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Do You Get Enough Sun? Researchers Explain How It Affects Your Health

IF NOBODY HAS TOLD YOU, LET US BE THE FIRST: THE SUN IS NOT DANGEROUS.

Our planet has been around for nearly 4.6 billion years. Human beings evolved alongside the bright star. In fact, the wondrous Sun is what allows and advances life on Earth.

“Dr. Robert Stern, chair of the Department of Dermatology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, calls them “solar-phobes”: people so concerned about getting so cancer that they stay inside or cover every bit of skin.” – Harvard Health Publications: “Benefits of moderate sun exposure”

But do you know what is dangerous? Human ignorance about two key things:

First, not understanding the sun’s effects on us as individuals. Without this information, we can’t know what level of exposure is safe or unsafe.

Second, not taking preventative measures to counteract underexposure or overexposure. Underexposure, or lack of sunshine, is just as dangerous as overexposure.

The Sun is Healthy – in Moderation

Gee, how many times have we been told something is good for us “in moderation?” Alcohol, dark chocolate, dairy, sleeping, exercising… all best done “in moderation.”

Provided that there’s an accurate measure that defines moderation for an activity (e.g. one-two drinks, 7-9 hours), it can be excellent advice! We can then implement this advice to improve and maintain our health – or abstain from things that may be harmful.

This same moderation concept applies to the sun.

Health Benefits of Sunshine

(Note: As with anything health-related, it’s important to be aware of any existing medical condition(s). If you’re unsure, please speak with your doctor.

This article’s contents are not intended to replace professional medical advice.)

HERE ARE 5 HEALTH OF THE BIGGEST (MOST APPROPRIATELY) BENEFITS OF SUNLIGHT:

1. THE SUN PACKS VITAMIN D

In some medical circles, vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” and sun exposure can help produce this crucial nutrient. Vitamin D is also available in certain foods and supplements.

Vitamin D serves many important functions within the body, which include:

– Maintaining normal calcium and phosphate levels

– Promoting bone and cell growth

– Promoting calcium absorption

– Reducing inflammation

2. IT LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE

In a groundbreaking study conducted by Dr. Richard Weller and his colleagues at the University of Edinburg, researchers found a chemical important for reducing blood pressure in sunlight.

Nitric oxide is released into the blood vessels when sunlight touches the skin. This decreases BP.

According to Dr. Weller, the benefits of sun exposure – including a healthier and longer life – “far outweigh the risk of getting skin cancer.”

3. IT IMPROVES BRAIN FUNCTION

In a study undertaken by neuroscientists at the University of Cambridge, Dr. David Llewellyn and his colleagues measured the Vitamin D levels of 1,700 adults aged 65 and over.

After analyzing the results, the research team noticed higher rates of cognitive deficiencies in people low in Vitamin D.

Additional studies claim that sunlight also hastens the growth of brain cells within the hippocampus; the brain region responsible for forming, organizing, and storing memories.

4. ALLEVIATES MILD DEPRESSION

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, “is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons – SAD begins and ends at about the same times every year.” SAD is informally known as the “winter blues” disorder.

Psychologists, psychiatrists, and other medical professionals have linked the low availability of sunlight during certain periods of the year (most notably, fall and winter) to the disorder.

Ever wondered why sunny days perk you up while gray skies don’t?

Because the brain produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin (“the happy chemical”) on sunny days than on overcast days.

5. IT HEALS CERTAIN SKIN DISORDERS

Skin cancer is perhaps the one biggest knock against the big bright star. Skin cancer caused by Melanoma is “the most dangerous form of skin cancer, (when) these cancerous growths develop (and trigger) mutations that lead the skin cells to multiply rapidly and form malignant tumors.”

Per the Skin Cancer Foundation, “If melanoma is recognized and treated early, it is almost always curable.”

Let’s put what we just read in context. (1) Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. (2) If we pay attention and seek treatment, it’s curable just about every time.

In spite of oft-cited hyperbole about skin cancer, the sun helps heal skin disorders at a far greater rate than it causes them. 

Just a few of the conditions the sun helps include acne, eczema, jaundice, and psoriasis.

Protecting Yourself

Per the United States Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), there are three key elements of skin protection: genetic and lifestyle traits, monthly examinations, and blocking UV rays.

Genetic and lifestyle characteristics:

a) Do you spend a lot of time outdoors?

b) Do you get sunburnt easily?

c) Do you have any of the following?

– Large, numerous, or irregularly-shaped moles

– Blond, red, or light brown hair

– Freckles

– Fair skin (‘pale’)

If you meet any of the above criteria, consult with your doctor about how much time you should spend in the sun.

Monthly examinations:

– As skin cancers detected early can easily be cured, it is essential that you examine your skin monthly.

– The “most important sign,” per OSHA, “is a spot on the skin that is changing in size shape, or color during a period of 1 month to 1 or 2 years.”

Skin cancers often appear in one of four ways:

– Pale, waxy, and shiny lumps

– Red, scaly, and sharply-outlined patches

– Sores that do not heal

– Small, mole-like growths (melanoma)

Blocking UV Rays

– Limit your exposure: “UV rays are most intense between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.”

– Cover up: “Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out light.”

– Use sunscreen: “A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of U.V. rays … Be sure to follow application instructions on the bottle.”

– Wear a hat: “A wide brim hat is ideal because it protects the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.”

– Wear UV-absorbent shades: “Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but they should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB radiation.”

5 Types of Belly Fat and How to Get Rid of Them

Excess fat deposits in the abdominal area negatively affect health and look extremely unattractive. However, the first things you should do in order to get rid of the belly fat is to discover the real cause of it.

