Amidst our hectic schedules, we end up spending a large part of our days in front of the computer, inside our homes and offices. While staying indoors is comforting, we often miss out on one essential ingredient to living a healthy and happy life — sunlight!
Did you know that daily exposure to sunlight is quintessential to keeping a host of illnesses at bay? In an Instagram post, Dr Dixa Bhavsar, an Ayurveda expert, wrote, “25-30 minutes of sun exposure in the morning (right after sunrise and before 8 am) and evening (at the time of sunset) can do wonders to your health.”
While many believe that natural light is only a rich source of vitamin D, it does so much more than that. “Vitamin D is an immune and energy boosting hormone which has a profound effect on our health,” she wrote, sharing the other health benefits. Take a look.
UVA present in sunlight: Dr Bhavsar explained that it helps increase nitric oxide which is a vasodilator. This, in turn, “improves blood flow, improves oxygenation, lowers the respiratory rate and lowers blood glucose levels“.
Red visible spectrum: It is always present during the day and touches on mitochondria function, increasing our energy and boosting overall health, she said.
Neurotransmitters: Basking in some sunlight every day can make you feel happier, too. “From natural light, we also make the neurotransmitters serotonin, melatonin and dopamine which are critical for mental health including reducing anxiety, depression etc,” Dr Bhavsar explained.
Sleep quality: For those struggling to catch some shuteye, sunlight may help boost your sleep quality. “Being outdoor has shown to improve our sleep quality and fine-tune our daily circadian rhythm,” the expert said, explaining that this is because we make melatonin from daylight and “then excrete melatonin after an absence of blue light for 2+ hours”.
Despite the numerous benefits, it’s not advised to recklessly go overboard with direct sunlight. Instead, follow these effective ways, as suggested by Dr Bhavsar.
*Tweak your day. Be mindful to get more natural light (not just direct sunlight) like training outside instead of the gym.
*Take a walk and get outside.
*Remember, natural daylight is so much more than vitamin D. “So, don’t think supplementing with vitamin D on its own will fix your health issues.”
Aman Puri, Founder, Steadfast Nutrition, added that sunlight provides several health benefits like strengthening bones, uplifting mood, and improving sleep quality. “Exposure to sun rays can help increase the production of serotonin, a hormone that stabilises mood, making one calm and happy. Lack of sunlight can cause serotonin levels to dip, which is associated with a higher risk of seasonal affective disorder — a form of depression that occurs with changing seasons,” he said.
Agreeing, functional nutritionist Mugdha Pradhan, CEO and Founder, iThrive said that sunlight acts as a modulator of our entire physiological functioning. “Full-spectrum white light from the sun during the day corrects our circadian rhythm and has a strong positive effect on our hormones and neurotransmitters. Sunlight is a natural antidepressant, boosting our cortisol and serotonin during the day and helping us sleep later at night,” she said.
Source: Indian Express
BDST: 1644 HRS, NOV 25, 2022