A 20 year long study of nearly 30,000 women in Sweden showed that those who spent more time in the sun lived longer than those who reported less sun exposure. Those with the greatest sun exposure received an extra 7 months to 2 years of life.
Because the sun?s UV light triggers chemical reactions in the skin that lead to the production of vitamin D, it?s possible that vitamin D is responsible for the health benefits of sun exposure described in this study. And that could mean vitamin D supplements would promote longer life, even without sun exposure. However, that?s only speculation and prior studies have not been able to prove this.
The authors of this study speculate that recommendations to limit sun exposure might actually do more harm than good. As long as you avoid getting burned, they suggest that avoiding the sun could have a negative health impact similar in magnitude to smoking. That?s quite a statement!
While it is very important to avoid sunburn there are problems with some sunscreens that contain chemicals that are toxic or that become oxidized by the sun so they may do more harm than good. Wearing sunscreen hasn?t reduced skin cancer cases. In fact, melanoma rates have tripled since the 1970s.
The sun is our primary source of vitamin D, an important vitamin that strengthens our bone health, helps balance our hormones, boosts our immune system and nourishes brain function. But when we apply sunscreen, we block the sun?s rays and subsequently, the production of vitamin D in our bodies.
With these simple tips, you can protect yourself from toxic sunscreen chemicals and reap the sun?s benefits at the same time!
1. Get your sunshine during off-peak hours.
The sun can cause the most damage when it?s high in the sky: anywhere from 10am to 4pm., but that may differ slightly depending on where you live.
Stick to the sunshine early in the morning or later in the day, with one little caveat: spend 10-15 minutes in the sun during peak hours to get your daily dose of vitamin D. This is all the time you need to grab your essential amount of vitamin D.
2. Don’t wash off the vitamin D.
Vitamin D is formed on the surface of your skin when it’s exposed to UVB rays from the sun, but that vitamin D doesn’t sink in right away ? it can take up to 48 hours to absorb the majority of it. But at the end of a sunny day, most of us are in the shower scrubbing off the sunscreen, sweat and sand … and sending all that lovely vitamin D down the drain.
Try to rinse your body in the shower with just water if you can. Limit your soap usage to just your pits and your bits.
3. Eat your sunscreen.
UV radiation increases free radicals in our bodies. Boost your consumption of antioxidant-rich foods like berries, leafy greens, black beans, bell peppers, carrots, green tea, raw cacao, garlic and salmon.
There?s a reason nature offers us such a beautiful bounty of foods like berries in the summertime. Sure, they’re delicious, but they’ll also help us boost our consumption of important free radical-fighters.
4. Avoid sunburns and cover up.
Wearing sunscreen lulls us into a false sense of protection. Some people believe they can frolic through the surf for hours and be 100% shielded from the sun. This is how sunburns happen!
No one wants to end up looking like a leather handbag. Don?t spend too much time in the sun all at once, and wear lightweight clothing that’ll allow you to cover your skin and still beat the heat.
5. Buy sun block that is made from natural ingredients, oil free and based on titanium oxide and/or zinc oxide.
By using these sun protection strategies, you can get the essential sun nutrients that will ultimately benefit your health and well-being.
Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death J Intern Med. 2016 Mar 16. doi: 10.1111/joim.12496; Lindqvist PG1, Epstein E2, Nielsen K3, Landin-Olsson M4, Ingvar C5, Olsson H6.