The other day I was walking down a shady street. As I got to the corner there was a small area where the sun was shining. I took a moment to stop and feel the warm sun on my face. I closed my eyes and imagined being at the beach and feeling a nice warm breeze. I also imagined the sunlight stimulating my third eye (the pineal gland). I felt an instant state of calm. Then an ambulance whizzed by and it was back to reality. Sun exposure can be extremely beneficial to the mind and body. Exposure to the sun is critical in optimizing hormonal function in the body and in producing Vitamin D, which is fact a steroid hormone, not a true vitamin. If your hormones are balanced you can ensure that your body will function at an optimal level. Follow the tips below so that you can optimize your time in the sun this summer:
1) Antioxidants – Excess sun exposure causes free radical damage. Free radicals in the body cause oxidation (when you cut an apple and it turns brown) which in turn causes damage to the cells in your body and can ultimately lead to accelerated aging. Consuming lots of antioxidant rich foods can be extremely beneficial –blueberries, leafy greens and citrus fruits are great. It can also help to get an extra boost by taking an antioxidant supplement throughout the summer months. Astaxanthin is often know as an “internal sunscreen” for its ability to ward off the damaging effects of the sun. Vitamin C and E can also be beneficial. One last alternative for boosting your antioxidant count would include consuming ionized water. Ionizer water machines such as the Kangen water machine are often known for their ability to produce alkaline water, however, the real benefit is the abiltity of the water to combat free radicals in the body.
2) Build A Base – No, don’t go to a tanning salon like you used to before spring break. At the start of the summer, get a little sun exposure for a few minutes each day. Eat your lunch in the park, take your shirt off if you can, roll up your pants or wear shorts. You will slowly build a base so that when you hit the beach on the weekend it won’t be a complete shock to your body. If this is not possible be sure to follow tip three very closely until you are “ready”.
3) Shield Yourself – Always go to the beach armed with a good hat and an umbrella. You don’t have to wear the hat all day and you don’t have to sit under the umbrella the entire time, but when you need a break, they are there. I wear a huge straw hat that makes me look more like a lifeguard or judge at a surf competition. Also, don’t be afraid to cover up. I often throw on a light long sleeve button down when I am out of the water.
4) Sunscreen Lowdown – I, personally, rarely use sunscreen. I am not saying you should do the same, but be smart about it. I am anti-sunscreen for two main reasons, one, most sunscreens are highly toxic for both our body and the environment, two, it will block production of vitamin D. Coral reef destruction in high volume tourist beaches is a major issue. If you do decide to use lotion make sure that it is non-toxic and that it is a lotion not a spray. You can look up your sunscreen and other personal hygiene products on ewg.org.
Tips – If you do get burned, some real aloe is a time-tested cure. If you don’t have an aloe plant you can buy real aloe leaves online. If you have access to alkaline water or very high pH water (11.5) you can spray that on and the burn will be gone the next day.