Some sunshine is good for the soul, but I always make sure I wear a big hat.
Model Miranda Kerr has it right. Sunshine certainly has it’s gift to us in lifting our moods, getting us outdoors, feeding nature, and providing healthy doses of Vitamin D. If you have been like me in the past, I grew up in the sun and have spent and spend lots of time in the sun. Not as a sunbather, but being active and enjoying many outdoor activities.
Unfortunately, it did catch up to me. I recently had a skin cancer removed called a Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). My dermatologist said I’m about 20 years too early for this type of cancer. Unlike a more frequent and common type in my age group, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), SCC’s types have potential to spread. Thankfully, I had surgery and all is well.
Here are necessary guidelines to follow to reduce risk, but still enjoying time in the sun: Seek Shade from 10am to 4pm. Do NOT burn, Cover-up with UV-clothing if out in sun during those hours. Use broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen SPF 15 and above. Apply to skin 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every 2 hours. Skin screenings every year and learn to examine your own skin and have it checked if you become concerned about a lesion.
One of the benefits of having some sun-exposure, is the rich source of Vitamin D3 that it provides. However, as we age our capacity to absorb and produce Vitamin D decreases. Plus, because many of us are using sunscreens, we aren’t deriving the sunshine’s benefit of D3. And sadly, the average American diet does not lend itself to diets with rich sources of Vitamin D.
If you are over 40, have your Vitamin D3 level checked. Low levels will sometimes be treated with prescription Vitamin D3 and others treat with daily doses of 2,000iu/day. If you prefer to get from your fish, milks (soy, dairy, almond, coconut), and cereals are common sources.
Optimal Vitamin D levels (between 55-75ng/ml) may help in prevention of Osteoporosis, depression, inflammatory conditions, heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. But, of course, it just seems to make sense, that if we are following a healthy nutritional base, exercising, and getting outdoors to take in some of the goodness the sun offers, health prospers. So put on your sunscreen, a jacket, and hit the beautiful trails that our Sierra Nevada range offers. Big Love!
Sherri Aikin is a Fellow of Integrative Medicine, Nurse Practitioner, Sex Counselor, Mindfulness Facilitator, and Life Coach.
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