If you see a child with very pale skin you will probably think they are healthy because their mother has been very careful to slap on the sunscreen and only allow them outside in the early morning and late afternoon when the sun is not so hot. However, you would be wrong.
People who don’t get enough sun on their skin can be very unhealthy. The main way we get Vitamin D is by the action of the sun on our skin. Vitamin D is important in itself, but it is also necessary as an aid to absorbing calcium which makes bones and teeth strong and healthy. This is even more important for children, whose bodies are still growing.
There are many other health benefits of sunshine on the skin: –
- People who don’t get enough sunshine often become depressed due to lack of serotonin, the ‘happy’ chemical released by higher levels of sunshine. This is especially so when it is combined with exercise such as walking. It has been proven that exercise taken outside in the sun increases our endorphin levels much more than indoor exercise does.
- Sunshine reduces heart disease, which can be caused by low levels of Vitamin D in the body.
- Lack of Vitamin D also contributes to higher cholesterol according to medical studies.
- A deficiency of the D vitamin can cause children to suffer from diabetes Type 1 as young adults, or Diabetes Type 2 in adults.
- Scientists have found that plentiful exposure to sunlight as children dramatically reduces the likelihood of developing Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a disease of the nervous system, in adulthood. It has also been found that MS is not as prevalent in sunny countries as it is in those locations that don’t get much sun.
- Many people think that avoiding sunlight means avoiding cancer. This is true only of skin cancer. Lack of Vitamin D actually increases the risk of many other kinds of cancer.
- Sunlight helps to boost your white blood cells which keeps your immune system healthier so you can fight off infection.
- It helps you to lose weight because we tend to eat less in warm weather.
- Controlled sun exposure helps to control certain skin problems such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. Controlled is the watchword here; never allow your skin to burn.
- Vitamin D from sunlight helps sufferers of Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) as they are much less likely to be able to absorb Vitamin D from what they eat.
You don’t have to be outside all day long to get enough sun. Fifteen minutes a day before the sun becomes too hot will do it. It takes about that long for the Vitamin D effect to occur.