In some way this way this week’s blog may be considered an extension of one of our articles 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 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.
a) 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.
b) 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.
c) 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.
d) 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.)
e) 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 drawn from www.yogainternational.com)