Greetings! I've just returned from San Antonio, TX where it was between 104 and 108 degrees everyday! For a Maine girl, that's blazin' hot. The humidity was very low - desert like - and the wind rather strong at times. Like living in a windy oven if you happened to venture outdoors away from the airconditioned haven of your home or office. San Antonio is in the middle of a 1-year drought and everything is brown and crusty - green is a rare color, indeed.
I gained 6 pounds in 5 days while I was there, felt frequently dizzy, slightly nauseated, and severely constipated (sorry, but I'm being upfront here about the conditions). I'm assuming I was very dehydrated and my body was hanging on to everything I ate as well as all of the water I consumed. When I got home, my body normalized. What a hellish place Texas is right now!
Threats of heatstroke made the headlines on the news everyday with recommendations not to venture outdoors if you didn't have to, unless you were fully covered with clothing, sunscreen, and had lots of water with you. I'll tell you one thing . . . everybody needs some sunshine, but
when the weather is "Godforsaken" like it is in TX, a 5-minute daily exposure is probably all you need or should even contemplate getting. Too many health hazards associated with prolonged exposure.
Well . . . enough of my ranting about nasty hot weather. This blog will be Part 1 about the benefits of sun exposure to your overall health - yes, there are benefits, not just negatives.
A Little Sun Exposure Is A Real Good Thing
We've become a sunphobic society. Yet all living things - plants, animals, and people - need at least a little sunshine in order to survive and thrive. Certainly, overexposure to the sun is the single most damaging factor to your skin. It's not just a sunburn but also a suntan (and the associated skin dehydration) that represent damage to your skin, and that damage is cumulative over a lifetime.
Yet sunshine feels good on your skin and helps your body absorb calcium by causing your skin to produce part of the vitamin D complex that strengthens bones. Sun exposure also aids in healing eczema, acne, psoriasis, and poison plant rashes; helps reduce stress and blood pressure; balances hormone levels; and increases the body's production of feel-good serotonin.
Thirty to 45 minutes of daily unprotected exposure to sunlight in the early morning before 8:00 or 9:00 am or very late afternoon, after 4:30 or 5:00 pm, can help preserve your sanity and the health of your bones and skin. If you live in the north, where sunshine is sometimes limited in the winter and temperatures can be quite cold, try to expose your face and hands for at least 15 minutes daily. Many health professionals have observed a rise in the occurrence of osteoporosis, spontaneous fractures of the small bones of the feet, vitamin D deficiencies, skin diseases, mood imbalances, and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) not only in this country, but also globally because our lives are increasingly sedentary and spent indoors, with long car commutes between work and home. Increasing our sun exposure slightly can affect the incidence of these conditions in a most positive way.
In the next few blogs, I'll continue this "sun exposure" series as well as share a few of my sun care/skin care natural formulas with you and list a handful of my favorite chemical-free sunscreen brands for you to try. Until then . . . be well, be happy, and be careful in your daily travels.
NOTE: This blog was written by Stephanie Tourles and adapted from one of her many books, "Organic Body Care Recipes", copyright 2007, Storey Publishing. The information is true and complete to the best of her knowledge. All recommendations are made without guarantee on the part of Ms. Tourles. She disclaims any liability in connection with the use of this information. It is for educational purposes only.