Atapa Snana the yogic phrase of the healing science and power of sun bathing has been giving people more reason to get enough sun exposure on a regular daily basis. People live in this modern world with bombarded and paranoid thoughts on how dangerous it is to be exposed to the sun. What people aren’t aware of is how ancient yogis, including numerous other cultures would use the suns healing power to treat all sorts of illnesses and to even bring out radiant health. The strange thing about modern beliefs is that people are blaming their skin problems on the sun when they should be blaming all the personal care products, from moisturizers to make up to sunscreen that contain carcinogenic ingredients that are being used on the skin every day.
The issue of skin cancer has been directly correlated to the introduction of and increased consumption of hydrogenated oils in our diet. Hydrogenated oils have replaced the good healthy oils that naturally occur in foods for the purposes of prolonging shelf life and the ease of manufacturing, distribution, and preservation of appearance concerns, all at the expense of our over-all health.
In addition, most of the cooking oils (such as corn oil, safflower, sunflower, sesame oils) on the market are so high in omega-6 fats (virtually 100%) that it distorts the healthy omega-6 to omega-3 ratio out of balance. This ratio is important in resistance towards cancer and most particularly skin cancer. The ideal ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 should be about 1:1 while the typical American is about 15:1.
In 2001, the National Academy of Sciences published a comprehensive review showing that the omega 6:3 ratio was the key to preventing skin cancer development. More on this study
When hydrogenated oil consumption is very limited and there is a high dietary intake of high quality essential fatty acid oils such as high quality extra virgin olive oil or grade 10 coconut oil, (see earlier newsletter on coconut oil) the health benefits of sunlight are enormous.
Here are some of the benefits of the sun:
Kills Bacteria: The German soldiers after the World War would use sunlight to help disinfect and heal their wounds faster. Ultraviolet light has antiseptic properties, healing wounds and clearing up such skin conditions as eczema, psoriasis, acne, boils, athlete’s foot and diaper rash.
Lowers Cholesterol: Sunlight converts cholesterol into usable substance necessary for proper hormone production assisting with thyroid balance, fat metabolism, sex hormone regulation, blood sugar stabilization, etc.
Lowers Blood Pressure: Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that exposure to ultraviolet light lowered the blood pressure of volunteers. The scientists believe that UV rays in sunlight cause nitrogen stored in the body to be released into the blood stream, relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. On the other hand medications prescribed to lower high blood pressure makes the skin very sensitive to sun’s rays so people on these medications are required to take special care of their skin.
Strengthens Immune System: Sunlight promotes red & white blood cell production thereby boosting the immune system. It also increases metabolism
Helps with pain & sleep: Sunlight regulates endorphin, serotonin and melatonin production helping to reduce pain, restore a sense of peace, promoting a better night sleep. Body can’t produce adequate amounts of melatonin if you are constantly wearing sunglasses.
Produces Vitamin D: Your body produces vitamin D3 naturally when exposed to sun’s ultraviolet rays, specifically UVB rays since they initiate vitamin D production. Vitamin D is not only important for bone health, it’s also beneficial for illnesses such as multiple sclerosis, colon cancer, inflammation, depression, and seasonal disorders. Daily sun exposure allows you to receive 90% of vitamin D. The body can basically convert sun to vitamin D only when it already has good fats, good oils, and is not covered with moisturizer, sunscreen and other lotions.
Sun Safety Tips and Sunscreen
As beneficial as the sun is it doesn’t mean you don’t have to take safety measures such as not to stay in the sun for long periods, if you have fair skin wear light colored long sleeve clothing after being in the sun for 20-minutes, don’t be in the sun at pick hours, use healthy sunblock.
Sunscreens definitely have some drawbacks if you choose the wrong ones. Some products contain ingredients that are linked to hormone disruption, cancer, etc. To see if your sunscreen is safe or chose the safest sun protection click here.