The sun stimulates the synthesis of vitamin D, the release of beta endorphins, the hormones of well-being, and that of nitric oxide, able to lower blood pressure.
In ancient Egypt the sun, represented by the god Ra, struggled every night against the snake god Apofi, the incarnation of chaos and darkness that wanted to prevent him from rising. Every night the priests prayed that Ra would win the fight and the sun would return to shine the next day and guarantee life, wellbeing and prosperity. Beyond the myth the central point is that the sun is essential to life, the sun in fact activates the chlorophyll photosynthesis of plants, which in this way take nourishment, grow and produce their fruits but also release oxygen and, as demonstrated by the studies of NASA performed in the 80s, they can absorb toxic and carcinogenic substances by improving air quality. The sun provides energy to our homes and to many tools that we use in our daily life, warms the water, but the sun is also essential to our body. First of all, the sun makes it possible to synthesize vitamin D, that for 90% is synthesized right from the skin through the action of the sun's rays. Vitamin D is a pro hormone that increases our natural defenses and has also an anti-cancer action. In fact, as reported in the article published in the scientific journal The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2007 by an American team (Lappe et al), optimal levels of vitamin D reduce the risk of developing all types of cancer in post-menopausal women. Moreover, vitamin D promotes the absorption and fixation of calcium in the bones and is therefore useful to counteract osteoporosis. To reach the optimal amount of vitamin D you should expose at least three quarters of your body to the sun for 20-30 minutes. But the sun also has beneficial effects on blood pressure. In fact, the ultraviolet component of the sun's rays stimulates the skin to release nitric oxide, able to lower the arterial pressure because it promotes the dilation of blood vessels (Liu et al, J Invest Dermatol, 2014). Finally, exposure to sunlight stimulates the release of beta endorphins, the well-being hormones that work as antidepressants. However, we must pay attention, the sun, as we have just seen, is good for our body, from the point of view of both health and mood, but it should be taken with moderation. In fact, excessive sun exposure increases the risk of skin tumors and causes premature aging of the skin since the sun increases the production of free radicals. Therefore, avoid the central hours of the day and sunbathe with the necessary precautions, using sunscreens. It is also important to introduce, with the diet, the precious antioxidants that help to fight free radicals. Perfect foods are the berries, grapes, oranges, peppers, kiwi, just to mention some sources of these powerful substances.