This is what the sun does for your body

June 21, 2022


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For millennia, societies have been speculating about the power of the sun. For instance, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, already advocated sunbathing to cure diseases. We list some key benefits for your body.

Strong bones and vitamin D

Sunlight is primarily responsible for producing vitamin D in your skin. That ‘sunshine vitamin’ in turn allows your body to absorb calcium from your diet, helping you develop strong bones and teeth. In addition, Vitamin D – and thus sunlight – is important for your cell growth, immune system, hormones and nervous system. Moreover, scientific research shows that vitamin D deficiency is associated with vascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, low immunity and cancer.

Positive effect on high blood pressure

Besides producing vitamin D, sunshine has all kinds of positive effects on your blood. For example, British researchers at the University of Southampton exposed individuals to ultraviolet light. What turned out to be? After the exposure, people saw a drop in blood pressure. Consequently, sunlight can reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases significantly. Moreover, UVB rays also improve blood circulation. After just 15 minutes in the sun, your body produces more white and red blood cells, which in turn boosts your immunity.

Improved fertility

For those looking to start a family this summer, there is also good news: couples with a desire to have children, are more likely to conceive in sunnier weather. For instance, recent scientific research shows that exposure to sunlight can increase the chances of having a baby by up to one-third. In addition, other studies show that fertility in men can also increase with a healthy dose of sun. This is because vitamin D has a positive effect on testosterone levels and sperm count, among other things. So couples looking to build a family would do well to gift themselves a holiday in the sun.

Sweating is healthy

When our body gets too hot, sweat glands release moisture that then evaporates, cooling the skin and allowing us to maintain a normal body temperature. At first glance, it just seems like an annoying side effect of a hot summer, but several studies have already shown that sweating is very healthy. Especially for your kidneys, sweat appears to have a positive impact. Because sweat drains some of the waste products from your body through your skin, they do not get overworked. In addition, sweat has another positive side effect: our sweat glands constantly secrete the antibiotic dermcidin, which protects our skin. However, make sure you drink enough water and take in enough salt to avoid dehydration.

It may reduce the risk of melanoma

Yes, you are reading that right! Safe sun exposure can protect you from skin cancer. According to a study published in the renowned journal The Lancet, there is a link between skin exposure to UVB rays and a reduced risk of melanoma. This found that people who work outdoors – and thus are regularly exposed to sunlight – have a lower risk of developing melanoma compared to those who spend more time indoors. Of course, in doing so, it is important to keep your skin protected by applying sufficient sunscreen.

Excess pounds disappear

When temperatures suddenly spike, you get much less appetite for food. How so? The sun pushes up your leptin levels, a hormone that signals when your stomach is full. When there is a lot of sunshine, more leptin will be produced, making you satiated faster, thus reducing your appetite. So the sun has a positive effect for sunbathers who want to lose some weight this summer. In addition, researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have discovered that fat cells located just under our skin shrink with exposure to sun rays. They ‘melt’, as it were. In sunlight, cells also store less fat. A win-win situation, in other words.

Improved hair growth

Just like for your skin, the sun can do wonders for radiant locks in summer. Sunlight allows us to produce more vitamin D and this, in turn, stimulates the growth of your hair and can even help prevent hair loss. In fact, those vitamins strengthen the hair roots, which also makes our hair fall more beautifully and creates a natural shade in our hair. Note: when it gets really hot, you need to protect your hair from drying out. The best way to do that is to put on a hat. Not a fan of a straw hat on your head? Fortunately, there are also moisturising shampoos that contain UV filters and specialised lotions or mousses that provide your hair with sufficient protection. One last tip: put your hair in a high bun on top of your head. That way, you also protect your scalp and the hair inside the bun. That wayyou keep your locks healthy all summer long.


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maartje vanewijk

Annelies Theunissen
People Sustainability Expert

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