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Sunshine-love it or hate it?

| News and Events | 31/05/2013

Peyton Principles

For years we have been told to be very wary of the sun. With ever increasing levels of skin cancer the advice has been to cover up with sunscreen or clothes and stay out of the sun.

When my daughters attended primary school I packed them off to school already smothered in high factor suntan lotion, with a spare tube in their bags.

But there is a shift now towards recognising that sunshine is a good thing and actually beneficial to our health. We all know that the sun makes us feel better, it improves our mood, lifts our spirits, it’s generally good for our souls. But beyond that, sunshine is an absolute necessity for our health due to its essential role in vitamin D production.

No doubt you have heard about vitamin D deficiency, especially due to our poor summers. But even with a relatively sunny summer a deficiency is possible since we live in the Northern Hemisphere.

The way to optimise vitamin D status in our bodies is to expose our skin to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day (before skin starts to redden) without suntan lotion. Common sense is needed as lying in the midday sun on a hot day may cause many people to start to burn and burning is not what is required.  In fact very suntanned skin may inhibit vitamin D production. So mid morning or later in the afternoon when the sun is not at its peak is best.

We need to try to maximize our exposure during the summer months. Vitamin D is fat soluble so it will be stored in the body, but because of our long dark winters our stores may become depleted before winter is over.

Why is vitamin D so important? It supports our natural immunity, bone health and strong teeth. We are even hearing cases of rickets emerging again.

Diet is important too but the amount obtained from food is small compared to the sun. The only sources are from fats in the diets such as butter, oily fish, milk and dairy and some foods are now fortified with it due to falling natural levels.

So enjoy the sunshine, roll up your sleeves, leave off the SPF unless very hot sun or prolonged exposure, and welcome in this important vitamin.


About The Author

Caroline Peyton is a fully qualified naturopathic nutritional therapist with practices in Cheltenham and Swindon and at home in Kempsford. She is also Principal of the Natural Healthcare College. Please contact Caroline to see how nutritional therapy may be of benefit to you. 01285 810320 or 07730 513303; e-mail: caroline@peytonprinciples.com. www.peytonprinciples.com


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