Embracing the Light: How the Sun is Good for You

Posted by Land Legacy on Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 at 4:00am.

Did you know sunshine fights disease and promotes spectacular health? It's time to embrace the light!

Some of the best perks of rural living are the endless opportunities to spend more time outdoors. Whether you enjoy mountain biking with the kids, taking long walks through the countryside, or gardening on your new plot, you can bet sooner or later you’ll be sporting an ultra-stylish farmer’s tan.

Let’s look at 7 ways sunshine fights disease and promotes spectacular health for the whole family:

1. SUNLIGHT MAY FIGHT AND HELP PREVENT CERTAIN TYPES OF CANCERS.

Tough too much sun can cause skin cancer, too little creates vitamin D deficiency that leads to a slew of more virulent types of cancer.

New research, explains how vitamin D obtained from sun exposure attacks and helps prevent an array of deadly cancers including prostate, colon, lung, breast and even (ironically) some types of skin cancer.

2. SUNSHINE PROTECTS AGAINST CHILDHOOD ASTHMA

We’ve talked before about how aspects of rural living, such as drinking raw milk, exposure to animals and access to cleaner air and nature help prevent many common childhood illnesses.

But would you believe the sun can actually help protect against asthma?

It’s true. According to this study published in ScienceDaily, children who live in cloudier, wetter cities have a greater incidence of respiratory illness than those who have consistent access to ample sunshine and its immune-protective Vitamin D. The sun also helps reduce inflammation, a big factor in those with asthma.

3. BUILDS STRONGER BONES

If you look at your calcium supplement (or milk container) you’ll notice it contains Vitamin D. Why? Vitamin D is essential to the proper metabolism and absorption of calcium.

4. HELPS YOU FALL SLEEP EASIER.

We’ve talked about how time spent in nature helps combat depression, anxiety and stress before, but according to this article from the National Institutes of Health, getting enough sunshine can actually help re-set your circadian rhythm.

The key lies in getting enough unfiltered bright morning sunlight, which enhances melatonin production (your master sleep hormone), resets your internal clock and helps you fall asleep faster and easier at night.

I think I’ll take my morning coffee outside from now on.

5. KNOCKS OUT ANNOYING SKIN PROBLEMS, LIKE PSORIASIS.

Have you ever struggled with creams and prescriptions for skin-related issues, like eczema or psoriasis, only to find it improved when you went on a beach vacation?

Though less stress may have played a role, it’s more likely you have the sun to thank.

The sun’s rays have natural antimicrobial properties that help naturally clear up common skin issues.

6. BOOSTS IMMUNITY

Move over Vitamin C! According to new research, the sun may be your best defense against unwanted viruses and pathogens.

Sunshine helps your immunity through two biological functions:

1. Its natural vitamin D helps modulate the immune system and stimulates the body’s natural antimicrobial response (which is why sunlight and cod liver oil were used as part of tuberculosis treatment pre-antibiotics).

2. Exposure to sunlight also triggers your skin’s production of nitric oxide (not to be confused with nitrous oxide, a.k.a. laughing gas), which plays a key role in modulating your immune system AND regulating blood pressure.

7. REDUCES YOUR RISK OF DIABETES

It sounds crazy, but according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Vitamin D deficiency has been proven to put people at higher risk for developing diabetes than obesity…wow!

How is this possible? Because Vitamin D plays a critical role in regulating glucose. Therefore, insufficient Vitamin D can lead to glucose metabolism disorders, like diabetes.

Exercise outdoors and you get double the benefit.

These are just 7 of the seemingly endless health benefits of learning to embrace, and not fear, the sun.

And though much of the research focuses on the vitamin-D factor, many experts believe there is a whole lot more to the sun’s healing power than just its most popular vitamin.

Think about it: When we bask in the sun, we are usually engaging in low-stress, pleasurable, health-promoting activities. Yard work, beach vacations, exercise, sunbathing, farm chores, getting a breath of fresh air, taking a bike ride, or just enjoying the sunrise or sunset with a loved one.

When we look at it this way, the “enjoyment” and “happiness” factors of taking sun may have even more to do with its health benefits than science will ever be able to measure.

As it turns out, a tan (even a farmer’s tan) can be a healthy one.

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