Let me paint you a picture I only wish I could paint more often.
I’m currently sitting at my garden table in a favourite summer dress, with an umbrella shading my laptop from the blazing afternoon sun.
It was only a few years ago that my reaction to a day like this would have been to draw the blinds to get rid of the glare on my screen. Now? You’ll find me transporting my office outside to work amidst a chorus of buzzing and birdsong. What is going on?
The more I study health and meet people around the world who are enjoying extraordinary levels of it, the more convinced I am that getting enough sun exposure is one of the single most health-promoting things we can do.
And the main reason for that is vitamin D: a nutrient that can literally make or break your health.
It’s needed for (among other things) a peak-functioning immune system, hormonal balance, happy brain chemistry, mental agility, and strong bones.
Vitamin D expert Dr Michael F. Holick estimates that vitamin D deficiency is “the most common medical condition in the world.”
And it’s a deficiency that’s been linked with (again, among other things) osteoporosis, depression, dementia, multiple sclerosis and cancer.
We can get some of our vitamin D from food.
But we can’t get enough and nature intended us to get the majority of our vitamin D from sunlight. It didn’t intend us to live out our lives indoors nor to be so afraid of the sun’s rays we do all possible to shield ourselves from them.
Yes, of course there’s such a thing as too much sun. No, burning is never healthy.
But to get enough vitamin D you’ll need to be exposing your bare skin to the sun regularly – where bare means sans sunscreen.
The more skin you’re exposing and the brighter the sun is shining, the less time it will take. If you’re light-skinned, between 20 and 30 minutes is often plenty. If you’re dark-skinned, you’ll likely need an hour or more.
Make sun exposure a part of your routine.
I promise you: there is little that will make you feel as good, as quickly.