Whether vacationing at the beach, hiking with friends or walking the dog, you’ll want to know how you can soak up enough sun to get a healthy dose of vitamin D, without burning or damaging your skin.
There’s no need to shun the sun or cover yourself with sunblock from head to toe every time you leave the house. In fact, it’s better that you don’t. About one-fourth of Americans have borderline low levels of vitamin D. By learning these sun smart tips, you can benefit your body and get a peachy golden tan.
Get a Healthy Dose of “D”
Sunshine is the best source of natural vitamin D, which improves calcium and phosphate levels, supports mental health, strengthens bones, boosts immunity, fights cancer, reduces inflammation, improves mood and enhances wellbeing. Depending on your skin tone, age, diet, susceptibility to sunburn and the intensity of sunlight, a healthy dose of “D” is 15-60 minutes daily. Once you start turning pink, consider the reinforcements below.
Although it’s good to be pro-sunlight, you want to avoid getting a sunburn. First, seek morning or late afternoon sun and avoid midday, peak UV radiation. Second, bring an umbrella or find shade. Third, wear protective clothing such as hats, long sleeve shirts, pants, and sunglasses. Lastly, apply a low-toxin, mineral-based sunscreen.
Select Healthier Sunscreens
Many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals and hormone disruptors that release free radicals in sunlight, are absorbed through the skin, create hormonal imbalances, and can cause skin irritations/allergies. Always read the ingredients label and avoid oxybenzone, methoxycinnamate, PABA, and vitamin A (retinol or retinal palmitate). Choose mineral-based, low-toxin sunscreens.
Eat Protective Foods
Nutrient-dense foods high in antioxidants protect your skin from the inside out. Enjoy foods rich in beta-carotene (sustainably sourced unrefined red palm oil, carrots, sweet potatoes, red peppers), lycopene (tomatoes, pink grapefruit, watermelon) vitamin E (almonds, asparagus, pumpkin seeds), catechins and polyphenols (green/white tea), omega-3s and astaxathin (salmon, fish oil), resveratrol (blueberries, red grapes, red wine), natural saturated fats (coconut oil, pastured butter) and proanthocyanidins (grape seeds, blueberries, hazelnuts, pistachios).
Sample Sun Smart Menu
Wellness Coach, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner,