Finally, warm, fun-filled beautiful summer days are here and ready to be enjoyed! Are you ready? Are you sure? Be ready to have what you think you know flipped upside down. Here goes…
- Sunshine is not bad, in fact it is ESSENTIAL for life, REGENERATION and so many bodily functions
- Sunshine is crucial for regulating your circadian rhythm (sleep/ wake cycle)
- Indoor light is toxic
- Sunshine does not CAUSE cancer
- Most Sunscreens contain toxic chemicals that can contribute to cancer
You know that feeling when you get into the sun and your body relaxes, you feel happy and time just slows down? That’s our bodies telling us that SUNSHINE IS ESSENTIAL FOR US. It is now pretty common knowledge that through bare skin sun exposure of ultraviolet B rays (UVB) we are able to synthesize Vitamin D, which is more like a precursor to your hormones than a vitamin because it does so many things in our bodies. It is essential for bone, lung and cardiovascular function, regulating insulin (that’s right diabetics, sunshine!), it supports the health of your immune, brain and nervous systems and even influences the expression of genes involved in cancer development!
Less known about sunshine are the benefits of the natural wave lengths present in sunlight. Did you know we can only see about 0.005% of the existing light spectrum? Crazy right? Wavelengths of light signal different things to our bodies. Blue light is stressful to our bodies and is a stimulus to be more alert and respond to threats in our environment. The sun has more blue light in the early morning to get us started for the day. Electronics are much higher in blue light, if not exclusively blue. Ever wonder why checking your phone right before bed can make you feel alert? Or watching TV? Red light, on the other hand signals our bodies to calm down, relax, heal, repair, and has been documented to successfully treat various eye, hormone, joint and even brain disorders.
It is crucial that we get exposure to full spectrum light. Since sunshine is 42% red spectrum light, it is the perfect mix we are biologically designed to experience and NEED TO THRIVE!
In contrast, indoor light is much higher in blue light (yes, even those soft yellow LED bulbs). This un-natural light spectrum disrupts our circadian rhythm, the functioning of our mitochondria (think energy powerhouses of our cells that are ESSENTIAL for health), and destroys melatonin. Indoor light is the new smoking. It has so many negative health consequences that we are only only starting to realize. Think about it. How much time do you spend outside vs indoors with artificial light? How much of your day is spent in an office with primarily blue light signaling to your body to be stressed, blocking repair and regeneration, amongst other things?
Back to sunshine. If you were to pole your friends, how many would say, “yes, sunshine causes cancer”? The vast majority, right? In reality, sunshine is essential for life and blocking it with sunscreen when you’re outside is fuel to the fire of sunshine deficiency. Sunscreen with SPF 30 decreases your body’s ability to synthesize vitamin D by 95%! Furthermore, most sunscreens contain endocrine disrupting chemicals (substances that alter our hormones) as well as toxins that CONTRIBUTE TO CANCER! Yes, you got that right. Most people are slathering on toxic sunscreens that blocks sunshine putting them more at risk from what they’re trying to avoid. From now on, you can educate your friends on how to ACTUALLY stay healthy.
We need full body sun exposure, in rather small doses. Only 20-30 minutes is needed to synthesize enough vitamin D. If you are fair skinned you will need to gradually build up your skin’s tolerance because it is getting sun burned that is harmful. As mentioned above, UVB sun rays allow you to synthesize vitamin D but UVA rays can produce reactive oxygen species that can damage tissues. UVA also generates nitric oxide in your skin, which can protect your blood vessel and lower blood pressure. Near-infrared and red light actually transfer energy to your cells. In short, the full blend of light wavelengths in sunlight enables your body to react in a balanced and beneficial way. Your diet and lifestyle become what are crucial to PROTECTING you from the harmful parts of sunshine, the UVA. The more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables you eat, the more healthy and mineral-rich water you drink and the less stress you experience the less damage you actually sustain from UVA rays. Why? Because our bodies are designed to protect us from damage and threats and to keep our bodies well adapted to the natural world.
What is a recipe for disaster? Long, infrequent stints in the sun without a healthy diet and lifestyle = recipe for disaster.
What is ideal? Building up your sun exposure over time so you can get the benefits of sun exposure without the risks!
When you need to be in the sun for hours on end, cover up with clothing and hats or TOXIC-FREE sunscreens (think no parabens, oxybenzone, octinoxate, homosalate, PABA, etc.)
Key point: optimize your health by spending more time in the sun!