It can be caused by various contributing factors, like an unhealthy diet, general weight gain, physical inactivity, and some health issue.

In general, there are 5 types of belly fat, and we offer an explanation for them all:

Bloated belly

Flatulence and bloating are often a result of some digestive issues. To treat them, drink plenty of water and increase the intake of probiotics.

Postpartum belly

The fat in the belly remains after childbirth, so to eliminate it, you should exercise and massage the abdominal area.

Alcohol belly

Excessive amounts of alcoholic drinks, like beer, and wine, are high in calories and negatively affect digestion. Therefore, limit the alcohol intake, and eat more fruit and vegetables.

Hormonal belly

Hormonal imbalances often cause weight gain and excess belly fat. To get rid of it, make some dietary changes and find a way to regulate your hormones.

Stressed-out belly

Daily stress and sleep deficiency lead to excess abdominal fat. To treat this issue, sleep at least 8 hours per night, limit the intake of caffeine, reduce stress, and avoid unhealthy foods.

Hunza People Never Get Sick, Don’t Get Cancer and Live up to 120 years – Here’s Their Secret

Have you ever heard about Hunza People?

There are many myths and stories about people who lived happy and healthy for a long, long time.

The myths like the one about  the  Holy Grail, or the Fountain of youth are still found quite interesting even after all these years.

But, it is no secret that there are many living people that live longer than the rest of us. There are even people that were never ever sick in their life.

So, what is the secret to a long and healthy life?

To answer that question, I went through the most amazing life stories of those centenarians who were willing to share their wisdom on the net.

To be honest, many of those stories were different and I was not able to make some final conclusion at first about the “secret” I was looking for. I found many different answers and they confused me even more.

For example, E.M from Italy lived 116 years, and she explained that the reason for her long life is staying single. She said: “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone”, so after her divorce, at the age of 38 she spent the rest of her life single. She even won the battle against anemia by eating two raw eggs a day her whole life.

Another life story about Mushatt- Jones tells about eating fried bacon every single day. A California centenarian told his secret was eating one donut a day…

Then I found out about the life story of C.E, who was born and raised on a farm. She explains that her family and she ate only what they grew and caught. She is still physically active, working out every day together with her friends.

Then, I found out stories about centenarian twins and their secret of getting older together and close as the main reason for their long life…

Confused as I was, I continued searching for the “secret”. An article about the Hunza people took my attention for I began to realize that I am closer to my answer. Hunza people or Hunzas are a population in a mountainous valley in the region of Pakistan.

The many reasons these people took my attention are the following:

1. The literacy rate of Hunza valley is more than 95%- which means that every Hunza has at least a high school diploma;

2. The Hunza region is home to people of four ethnicities;

3. There are two different religion in the Hunza region and people are divided between them, but;

4. The lifestyle of Hunza people is very simple and they are considered to be very welcoming and warm;

5. Some Hunzas live up to 150 years;

6. The women in Hunza can give birth at the age of 65.

7. They never eat processed food, and they eat apricot often and a lot.

8. They work in the fields from sunrise to sunset every day and they work hard.

Connecting together the dots of all the stories and facts presented above, here is my conclusion about how to have a long and healthy life:

1. You do need to educate through life. You can start developing a healthy mind in the young age, and you should never stop reading and thinking actively. Clarice Emley was a teacher, almost all Hunzas are educated, so we can say, we need a healthy developed brain activity to have a healthy life.

2. Single or not it doesn’t matter as long as you maintain healthy relationships during your whole life. “Healthy relationship” can sometimes mean a good connection with yourself, knowing and acknowledging all those hidden feelings, and helping them dissolve in a healthy energy, no matter how contagious they can be.

Using self- learning techniques and meditation can help you develop a better understanding of your needs and wishes, which can lead to a bigger and wider loving atmosphere for yourself and everyone around you.

Don’t hesitate to express your feelings, for suppressing them can sometimes lead to an abyss. Expressing your feelings can make your relationships “grow old” with you in a healthy direction.

So don’t stay away from marriage, but be able to “jump out” of an unstable and unhealthy one. At the end, it is your life that matters most, and the lives of those you love.

3. Avoid stress! Yes, stress is the greatest silent killer, the modern “exterminator” of life force.

Nowadays it is hard to ignore those stressful situations like hard working days, paying rents etc. but if you somehow manage to survive these modern obligations and complications, you should retire and slow down in some peaceful place, where you can reconnect with nature and try to live a calmer life.

4. Try to eat organic, natural food, and if you have the chance, grow it yourself. Maybe this is something you hear every day or even think of it often, but look at the Hunza people -they eat only what they grow, and they are healthy to the stadium they don’t even know what cancer is.

They die old and happy, seeing more in life than anyone of us. Maybe they don’t know what pizza is, but they see the sunrise many years after your last sunset.

They get to witness their great-grandchildren running and playing around. So think about that next time you reach for a fast food snack!

5. Don’t skip the physical activity! Even though it is hard, don’t give up! Think of all the working hours on the fields that Hunza people spend a day! It is hard but keeping your muscles “warm” can never be a bad thing.

Clarice Emley (we mentioned before) exercises every day. And she is 105! So, if she won’t give up her working out for the program, why should you? You are never getting younger but you should try to get older!

Yes, getting older is hard. Sometimes we have to give up many things and change our lives direction, but we do it for ourselves.

Why not try these things; maybe they will help you after all? Maybe you will live longer than anyone in your family. Maybe you will be the first one that can live for 200 years. And then, you will tell us your secret.

But till then, let’s use the knowledge of all those people that are older than 100 and still happy and healthy.

Good luck, and have a long and healthy life!