With the sunny, hot days of summer in Rim Country one can be positively reminded of sunshine’s benefits. Sunshine is a powerful promoter of health and well-being. While it is the source of energy for the earth, it provides green plants materials for growth to enhance enjoyment for us in the green trees, grass, and plants that surround our homes, community, and the natural beauty of this wonderful area in Arizona. Sunlight also enables plants to provide us with food and oxygen.
Sunlight promotes positive thinking by increasing serotonin levels. Serotonin is an important “happy” brain chemical. Lack of serotonin has been connected to many health problems. Reduced serotonin levels are connected to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), irritability, chronic pain, fatigue, depression, aggression, anxiety, nausea, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fibromyalgia, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and heat intolerance. There is even a link between serotonin levels and eating behavior and body weight.
Sunlight also affects another important brain chemical – melatonin. This brain chemical helps us to have a good night’s sleep. Adequate daytime exposure to sunlight leads to higher levels in the brain at night and improves sleep as well as mood.
Sunlight has been shown to kill germs. The simple practice of opening the blinds can help you be healthier, allowing your bedding to get a sunbath and kill germs.
Sunlight converts a cholesterol metabolite into Vitamin D, making sunlight the best source of Vitamin D for our bodies. Vitamin D is needed for strong bones and has an impact on the immune system. It lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and type 1 diabetes. There is also a relationship to sunshine and hypertension — less sun exposure, the higher the blood pressure risk.
There is also a risk to sunlight since it can increase the risk of skin cancer in excessive amounts. The most common skin cancers are linked to sunburn and are treatable and rarely cause death. However, it is best to avoid sunburns, wear sunscreen and proper sun protection. Aim to avoid sunburns.
Sunlight in moderate amounts can actually prevent some cancers. One study looking at cancer rates in a number of states concluded that while frequent sunshine exposure causes 2,000 deaths annually, it also prevents 138,000 annual cancer deaths. If people would get regular, moderate amounts of sunshine, the researchers projected that another 38,000 more deaths could be prevented. So for the best health, it is important to get adequate, moderate amounts of sunshine, but practice diligence in avoiding getting sunburned.