Sunlight….friend or foe?
FRIEND!!! ( : I have to admit this is a favorite topic of mine because I find it so interesting and informative. Of course, in the end, we all get to decide what is best for us and our families, but I love presenting the facts so we can all decide knowing exactly what we need to know.
Vitamin D is getting a lot of focus these days in the news and it’s a real hot topic in the medical community. What is Vitamin D? It was originally discovered in 1918 as a vital nutrient in preventing rickets. Nowadays, it is best known for helping our bodies absorb calcium aiding in keeping our bones strong. In recent years, rickets has been making a comeback due to the low levels of Vitamin D. Most people tested for this vital hormone are LOW, and not just a little low, but “at risk” levels of low.
What are the benefits of Vitamin D?
– preventing osteoporosis
– preventing multiple sclerosis
– preventing heart disease
– preventing a multitude of cancers (yes!)
– preventing depression
– preventing rheumatoid arthritis
– preventing influenza
– supporting prostate health
– supporting fertility
– preventing high blood pressure
– preventing diabetes
– preventing seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
– preventing migraines
Just to name a few things!
Vitamin D is actually a HORMONE and is not a vitamin. It is produced from exposure to sunlight and also in a lesser form when eating some fortified food resources. If you are unable to get healthy doses of sunshine, then you can still eat fortified foods such as fish, egg yolks and certain mushrooms (or take a daily supplement, which is recommended). The optimal source though is from direct exposure to the sun. Recommended amounts of time in the sun vary by your latitude, altitude, cloud cover, your skin tone, etc., but generally 15-30 minutes a day with at least 30% of your skin surface exposed. It’s best to alternate the areas of the body exposed as well.
So, all experts agree the sun is our friend in small safe doses. ( :
Sunscreen….friend or foe?
Friend and foe. Hmm….this is sometimes a hot topic of debate (speaking from personal experience). I have kids who tan fairly well and I encourage them in early spring to get OUTSIDE and get some gentle sun everyday when they can to build up a natural protection from sun burning and also to gain all the benefits of healthy sun exposure daily….and yep, with NO sunscreen on. (gulp, I said it) By summer, they are a nice healthy brown and fully protected, short of being out on a lake for hours on end, especially between 11-2 (again NO sunscreen).
I have friends who just can’t handle this concept, and I respectfully explain what I know, but sometimes it falls on deaf ears. I understand the scare with sunburns, which I avoid like the plague, and the fear of hereditary skin cancer, but you can’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Limited exposure to sunshine is essential for our health.
Even the natural sunscreens (without the unhealthy chemicals, a whole separate topic…) with an SPF of 8 blocks your ability to synthesize Vitamin D by 92.5%. Increasing it to an SPF of 15 blocks almost all sunshine.
Be smart, but focus on getting your healthy levels of Vitamin D. Let your kids and family get healthy sunshine. It will give them amazing health for a lifetime! ( :
I have to admit I LOVE the sunshine.