With the beautiful weather of spring here and summer closing in, people are spending more and more time outdoors and the power and benefits of the sun are essential. A lack of sunshine can affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Many centenarians understand the power of the sun. They rise at dawn, and sundown is their bedtimes. Sunlight, as we know, can either be helpful or destructive to our health, depending on the level of exposure.
The ultraviolet rays of the sun are a natural sterilizer, killing bacteria and fungus on the skin as well as promoting the production of vitamin D. It can also stimulate your immune system, raising the levels of natural killer cell activity.
However, too much sun can cause skin cancer, heat stroke, dehydration and suppressed immune function. Here’s why you need to let the sun in and enjoy it!
The Sun’s Effect On Your Mood
Sunshine increases the hormone serotonin, which is connected with feelings of happiness and wakefulness. It also regulates the chemical melatonin, which is associated with sleep.
That could account for why we may feel like sleeping more in the winter and not feel as elated and energized as we do at the height of summer.
The Wonder Of Vitamin D
As more research is done, it’s becoming apparent that vitamin D is something of a wonder vitamin. It’s not only necessary to make calcium work in our bones, it’s been linked to a host of health benefits such as stimulating the immune system, lowering rates of cancer, bone fractures, diabetes, heart disease, even anxiety and depression.
And the most attainable, absorbable source of vitamin D is the ultraviolet rays of the sun. It only takes 15 minutes of sunlight exposure to get a full day’s supply, yet according to recent studies, 75 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient.
Let The Sun Shine
Instead of hiding under a quilt, get outside. Embrace the weather. Try to take a walk every day, even a short one when the sun is highest in the sky.
It not only makes you appreciate the contrast of seasons, it elevates your mood and lets you soak up that beneficial vitamin D.
Of course, if you happen to live in the southern climes your concern could be getting too much sun. In that case, maximize the benefit from the sun by limiting direct exposure to thirty minute or less, when the sun is at its peak.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at email@example.com. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit www.taoofwellness.com.