Have you ever noticed that a thirty-minute walk on a sunny day brings about a boost of confidence and feelings of calmness? The sun is a natural inducer for the production of the hormone serotonin which brings about feelings of wellness. The sun has a lot of influence on health and personal well being but first, let us look at the sun in history.
The Ancients’ View of the Sun
Ever since the very first ancient civilizations like the Sumerians of Mesopotamia (4500 BC) and Ancient Egypt (3000 BC), the sun was associated with mystical powers. Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Egypt are some examples of structures that point towards sun worship.
The Greeks and Romans worshiped the solar planetary deities including the sun. June 21st, the summer solstice was the beginning of the new year for some ancient Greek civilizations. On this date, the Romans pay homage to Vesta, the goddess of the hearth.
Health Properties of the Sun
- As mentioned earlier, the sun boosts the levels of the hormone serotonin in the body which brings about calmness.
- The sun is a source of Vitamin D. The skin converts the sun’s UV rays into Vitamin D. 15 to 30-minute exposure to the sun on face and arms five times a week should be enough.
- The sun indirectly plays a role in the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in the body which facilitates healthy bones and nerve transmission respectively. Vitamin 0 controls the incorporation of these minerals.
- Exposure to sunlight keeps the circadian rhythm in check. When serotonin is produced in the sun, it means that the hormone melatonin (induced by darkness) fosters a good night’s rest keeping the body fresh to carry out activities when awake.
- The sun keeps stress and depression at bay because with serotonin boosted, cortisol and stress hormones are limited. It prevents Season Affective Disorder (SAD)
Sun exposure should be regulated because over-exposure can be damaging to the skin. Generally, dark-skinned people should spend more time in the sun while light-skinned people should keep it to a minimum.