In the past few decades, sunbathing has been criticized for increasing the risk of skin cancer, and its benefits have been ignored. What are the benefits of sunbathing? Learn what they are and how much sun is good.
Vitamin D is often listed as the most important benefit of exposure to sunlight, but recent studies have shown that sunlight is beneficial for more than that.
Sunlight Health Benefits
The human body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight and this leads to plenty of indirect benefits. Vitamin D has been linked to an increase in the body's immunity, and it's also important for bone growth, especially in young children. Vitamin D also plays a part in controlling blood pressure.
One piece of the puzzle has been missing, since vitamin D supplements alone have been shown to be unable to compensate for a complete lack of sunshine.
A new study conducted at the Edinburgh University has found another important benefit of sunbathing. Along with vitamin D, the body also seems to produce more nitric oxide, which lowers blood pressure significantly.
Since a lot more people die of cardiovascular problems than of skin cancer, the researchers suggest that the health benefits of sunbathing have been ignored and its risks have become the main focus.
How Much Sun is Good
Luckily, getting the benefits of vitamin D and nitric oxide doesn't take long. Exposure to direct sunlight should be limited to 15 minutes a day or even two or three times a week if it takes place at midday.
If you want to enjoy the full benefits of sunbathing, you should know that the exposure to the sun's UVA/UVB rays can happen on any part of your body. Your face, neck and arms are most prone to skin cancer, so try to get the sunlight health benefits by exposing your back or legs.
Sunbathing Pros and Cons
The pros of sunbathing are linked to vitamin D and nitric oxide, which together may help reduce the rate of death caused by stroke or other heart disease, but the cons outweigh the benefits for many people.
For many people, using a good sunscreen and enjoying the health benefits of sunbathing is a way of life, but in order to decrease the risk of skin cancer, experts advise to check moles monthly and go to a dermatologist if there's any change in size, shape or color.