Surprising Benefits of Sunshine

Did you know there are so many positives to getting your daily rays?

The kids are finished school for the year; it’s a FANTASTIC feeling knowing that I don’t have to make any MORE lunches, no more soccer, football, hurling or gymnastics for at least 8 weeks.
The summer mode is in full swing, we’re seeing more sunshine now which is really fantastic.  But what do we really get from sun? How does it affect our bodies?
The first thing that comes to my mind when we get sun is vitamin D or also known as the SUNSHINE VITAMIN. Vitamin D is one of the only vitamins that we can obtain from the sun, so before you go and slap on the sun cream, hear me out.  The food sources of Vitamin D are cod, halibut, herring, tuna, egg yolk, milk and sprouted seeds. These foods are very hard to get into ones diet.
Vitamin D3
  • is an essential part of preventing and treating Osteoporosis. 
  • is essential for the absorption of calcium; it increases the body’s ability to absorb calcium by 30-80%.
  • Without Vitamin D3, calcium will not be as easily absorbed by your body, which could affect the formation of healthy bones and teeth.
  • helps to regulates cell growth and the immune system.  
When a person’s skin is exposed to ultraviolet B rays, the skin makes vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that when consumed or made in the skin, can be stored in the blood and body fat, for several months. It is very scary to think that in Ireland 74% of adults and 88% of kids have less than half of the recommended daily allowances of Vitamin D.  
It’s now recommended in Ireland that you expose your body especially large parts like legs or arms for at least 10-15 minutes (without sun cream) if you are a redhead or very fair then you should try 2-3 minutes 4-5 times a day. Darker skinned people need more skin exposer to obtain D3. Also what’s very interesting is that Irelands north latitude, we have very little UV available from October to March so it’s a good idea to supplement with Vitamin D3. (Always check with your health care practitioner when taking supplements). 
So what other advantages are there with getting sunshine …
  • Regulate and support the immune system
  • Pain killing properties
  • Increases fat metabolism and helps to maintain a healthy weight
  • Help to maintain brain function as you age 
  • Day time exposure improves evening alertness
  • Improves mood even depression and energy level
  • Helps to regulate melatonin
Increase Nitric oxide level –which is connected to the circulation.
Vitamin D is one of the nutrients that we forget to consume and make sure that we are getting enough. Also when you are slapping the sun cream on make sure that you get a toxic free cream, that way you won’t be absorbing  any nasty chemicals,   most health food shops will stock them and are more than willing to help you out ! 
I hope that you will enjoy the sunshine that we get in this fantastic country we live in, until the next time I wish you health and happiness.
Betty O’ Neill
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Betty O'Neill

Betty O'Neill is a qualified Nutritional Therapist and a registered member of the NTOI (Nutritional Therapies of Ireland). She is extremely passionate about all things to do with food and nutrition.

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