Tuesday, August 19, 2008

You need sunshine!

Did you know that most of us aren't getting enough sun exposure? It seems counter-intuitive doesn't it? We always hear how we should avoid the sun or wear sunscreen- and lots of it!

We NEED sunshine, just like we need food and water. As many of us know, when we step out into the sunlight (without sunscreen!) our bodies begin making vitamin D. It's not really a 'vitamin' but that's what we've come to call it. Vitamin D is a steroid hormone- and it's one that every cell in our body needs. It turns on and off genes in our body. Vitamin D deficiency (which most of us, whether you believe it or not- have this deficiency) has been linked to a variety of cancers and modern diseases (chronic diseases- obesity, heart disease, inflammation). Did you know that vitamin D was meant to be made by your skin? That's why its not found in many foods. Only fish and sometimes eggs (REAL eggs from pastured hens) have vitamin D. Otherwise humans have added it into foods (like milk.) This is not enough, we need sunshine. In 20 minutes of sun exposure our bodies MAKE 20,000 IU of Vitamin D. The government says we only need 400 IU. This is rediculously low, and they won't admit or invest in the research to tell people they need more than this.

For thousands of years humans have been in the sun- whether it be hunting, gathering, picking, farming, or living - it was done outdoors. How much sun did humans used to get? Lots. Then in the industrial revolution we started hiding ourselves in houses, cars and buildings all day long. Then we met modern diseases. ( For many reasons, but lack of sun exposure is one of them.)

I could go on and on, but if you want to know more about how our bodies work with sunlight you can go to this fantastic article http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2005/02/02/vitamin-d-production.aspx that teaches much more in depth!

If you don't want to read it, make sure you get at least 20 min of unprotected sun exposure on as much of your skin as you can before 11am and after 2pm, when the suns rays are mostly UVB- the rays that cause your skin to make vitamin D. The UVA rays are very strong between 11am and 2pm and can damage your skin if you burn. You don't want to burn- just get some sun!


Molly said...

Good to know the bit about UVA vs UVB. I didn't know one made more Vit-D than the other.

Would you do a post on nuts and the healthy fats they contain? I know some are better than others, but I don't know if there's a general recommendation as far as serving size and types and all that.

Elizabeth said...

Yeah, for sure! I like to have requests.

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