Nourishing your body: the health benefits of the sun

Older woman basking in the sunlight from her window, arms stretched up, eyes closed.

How can we take full advantage of the sun’s benefits for body, skin, and mood?

We all know the sun can be damaging. From sunburn to more serious issues, the side effects of prolonged sun exposure are well-known. But what about the benefits? As we’re a positive lot here at Silver, let’s look at some of the health benefits the sun can offer us.

Nourish and repair your skin

Hand rubbing cream into the other hand on a plain background

Spending time in the sun can increase the production of endorphins in your body. These help with both pain relief and healing. And who doesn’t want a bit of help with that?

We all love to get a good tan. But overexposure to the sun can dry out or even burn your skin if you’re not careful. Overexposure is overexposure – the clue is in the name.

We’ve all spent too long in the sun sometimes, and whilst it’s important to try and avoid that, it’s also good to take time to make repairs. Try a good serum, or a cooling eye gel for puffy eyes.

What the sun can do for you

Close up of grass and small flowers, with the sun shining through

Being out in the sun can offer countless benefits to your physical and mental health. As we all know, the sun provides us with vitamin D, strengthening our bones and muscles and improving our immunity system. But did you know the sun also increases the production of both serotonin and melatonin in our bodies?

Serotonin energises you for the day ahead and enhances your mood, keeping the sun shining in more ways than one. And after a busy day, melatonin helps you get a good night’s sleep. The sun helps us to balance these chemicals, so if you find yourself feeling sleepier in the darker months, your body may not be producing enough serotonin.

What about the darker months?

Darkened sunset visible through leaves

As the darker months creep in, your body needs support to keep feeling the sun’s benefits. But how do we top up on sunshine while the sun is away?

1. Adjust your diet

A plate of cooked salmon on mixed leaves

Food is an easy way to increase both vitamin D intake and hormone production. Seafood and mushrooms are both great natural sources of vitamin D.

For a serotonin and melatonin boost, you want foods which are high in tryptophans. High protein foods such as meats, fish and eggs are all excellent sources of this. Fish doubles as a source of vitamin D, so consider adding more seafood to your diet to energise and nurture your body.

2. Keep active

Low shot of a person's feet walking down a stony path outdoors

Staying active is always important, especially during the darker months to fight off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). But you don’t need to hit the gym to feel the benefits of exercise on both your physical and mental health.

Even an hour of light exercise scattered throughout the week can be enough to boost your serotonin levels. So why not take some short walks, especially while the sun is out. Use the sun’s benefits to your full advantage.

3. Take vitamin D tablets

Vitamin D tablets are an easy way to keep your intake up all year round. According to the NHS, the sun alone cannot give us the vitamin D we need throughout autumn and winter. Even in summer, the cloudy British weather can prevent us from fully feeling the health benefits of the sun. If you don’t already, consider taking vitamin D supplements to keep your immune system strong.

4. Try UV lamps

If a lack of sunshine is putting a damper on your life, consider buying a UV lamp. By having your own personal sun, you can receive a much-needed serotonin boost from the comfort of your home.

But be careful. Much like the real sun, UV lamps can cause sunburn if used for too long. Make sure you turn the lamp off regularly to give your body a break from the UV rays.

5. Keep going outside

A stony outdoor path lit in a warm glow and lined by bushes and trees. The sky is cloudy and grey.

While there are a lot of ways to experience the sun’s benefits from your own home, nothing beats the real thing. So why not find some time to sit outside or take a walk, and feel the sun’s warmth energise you for the day ahead.

Keep the sun shining

Golden sky with big glowing sun in the center

Whether the sun is beaming or tucked behind the clouds, there are always ways to keep the sunshine on your skin. With a little extra effort, you can ensure the sun shines through your mind and body all year round.

But there’s no better way to experience the sun than to go out and let it do its thing. So make the most of the day – head outside and take advantage of all that the sun has to offer.

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About Aiden Winn
Aiden is an editorial and production intern at Title Media whilst also studying for their English master’s degree. He’s constantly looking for opportunities to have fun and get creative, whether it be art, baking, storytelling… you name it!

1 Comment

  1. Good message however the wrong picture is used – the suns days are harmful through glass – basics!

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