Geographic location, time of day, cloud cover, smog and sunscreen can all affect the amount of sun exposure our bodies receive. Too much sun can cause damage to the skin and increase the risk of skin cancer, but a moderate amount of sun exposure is essential for our body’s health.
It is helpful to know that despite the possibility of developing skin cancer, the sun is actually healthy for our survival. Ultra-violet rays enable the skin to produce vitamin D and increase endorphins which are both important and necessary for good health, heightened appearance and positive moods.
Vitamin D, which is vital for many reasons, is naturally produced by the body when skin is exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight converts to vitamin D when it comes into contact with the skin and it is believed to help protect against the development of osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and numerous types of cancer.
Similarly, moderate sun exposure allows for a healthy, sun-kissed appearance when accompanied by the protection of sunscreen. It is always important to wear sunscreen because it is never healthy to allow skin to get burnt. Our skin serves as a protective layer for our body and it is crucial for us to nourish and maintain it.
Endorphins, or feel-good hormones, are also naturally produced by the body when exposed to sun. The chemicals that are generated stimulate a boost in mood levels and have been known to reduce feelings of pain. Endorphins can also increase the functioning of one’s immune system and make the body more resistant to disease.
The weather in Boston can make it a bit tough to get quality sun exposure, so be sure to include a good source of vitamin D in your diet when possible. Excellent sources of vitamin D include eggs, many types of fish (i.e. salmon, catfish, mackerel, and tuna), beef liver, and mushrooms. In addition, regular exercise and the proper amount of sleep can also help increase endorphin production and help to maintain our health, appearance and mood.