The Body Needs Sunshine


shutterstock_217495879Nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness practices form a well rounded lifestyle plan for healthy living. Nature is an excellent source of inspiration for people who want to exercise outdoors while enjoying the beauty of trees, water, and grass. As more becomes known about the possible health benefits, sunshine is taking center stage as a great source of nutrients such as vitamin D, vital for a healthy body and mind.


Sun Exposure

One of the two main ways to get Vitamin D is by spending time outside in the sunshine. Ultraviolet B rays quickly penetrate the skin, providing a burst of vitamin D. Some people go overboard with the amount of sunshine and end up turning pink or burning, which is actually doing more harm than good to the body (as well as the skin). How much vitamin D is produced by natural sunlight depends on the time of day, where a person lives, and color of the skin. It is not recommended a person spend lots of time outdoors in the sun as it can have detrimental effects long term, such as melanoma and other types of skin cancer. Depending on where a person lives and proximity to the equator, a person may receive some harmful as well as beneficial rays. It is important to take care of the skin and use sunscreen when outside for prolonged periods of time.



Vitamin D can also be taken into the body through supplements. In places where sunshine is not prevalent through long winter months or a person is not able to get outside, supplements are a great way to give the body what it needs. Vitamin D3 is the best kind of supplement to take which comes in various forms (tablets or capsules). It is becoming more difficult to get the daily amount of vitamins from a healthy diet yet vitamin D is easily accessible on the market. For those who are also worried about exposing skin to the sun outside, this is a viable alternative. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means the body has a hard time getting rid of it if too much is taken. The Vitamin D Council recommends taking no more than the maximum dosage of 10,000 IU/day for adults. The body can produce 10,000 to 25,000 IUs of vitamin D after just a little bit of sun exposure.



A healthy, well balanced diet is one more place to get vitamin D. Small amounts are in a few select foods but not enough to provide what the body needs. These foods include fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks, fortified milk and orange juice, fortified cereals and infant formula.


Sunshine, supplements and diet are all great places to get vitamin D. Spending time outdoors has other mental benefits as well including lowered stress, blood pressure and an enhanced sense of well being. The more time a person spends outdoors, the better, but it should be done safely to protect the skin from overexposure to the sun.
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