Anytime you are faced with a health choice, making sure you are asking the right question is equally as important as the answer.
When it comes to sunscreen versus going au naturale (or using something like coconut oil) because sunscreen blocks vitamin D and is loaded with chemicals, there’s a better root issue question: why are people deficient in Vitamin D in the first place?
This question leads to answers and solutions that enable you to sink below the illusion that science and the natural way are opposite. As it turns out, science keeps rediscovering the power of nature! And sunlight is proving to be integral to weight loss, hunger, sleep and every health function that matters.
Here’s what is important to know:
1. People spend way too much time in indoors today. Just like how weekend work-out warriors injure themselves going from sedentary to extreme, people who spend all week indoors and then spend all weekend outdoors or two weeks at the beach for vacation are going to burn. And we know burning is a cause of melanoma. So getting outside regularly during the week is good for “training your skin” to absorb the Vitamin D you need.
2. Your ability to absorb the sun and increase your Vitamin D levels are based in part upon your diet. I did an NBC segment on this. But, it was in 2010 so is no longer available. But the foods you need to know are shown below:
Tomatoes: Loaded with lycopene and flavanols, tomatoes help you absorb the skin. You can amp up their protection by adding healthy fats like olive oil (which is in the gazpacho in the clip!).
Olive oil and other healthy fats like walnuts: Healthy fats enable you to absorb all the goodies from fruits and vegetables. They also contain Omega 3s and Vitamin E which supports sun absorption.
Watermelon: My childhood favorite. Take a trip down memory lane while also digesting vitamins A and C, as well as lycopene, which has been shown to protect cells from UV damage.
Leafy Greens: Packed with anti-oxidants, the greens provide anti-oxidant, free radical uptake support to keep your skin primed for the sun instead of sun burn.
Rule of thumb to remember this? Healthy fats plus whatever is at the farmers market. Mother Nature serves up what makes sense for the season!
3. At a recent Functional Forum, a monthly gathering to discuss ongoing discoveries in functional medicine, I learned that emerging science is showing low vitamin D levels sometimes indicate an auto-immune issue. I’ve seen this with my own clients who have low levels despite supplementation. D levels will increase once you resolve the auto-immune issue.
So the unalarming but accurate health headline is that “Consistently eating from and frolicking in nature is scientifically proven to be fabulous.” Use your instincts regarding cover-ups after extended exposure, especially if you ignore the first two Rx’s.
Now go enjoy the summer and sun.