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Family,  Health,  Healthy Living,  self-care

Sunlight and Your Immune System

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When you were younger, you probably got told by your parents to go spend some time in the sun, because it’s good for you. We know now that they were very much correct — sunlight has a wide variety of benefits to us, and if you don’t get enough, you’re actually putting yourself at a higher risk of getting sick and being generally unhappy compared to those who go outside more often.

It’s important to remember this now with many of us sheltering in place. We need to safely get a bit of sun — while socially distancing of course.

Vitamin D Production

sunlight vitamin D

One of the important parts of getting some sun is that sunlight is what drives your body to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D plays an important role in having healthy bones and a healthy immune system.

Having healthy bones means that you’ll have better bone marrow. This is a crucial component of your immune system since it drives the creation of various blood cells. With weaker bones, you’re more prone to diseases like osteoporosis, which leaves your bones almost porous and brittle. This makes it much easier for them to be fractured.

Improved Mental State

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Sunlight has also been found to improve your immune system by improving your mental state.

There’s a very significant connection between your mental health and physical health, especially when it comes to your immune system. If you’re stressed out or depressed, it may be easier to get sick than if you were happy and content.

Sunshine helps boost your mood and relieve stress, which of course is a benefit in its own right. Additionally, this helps lift some of the load off of your immune system. This allows your immune system to allocate more resources towards fighting off illness instead.

This helps prevent all kinds of different diseases, because poor mental health bogs down your immune system across the board.

Sunlight — Not Room Light

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The thing about sunlight is that you can’t exactly replicate it.

Interior lights or sunlight coming through a window doesn’t have the same benefits. You might see light bulbs that are advertised as being the same wavelength as sunlight and things like that, but it doesn’t give you the full benefits.

It’s the UV light that comes with genuine sunlight that triggers the production of vitamin D. UV light gets filtered out through windows and isn’t emitted by lightbulbs. In order to get the full benefits of sunlight, you need to actually go out on walks, work in a garden, or do any other kind of activities for a bit outside.

A Word of Caution

Sun exposure can have its problems. You may be more prone to developing certain types of cancer. So remember to use sunblock to protect your skin. You can also use sun hats to protect your face and long sleeves and pants — depending on the weather — can be helpful too.

You can get get out in the sun — just remember to protect yourself!

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Dominique

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