Summer fun brings with it outdoor activities, fresh air, and lots of sun! Sunshine can be very healthy because our bodies use it to create immune boosting Vitamin D, in which many people are deficient. To make Vitamin D, sunshine has to hit your bare skin directly. That’s why a certain amount of sun exposure is great for your health. However, too much sun can cause your skin to burn, creating damage to the cells, increasing your risk for skin cancer, and encouraging premature wrinkles. The key is to find the balance between healthy immune boosting sunshine and overexposure.
If you are planning outdoor activities, here are some guidelines for healthy
1. Know Your Limit.
We all tolerate the sun differently based on genetics. People with fair skin tend to burn quicker and need less exposure. It’s important to know what your threshold is. If you have fair skin, start with only 15 minutes of sun on your bare skin before using sun protection. If you have a darker skin tone, you might try longer. It also depends on the location of the sun and the time of year. At the peak of summer, UVB rays can be especially potent. Use your best judgment and aim for smaller amounts of exposure more frequently to get the best immune boost.
2. Avoid Toxic Sunscreens.
Many sunscreens on the market have toxic chemicals that get
absorbed directly into your bloodstream. If you’re going to use sunscreen, use all-natural alternatives. One resource to find the perfect sunscreen is the "Environmental Working Group - Guide to Safer Sunscreens".
Another alternative is to cover your skin. UVB rays need direct skin contact to do damage. That’s why we get tan lines in areas that are covered by our clothes. Some cover-ups include bathing suit wraps, hats or shawls, or even long sleeve shirts. If you are going to be adding layers of clothing as a cover-up option, it is important to stay cool and hydrated. Sometimes, even our best attempts to avoid overexposure can fail, resulting in sunburn. Or, maybe you have sun damage from the past.
Here are some tips to help heal and repair the skin:
1. Aloe Vera.
For immediate sunburns, apply a light layer of fresh aloe to the skin. If you have an aloe plant, simply snap off a few stems, break them open, and apply the pulp directly to your skin. The gel will not only cool the skin, research is showing that properties in the plant help moisturize and heal the skin. You can also get gels made with healing Aloe oil from your local health food store.
To repair damage from the inside out, add potent antioxidants to your diet. These powerful nutrients help to both protect the skin and heal it from sun damage. Foods high in Vitamin C are especially healing for the skin such as papayas, bell peppers, strawberries, broccoli, and pineapple. Add these to your salads, fresh smoothies, or eat raw.
Fun Facts about Turmeric! (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has
been used medicinally throughout the world. It is what gives mustard its yellow color, and is one of the star ingredients in curry. Turmeric has many cancer-fighting properties. Turmeric also has anti-inflammatory properties that help with conditions like IBS and Rheumatoid Arthritis. It also has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and is especially effective for breast, prostate, lung, colon, and prostate cancer. This superfood also helps lower the risk of leukemia, improves liver function, boosts the cardiovascular system, helps lower cholesterol, and may offer protection against Alzheimer's Disease. Everyone can benefit from having more Turmeric in their diet. Try adding it to egg salad and deviled eggs, use it to flavor rice and soups, add it to salad dressings, or season steamed veggies with it. Be careful, its potent yellow color can stain!
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