Do you enjoy basking in the sun, but you’re scared to do it because of all the warnings you hear?
While too much sun can be bad for your health, so can too little. Researchers at Central Washington University claim that 77% of people are vitamin D deficient because they don’t get enough sunlight.
While it’s good to slap on some SPF for beach days, we’re missing out on the benefits of vitamin D by never getting any natural sun.
The Benefits of Vitamin D
1. Decrease your chances of getting cancer
One of the reasons people avoid sunlight is because they’re afraid of getting skin cancer. However, insufficient levels of vitamin D due to limited sun exposure have been linked to ovarian and breast cancer.
The School of Social and Community Medicine at Bristol found that people who do not go in the sun regularly are more likely to develop prostate cancer due to vitamin D deficiency.
2. Improve your heart health
To improve your heart health, vitamin D is essential. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to fatal cardiovascular events like heart failure. Studies are currently being conducted to find whether vitamin D deficiency is also related to heart disease.
3. Improve your metabolism
Vitamin D deficiency has even been linked to the increasing obesity rate. Vitamin D is a necessary hormone for healthy metabolic function. Deficiency in it can lead to more fat storage and weight gain. So, just lying in the sun for a few minutes a day might help you lose weight!
4. Strengthen your immune system
Not only has vitamin D been found to reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases, but it also helps your immune system fight off infection.
Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that adults and children with vitamin D deficiencies had more severe infections than those with normal levels of the vitamin.
Make sure you’re getting enough sunlight to prevent minor cuts from becoming more serious issues.
5. Improve bone health
Proper levels of vitamin D have shown improved musculoskeletal health in both teenagers and adults. When supplemented with calcium, vitamin D also improved bone density in women. This may prevent future age-related injuries due to bone loss.
6. Prevent kidney disease
One of the diseases most commonly found with vitamin D deficiency in patients is chronic kidney disease. Getting enough vitamin D can prevent this disease. If you or someone you know already has kidney disease, vitamin D is a popular treatment option.
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7. Improve dental health
One of the benefits of vitamin D is…dental health? Yes, getting more sunlight can even improve the health of your pearly whites! A study found that patients that either took vitamin D supplements or had proper sun exposure had a lower chance of having severe periodontal disease.
8. Train better
Are you a runner or an athlete? If so, vitamin D may be the key to reaching your next goal in training. The Department of Nutrition at Central Washington University suggests that vitamin D plays a very important role in cell regeneration.
If you have low levels of vitamin D, your body may take longer to recuperate after a tough workout. Run outside or take a fitness class at the park to get vitamin D and stay in shape!
How To Get Vitamin D Safely
UV rays that contribute to production of vitamin D are highest during afternoon hours, so head outside for the recommended time of 15 minutes to get your daily dose of vitamin D from the sun. It is considered safe to be outside without sunscreen or covering for this amount of time.
Although sunlight exposure is the best way to naturally produce this vitamin, you may want to talk to your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
The benefits of vitamin D are many; it’s an essential nutrient that you get from natural sunlight. By getting a healthy dose of sun, you can prevent cancer, kidney disease, and bone loss. So, grab a book, a glass of water, and a chair, and let the sun work its magic!
Photo by ce28nn
Originally published in July 2013 and updated in July 2014.