Most of us are deficient in the hormone vitamin D because our modern lifestyles rarely allow for regular sun exposure (sometimes we’re even told by well-meaning but misinformed dermatologists to avoid it!) Yet sun exposure is by far the preferred and predominant method of obtaining healthy levels of vitamin D.
I know you are well aware of the skin cancer dangers related to excessive sun exposure, but many of us have little appreciation for the importance of obtaining adequate sunlight for general health and cancer prevention.
Now that we are finally seeing sun on a consistent basis, I thought it would be a good time to address one of the laws of my health coaching: Get Plenty of Sunlight.
Unfiltered sunlight is the best source of vitamin D, the crucial substance responsible for bone and heart health, hormonal function, cancer protection, and a strong immune system.
So how do you enjoy the sun safely while reaping the benefits of vitamin D? Here are 3 tips for protecting your skin while still basking in the limited rays of Midwest sunshine. (This post contains affiliate links)
1. EAT FOODS THAT PROVIDE NATURAL SUN PROTECTION
As a fair skinned, red-head, I've had my share of burns. I've even had a melanoma removed. But since changing my diet, I have noticed that I can spend more time in the sun without burning, my skin tans, and I've had no further issues with cancers. Here's what to eat:
Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids: Studies show that foods like salmon, sardines, and eggs have been shown to reduce inflammation, protect cells from free radical damage, and may protect against certain types of skin cancer.
Colorful polyphenol-rich foods: Tomatoes, dark chocolate, berries, spinach, cloves and pretty much any colorful spice, vegetable, or fruit is shown to help protect against the free radical damage in UV rays.
Coffee and Tea: Both the caffeine and the phytochemicals in tea and coffee have been shown to protect against sun damage.
2. BE SMART ABOUT EXTENDED TIME IN THE SUN
The goal is to expose large surface areas of your skin to moderate amounts of direct sunlight during the appropriate times of day and year to achieve optimal vitamin D production. Sunlight facilitates your skin's production of vitamin D, and then this hormone can be stored away in your fat cells for future use. A 30-minute sunbathing session on a summer day can produce around 10,000 (I.U.) of vitamin D! Fifteen-twenty minutes of midday sun (without sunblock!) is ideal for most people.
3. PROTECT YOURSELF WITH SAFER OPTIONS
When a day at the ball game, gardening, or a hike requires long hours in the sun, the best protection from overexposure is to cover up with UPF swimsuits, shirts, hats, an umbrella and even a lightweight jacket.
Most people turn to sunscreen. But did you know that sunscreen chemicals leak into your blood?
Common ingredients found in many personal products you use every day can be harmful. These include endocrine disruptors (mimics estrogen), parabens and petroleum. Sunscreens on the market use chemical filters such as oxybenzone and octocrylene. All of these ingredients have clear links to many health consequences and cancer.
More recently, chemical filters have been linked to the killing off of coral reefs. Hawaii, and now Key West, passed a bill to ban these types of sunscreens from being sold in the state.
MY PERSONAL SUNSCREEN RECOMMENDATIONS
I recently found 3rd Rock, and let me say their products ROCK. 3rd Rock products are completely void of these toxins and safe for the whole family. 3rd Rock is a glycerine-based sunscreen that uses non-nano zinc oxide, vitamin E and C, and food-grade ingredients to provide the most effective sun protection.
Yes, You Can Eat This Sunscreen!!!
Fully Biodegradable & Environmentally safe
Long Lasting and Water Resistant
Absorbs Quickly into Skin and Spreads Smoothly
No UV Ingredient Breakdown or Free Radical Formation
All 3rd Rock products are manufactured and packaged in the USA and are never tested on animals. You can get 20% off your purchase with code EMPOWERED20 at checkout.
*Note: These leave a white film on the skin. Rubbing them into the skin until no white remains will result in less coverage.
Now, that you know how to use the sun to your advantage, get out there and soak up some vitamin D. I guarantee it will make you feel great!