Sunshine Boosts the Immune System
We're spending an unprecedented amount of time indoors lately, as you may have noticed. There are a lot of good reasons to do it and take shelter. And I'm sure like me you have found ways to keep yourself safe and sane - I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago when I was enamored by a case of video mania, but more of that later. Right now I'd like us to talk about sunshine.
The danger is that we're all like Superman (and Wonder Woman, for that matter): human beings are, in part, solar powered. There are important health benefits in getting enough sunshine.
- 1. Producing Vitamin D
That's the obvious one. Vitamin D boosts the body's natural immune system. Your body doesn't produce Vitamin D except when it's exposed to UV radiation, which is in sunshine. You shouldn't get a sunburn every day. That's crazy. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Getting at least five minutes of sunshine every day will do wonders for your vitamin D production.
- 2. Producing Endorphins
I just learned something that explains a lot about the people in Denver USA: It's possible to become addicted to sunshine. Sunshine triggers a specific production of endorphins, you see. You can get addicted to anything that triggers endorphins. Endorphin production helps your body fight infections and deal with pain. So don't get too much sunshine or you'll have to go to Sunshine Anonymous. Their meetings take place in basements (hiss) which have no sunshine. And the coffee needs to maintain a mandatory level of awfulness.
Full disclosure, never heard of this before. That being said, I've experienced its effects before. This is a good hormone that your body produces naturally.
It's a hormone that increases energy and regulates your appetite.
It's produced in the brain, in the pituitary system, and--you guessed it--in the immune system. A bunch of stuff helps your body produce this hormone, and sunshine's one of those things.
Studies have shown the balancing effects of sunshine in certain kinds of auto-immune diseases.
Sunshine can help modulate immune responses in people.
So that's pretty good.
- 5. Sunshine Helps Your Body Organize Itself
Part of what your immune system needs to be able to do to keep you healthy is communicate. Your body needs to know what kinds of responses to take to invasions. Is this an infection? What kinds of cells are these? Your body has to first figure that out.
Then it needs to tell your brain what's up. Then your brain needs to tell your immune system what to do about that. Well, exposure to sunshine has been positively linked with your body's ability to create and useSubstance B. It's a neuropeptide. Substance B is an integral part in the communication working out. It's sort of like if your immune system is the repair crews. Your brain is the central office. And Substance B is kind of like their cell phones.
So Get, like, Five Minutes Every Day
You don't need a lot. We all know a mom, auntie or neighbor who would be the kind of woman who occasionally got obsessively into some subject or other, usually one at a time. Scientists spend years studying sunshine. It has been studied that culture does affect this attitude a little, but we need only focus on its recorded health benefits. I have a stack of books high as your waist on sunshine, and there are many Scientific journals to peruse on the matter.
My auntie concluded the number that worked best for her, with enough time and exposure She got between five and fifteen minutes of sunshine every day after that. More was okay, but to get the health benefits you need at least five minutes. She got the most gorgeous, coppery tan after that, and always had it, because she kept at it in winter and everything.
Five minutes a day will do you.
More's okay. Don't get sunburned, though, if you can help it. That's veering off in the opposite direction.