Here Comes the Sun and the Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient delivered straight from the sun. Here’s how to safely soak it up.
You know that feeling you get when the warm summer sun hugs your body after a long, chilly winter?
It feels like heaven – and it’s good for you too.
The sun helps your body make Vitamin D, an important nutrient you need to be well.
Vitamin D provides a wealth of benefits, including:
- Helps the body absorb calcium
- Keeps bones strong, helping to prevent osteoporosis
- Boosts immune system function
- Improves autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
- Lowers the incidence of neurological disorders
- Supports cardiovascular health and regulates blood pressure
- Regulates insulin levels
- Eases musculoskeletal pain
- Enhances positive mood, lessening depressive symptoms
Now that summer is just around the corner, it won’t be long before you’re wrapped in the sun’s warmth. Here’s how to safely get the most out of the summer sun from your natural medicine experts at Nature’s Link Wellness Center in Breaux Bridge, LA.
Prepare your skin for Vitamin D absorption with dry skin brushing.
There’s an easy way to prepare your body to get the most out of your time in the sun. Dry skin brushing is a simple exfoliation technique that helps remove dead skin, opens the pores and prepares your skin to absorb the sun’s rays.
Before your bath or shower is the best time to do your dry brushing. Use a natural stiff-bristle brush with a long handle so that you can easily reach all areas of your body. If your skin is sensitive, you can use a dry washcloth instead.
Your skin and the brush should both be dry. Starting with your feet and legs, use gentle strokes moving upward to your abdomen. Then brush the hands and arms, moving inward toward the heart. Brush across the back, reaching all areas as best you can. Use long fluid strokes on legs and arms and a circular motion on the abdomen and back.
A few strokes are all that’s needed as you don’t want to damage the skin. And always brush gently, applying less pressure to sensitive areas such as the abdomen. Never brush your face.
Dry brushing helps to detoxify the body by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph drainage. It also stimulates your nervous system, so you’ll feel great when you’re finished.
Once your dry brushing is done and you’re ready to get out and enjoy the summer sun, it’s important to take some safety precautions to avoid the harmful effects of sun overexposure.
Here’s how to enjoy the sun and stay safe too.
Although time in the sun is important for Vitamin D production, you still need to protect yourself from the sun’s rays which can contribute to premature aging of the skin and certain kinds of cancer.
When you’re going to be outside, always apply an SPF of 15 or higher with both UVA and UVB protection (known as ‘broad spectrum’). Reapply your sun protection every two hours, especially if you’ve been swimming or sweating. And take care to cover all exposed skin, including easily missed areas such as the hairline, ears, neck, and the tops of your feet.
Between the hours of 10am and 4pm the sun rays are strongest, so make sure that you save extended outdoor activities for before or after these times. If you are out during these hours, stay in the shade or wear sun-protective clothing, including wide-brimmed hats and UV-filtering sunglasses. You’ll still get the sun’s benefits without the unwanted side effects.
Will sun protection prevent me from getting the Vitamin D I need?
If you’re worried that wearing sun protection will prevent you from getting the Vitamin D you need – don’t be. Research shows that the benefits of wearing sun protection far outweigh the possibility that doing so will cause a Vitamin D deficiency.
There are two main reasons for this. First, sun protection does not filter out all of the sun’s rays, so your body is still making Vitamin D even when you’re wearing sun protection. Second, most people don’t use sun protection all the time, so it’s likely you’re being exposed to the sun more than you realize.
Also, you don’t need prolonged sun exposure to get the Vitamin D your body needs. A maximum of 15 minutes of sun exposure to arms, legs, abdomen and back, two to three times a week will do the trick.
Vitamin D is an important part of your health and wellness and the sun isn’t the only source. You can also get Vitamin D through a healthy, balanced diet and with supplements.
Visit with us (online, on the phone or in-person) for your natural health consultation at Nature’s Link Wellness Center in Breaux Bridge, LA. We’ll discuss ways to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D.
Our mission is to help you discover natural ways to improve your health through a balance of proper diet, hydration, fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and rest. For all the latest in natural medicine in Breaux Bridge, Lafayette and the entire Acadiana area, give us a call on 337-332-2705 or reach us online for more information.