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By now your wool sweaters have been tucked away waiting till next winter. In many places, it’s already started to heat up, and the sun is shining most days. This year the good weather has come at a particularly special moment: the start of the de-escalation phases from lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. We can finally step out into the street with a little more freedom. Of course, while still complying with the security measures in place.
We’ve been spending much more time at home, and because of that most of us have lower Vitamin D levels compared to the same time last year. Experts agree that spending long periods of time at home or in a hospital causes Vitamin D deficiencies, but don’t worry because like always, there’s a solution. Just 10 minutes of sunlight exposure a day is enough to fix this. Firstly, we must remember that one of the main sources of energy for our bodies is the sun. Moderate sun exposure provides us with an abundance of benefits, though we must always protect our skin from the radiation produced by the sun, especially in the middle of the day.
Direct Advantages of SunLight
- A shot of happiness. The sun increases serotonin levels, which is the hormone responsible for making us feel a little happier since it helps stabilize our mood and balance our emotions. Not only that, but it helps with good digestion which is great for people who usually have difficulties in this area or problems with acid reflux. Serotonin also regulates body temperature and helps us fall asleep better.
- Enviable Skin. Too much sun isn’t good for our skin, however moderate exposure with the help of good protection helps with many skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. In fact, people who suffer from these conditions are often encouraged to go to the beach in the summer thanks to the great effect that seawater and the sun have on their skin. It also improves the yellowish tone that is caused by jaundice. Most importantly, we need to remember to protect ourselves with sunscreen when being exposed to the sun.
- An Immune System of Iron One of the most important things that we always talk about is our immune system functioning properly. In simple words: it’s like the engine of a car; if our defenses fail, everything fails. That’s why it’s important to take care of the health of our immune system, not only with our diet but by making sure to catch some sun’s rays, which increases the level of those white blood cells that are key to keeping our immune systems responding correctly.
- Bones & Teeth of Steel. What Vitamin comes to mind when talking about the sun? Vitamin D! Moderate exposure to the sun generates Vitamin D within our bodies. It helps us absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are responsible for strengthening our bones and teeth.
- In short sunshine is happiness. Obviously, it’s not just the exposure to the sun that makes you feel good, rather it’s being in the fresh air. Finally able to de-stress, relax, organize your day, and just spend your time better and enjoy it. Thinking about the sun makes us daydream about being on vacation, at the beach, having plans, going out…..and that makes us happy. So let’s take advantage of this freedom that we finally have to make the most of everything that makes us happy and puts us in a good mood.
Have You Ever Wondered How Melanin Works?
For sure, we’ve all talked about Melanin at some point. We usually associate it with tanning but not everyone knows exactly what it is from a scientific perspective. Melanin is a term for a group of natural pigments that determine our skin and hair color. Your skin and hair are darker or lighter depending on the amount of Melanin in the body. Sun rays stimulate the production of Melanin in our bodies.
People with lighter skin are not able to produce melanin in the same way as someone with darker skin since they do not absorb ultraviolet radiation as efficiently. The good news is that food can be a good resort when trying to help your skin get some color thanks to Vitamin A. Carrots and Tomatoes are classic examples of this. But, there’s also pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, broccoli, Swiss chard (dark green vegetables), mango, peach, nectarine, papaya…since they all contain beta-carotenes which is a red-orange pigmented antioxidant that converts to vitamin A and gives our skin a different tone.
If you liked this article about the benefits of the sun, we’ve listed below some recipes that are rich in vitamin D and beta-carotenes, to go with your 10 minutes of sun a-day challenge:
Gluten-Free Carrot Pancakes
Spinach Quiche with a Carrot Base
Strawberry and Tomato Gazpacho
Crispy Salmon with Almond Sauce
Crunchy Granola Tomato and Avocado Salad
Asian Chicken, Egg and Cabbage Soup
Parsnips Puree with Sauteed Mushrooms