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The Benefits of Sunlight

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Let’s give our attention to some benefits of the blazingly bright star that is 109 times wider than the earth. Its radiance travels more than 93 million miles to kiss our skin with its luminescent rays.

Just think about how far those sunbeams travel to reach us, and all we have to do is step outside for 15 to 20 minutes (up to 40 minutes for more melanated/darker people) to engage with sun. One of the most commonly known benefits of regular sunlight is having healthy vitamin D levels. With that being general knowledge, it’s still estimated that vitamin D deficiency is at 50% globally. Some deficiency estimates for American adults are 40% and nearly double that for African Americans at 76%, according to a new study by the cooper institute.

Skin exposure to sunlight makes vitamin D from cholesterol. Cholesterol in the skin cells is hit by the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays which then provide the energy for vitamin D synthesis occurrence. It assists the body in the absorption of calcium and the maintenance of strong bones during one’s lifetime.

You can ask your doctor to check your vitamin D levels and based on your health history get the recommended time in the sun for you to have healthy vitamin D levels. Vitamin D supplements and a balanced diet also play a huge role in healthy vitamin D levels, especially during October and the beginning of March, when the body does not make enough vitamin D, as there is less sunlight.

Melanated people of African descent can absorb more of the ultraviolet rays for longer periods due to the blessings of having darker skin. The way the sun shows up in countries like Europe and parts of the Americas also contributes to people of darker hues having lower vitamin D levels as the sun’s presence and intensity are not as impactful as it is in Mother Africa.

This requires melanated people to pay more attention to diet and intentional sun intake depending on what part of the globe they are in, to balance out vitamin D levels.

Sunbeams are also known to be a natural mood enhancer, they help boost serotonin which is a chemical in the brain that can give you more energy, and improve focus, along with keeping you positive and calm. Some doctors will recommend a sunlight regimen to treat certain types of depression which include seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

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Regardless of all the phenomenal health benefits from soaking up rays, be mindful not to spend too much time in the sun, as it can have harmful effects on us as well, like skin cancer, dark spots, and sunburn to name a few.

Some studies say the morning light can help keep fat off, by the sun rays shrinking fat cells underneath the surface of your skin. Getting early morning sunlight also seems to help to set the body’s internal clock, which can help you get better sleep at night. Our immune system is also strengthened by the infrared beams, along with helping to enhance our gut bacteria.

The Sun radiates light and heats the planet. Solar energy makes life on earth possible. Plant life, humans and animals all need what the sun showers us with. Without the sun’s warmth, the earth would freeze.

Let’s not take this huge, bright blessing for granted, one that shows up so consistently that we’ve set our clocks to it.

Words by Kaba Abdul-Fattaah.

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