure at least 2 times per week.



So even if you only manage to get a little bit of sun on the weekends, you will still be doing your body and mind a splendid favor! Only 10-15 minutes of exposure can make a significant impact on the way you feel – improving your sleep, increasing your energy and triggering the release of feel-good hormones like serotonin.


How To Enhance Vitamin D Production

Sun exposure allows our body to make vitamin D. Vitamin D plays many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health. However, certain factors, such as sunscreen and being in highly polluted areas, can adversely affect your body’s ability to absorb sufficient amounts of vitamin D.  

To enhance vitamin D production, consider exposing yourself to the sun for brief amounts of time (10-20 minutes max. per day depending on your skin color) without sunscreen and sunbathing in natural environments. Even a city park will be better than a street curbside.  

Furthermore, when using sunscreen, opt for a non-toxic product. Try to avoid sunscreens with the following ingredients:

· Benxophenone-3, also known as Oxybenzone
Classified as a hazardous irritant for eye contact and slightly hazardous for direct skin contact. Some evidence also suggests damaging endocrine effects1

· Avobenzone
This chemical degrades when it is exposed to the sun which results in harmful free radicals being released into the body2. Free radicals can cause accelerated aging and inflammation.

· Cycopentasiloxane/Cyclomethicone
Suspected reproductive and endocrine disruptors3.

But wait a minute…I thought the sun was dangerous?

We’ve been taught to fear the sun. Sunlight has become almost synonymous with skin cancer, but we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater just yet. This report acknowledges that a growing number of scientists are concerned that efforts to protect the public from excessive sun exposure, may be overshadowing recent research demonstrating the incredible health benefits of sunlight. Some argue that the health benefits far outweigh the risks.



Proactive steps you can take to minimize the risks of sunlight:

· Seeking shade or shelter when you feel yourself getting too hot

· Wearing light protective clothing and sun hats

· Avoiding exposure between 10am-2pm when the rays are most powerful

· Increasing your intake of dietary antioxidants (ie: fruit, berries, apples, dark leafy greens) and limiting dietary fat and caloric intake. This will help counteract the sun’s oxidizing UV rays and provide extra protection by strengthening your body from within.

Takeaway:

While overexposure to sunlight can damage the skin, moderate exposure to sunshine is a necessity if we want to be truly healthy. We can take proactive steps to mitigate the risks, while simultaneously reaping the rewards sunshine has to offer.


References:
1. https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredients/704372-oxybenzone/
2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1011134415002638
3.https://ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/consumer_safety/docs/sccs_o_174.pdf

Written by Alex Marynczak from Envol team