Boost Your Heart with This Bad Habit
Over the years, you’ve probably heard a lot of doctors tell you to stay out of the sun. “Exposure to the sun is dangerous,” they say. “Being in the sun causes irreversible damage to your skin.”
If you’ve been reading the Journal for Healthy Living for a while, you’ve also heard me tell you this phobia over the sun isn’t just poor advice. It can be downright dangerous.
The sun is your #1 source of vitamin D. And I’ve shown you studies that link hiding from the sun to dangerously low vitamin D levels.
Now a new study from the University of Edinburgh reveals another good reason to get out and enjoy the sun. The sun’s “dangerous” rays may be important to your heart health.
Before I tell you about the study, please don’t misunderstand me. You can have too much of a good thing. Sunburn is not healthy. But neither is hiding from the sun.
Getting about 20 minutes of summer sun on your face and arms is enough for most people to keep their vitamin D at healthy levels. But new research shows for the first time that exposure to the sun’s rays may boost your health in another important way.
Here’s the story…
A team at the University of Edinburgh exposed 24 volunteers to the light from tanning beds, which closely resembles sunlight. Each volunteer sat through two 20-minute sessions.
In the one session, the light included the “dangerous” ultraviolet (UV) rays that cause tanning – and sunburn. In the Other session, the researchers cut out the UV rays.
After the UV session, the volunteers experienced a drop in blood pressure. But after the no-UV session, their blood pressure remained unchanged.
According to the researchers, exposure to UV light appears to boost your production of nitric oxide (NO).
NO makes your arteries more flexible and allows your blood to flow more freely. This promotes healthier blood pressure. And heart problems are often linked to high blood pressure.
According to the researchers, this effect shows that exposure to the sun’s UV light appears to promote heart health.
Plus, there was no difference in the volunteers’ vitamin D levels. The researchers say this shows the blood pressure effect is separate from sun’s ability to boost vitamin D.1
This also suggests you can’t get the same benefit by taking nutritional supplements that contain vitamin D.
What are the relative risks of sun exposure? In the United Kingdom, where the study was conducted, your chances of heart trouble are a lot higher than your risk of serious skin problems due to sun exposure. In fact, they’re 80 times higher.2
This is a small study, but the results are telling. I’ve said before that regular exposure to sunlight is healthy. If further study confirms these findings… we may finally see an end to modern medicine’s sunlight phobia.
Yours in continued good health,
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
1 Cowie, E., “Sunshine could benefit heart health and prolong life, study suggests,” University of Edingurgh. May 7, 2013.
2 “Sunshine Could Benefit Health and Prolong Life, Study Suggests,” ScienceDaily. May 7, 2013.