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In some way, this way this week’s blog may be considered an extension of our previous week’s article which highlighted the importance for vitamin D in our lives.

During the recent few decades, it has been ingrained in our psyche that exposure to sunlight is bad for our health due to the UV rays. It is but partially correct. Actually a lot depends on at what time of the day we expose ourselves to sunlight. It is generally accepted that the early morning rays of the Sun is indeed beneficial for our health.

In this connection, we shall share with you the five benefits of sunlight.

Sunlight can improve mood

There is little doubt that a bit of sunshine can make a world of difference in our mood. When it is dreary and dark, we can feel depressed and lethargic; when it is a beautiful sunlit day, we are happier and more energetic. This mood change is not only in our imagination. When light enters the eye, it stimulates neurons in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that influences mood. These nerve impulses travel to the pineal gland, which regulates serotonin, the so-called feel-good hormone that is linked to mood.

Sunshine may prevent us from eating too much

The same part of the brain responsible for mood is also responsible for appetite. A recent study published in the journal Personality and Individual Differences showed that eating in a dimly lit or dark environment may trigger us to eat more. “Darkness provides a high-risk environment for binge-eating for certain people,” says study author Joseph Kasof, who adds that those people who eat in a darkened room may find they lose their inhibitions against eating.

Sunlight helps stimulate the body’s production of vitamin D

When skin is exposed to the Sun’s UV rays, a cholesterol compound in the skin is transformed into a precursor of vitamin D. This fat-soluble vitamin is required for the absorption of calcium by the body. It’s also necessary for growth and protects against muscle weakness. But that doesn’t mean you should sit out in the sun all day; exposing your face and arms to the sun for fifteen minutes, three days a week is an effective way to ensure adequate amounts of vitamin D in the body.

Sun can help clear up skin conditions like psoriasis

The itchy, scaly, raised patches of skin that characterize psoriasis can be cleared up by the UV light. That is why, in general, exposing the skin to sunlight for about thirty minutes a day is recommended for those with psoriasis. (This treatment is effective for about eighty percent of people with this skin condition, who typically notice improvement within three to six weeks of starting sunlight therapy.)

Sunshine may help maintain the efficiency of the human eye

According to R. S. Agarwal, author of Yoga of Perfect Sight, “The human eye needs light in order to maintain its efficiency. Sunlight is as necessary to the normal eye as are rest and relaxation.” Agarwal’s suggestion: Start the day by exposing the eyes to the sun for just a few minutes with this treatment: sit comfortably facing the sun (morning or evening when the sun isn’t as strong) with closed eyes, and sway the body from side to side gently. Continue for five to ten minutes. Then come into the shade and wash the eyes with cold water.

We hope our readers have enjoyed reading the article and shall from now onwards resolve not to shun sunlight altogether from our lives.

(Insights are drawn from

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for our overall health, but many people worldwide, are not getting enough of it. Although vitamin D can be stored in our body fat until it is needed, the problem is that it is not so easy to get enough vitamin D into our body.

The main job of vitamin D is to keep the right amount of calcium and phosphorus in our blood. These are the 2 nutrients that work together to make our bones strong. Without enough calcium and phosphorus being absorbed in our body, our bones would become brittle and break easily.

Until recently, experts believed that the main role of vitamin D was to keep our bones healthy and prevent them from breaking-up. But new research has shown many other reasons why this vitamin is so important for our health.

The Reasons Why Vitamin D Is So Important

It helps to:

  • Prevent bone fractures

  • Prevent falls in older people and osteoporosis

  • Reduce the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer

  • Reduce the risk of diabetes, especially in young people and in those living in high altitude

  • Protect against heart disease, including high blood pressure and heart failure

  • Reduce risk of multiple sclerosis

  • Improved mood

  • Improved lung function.

If You Don't Get Enough Vitamin D

  • Bones can become weak and can break

  • Children can get "rickets," a disease that prevents their bones from growing properly, delays their growth, and causes problems with their immune system

  • Adults can develop "osteomalacia," a disease that weakens the bones and makes them hurt, and also causes fractures

  • Older adults can get osteoporosis, which does not cause pain, but makes the bones thin and easy to fracture

The best way to know if one is getting enough vitamin D is to have a specific blood test. Otherwise, one may not know that one is not getting enough vitamin D until symptoms associated with vitamin D deficiency manifest.

What Are the Best Sources?

The best source for vitamin D is sunlight. Only a few foods supply vitamin D in significant amounts. The best source for this vitamin for humans is the Sun, not supplements. The problem is that too much exposure to the Sun can cause skin cancer, but too little Sun exposure is the reason that many people today don't get enough vitamin D either.

Because it's difficult to get all the vitamin D one needs from food, and since one does not want to be exposed to too much sunlight, most people need short-time sun exposures and daily vitamin D supplements. Spending a short time in the Sun each day, without sun block, may not be a bad idea, unless one has a special sensitivity to sun exposure.

If one is exposed to summer sunlight for about 10 to 15 minutes at least twice a day, the person is probably getting enough vitamin D. But when sunscreen is used, it prevents the skin from soaking up enough vitamin D.

Who Is at Risk for Vitamin Deficiency?

If one belongs to any of the following groups, he/ she may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency, in which case you should ask your doctor to for the vitamin D test:

  • People who don't get a lot of exposure to sunlight

  • People who use sunscreen often

  • Older people are at very high risk, in part because aging skin doesn't absorb sunlight as well as younger skin

  • People who are obese

  • People who have medical conditions that interfere with their body's ability to absorb fat, such as cystic fibrosis, celiac disease, or pancreatitis

  • People who have liver or kidney problems

  • People who take certain medicines, like anti-seizure drugs or steroids.

As if COVID-19 was not enough we bore the brunt of Nature in the form of Amphan. It has been a scale of devastation that the city of Kolkata has never witnessed in the past. During this time of the year we are occasionally greeted by the oh-so pleasing norwester (kalbaishakhi) in the evenings. But then, something of this sort? Who knows if it is an early sign of things to come on account of global warming? Let us now focus on an engaging theme which shall test our will-power for a rewarding future.

The Greek philosopher Plato had once remarked, “Take charge of your life and you can do with it what you will.” This statement holds good for ‘visualization’. It is a time-tested powerful technique for transforming dreams into realities.

Visualization is an act of mentally picturing ideas, events, circumstances and concrete objects. The effectiveness of visualization is in enhancing our ability to achieve. A person who visualizes clearly sees the results that would come in pursuit of goals. The following steps are noteworthy:

  1. When we visualize a goal it fuels motivation. It generates intense urgency and fuels intensity to keep motivation burning. Procrastination, inertia and indecision disappear. We are energized to keep moving towards the accomplishment of goals. Moreover, in the majority of situations vision gives more accurate knowledge than any other source. This is substantiated by the fact that we customarily think in pictures.

  2. By constant practice we can improve our power of visualization and turn it into a forceful habit that increases our personal productivity. But it needs to be supported by concrete action. Once we start visualizing regularly and as per plan we shall find it be the most helpful tool used for harnessing the power of imagination. It also intensifies beliefs and commitments.

  3. That seeing is believing has more than a grain of truth. When we visualize in possession of a goal we believe in our ability to achieve it.

  4. Visualization sharpens concentration because it shows the exact path to the destination. We are no longer distracted by outward circumstances.

  5. Visualization relieves stress. Anxiety and stress creep-in when uncertainty and doubt associated with the future. It reduces stress by providing believable information.

Paul J Mayer, a pioneer in the self-improvement industry, commented, “Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.”Therefore, the crises we are face-to-face calls for individual efforts in thinking positive for a better future. It will for certain come to pass.

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