“Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.” Genesis 1:16
Is it purely co-incidence that sunlight feels so good on our skin? No. Sunlight is very good for humans - in the correct amounts.
Many people think sunlight is aging to the skin. But eating mostly whole plant foods (foods grown in the soil, mostly unprocessed) and avoiding overexposure to sunlight, keeps the skin soft and flexible and gives it a healthy glow.
Sunlight also produces vitamin D in the skin. We’ve all heard people talk about vitamin D in relation to calcium. But how does this actually work?
Well, vitamin D is necessary so calcium can be absorbed from the foods we eat, then the calcium is in the blood and is available for strong bone production and maintenance. Vitamin D is made from a waxy, fatty substance called cholesterol, when the skin is exposed to the sun.So exposing the skin repeatedly (and carefully) to sunlight draws cholesterol out of the blood into the skin (to create vitamin D) and thus lowers the levels of cholesterol in the blood. And as high blood cholesterol is a major contributor to heart disease, careful exposure to sun is one way to prevent the risk of heart disease (which leads to heart attacks and strokes).
As well as helping to prevent heart disease, lowering blood cholesterol increases blood circulation and allows the red blood cells to carry more oxygen to the cells. And remember, oxygen promotes healthy cells and is deadly to cancer cells and many infectious germs.
Sunlight kills bacteria on the skin, in the air and in water. That’s why drying clothes and laundry in the sunshine is far superior to using an electric clothes drier.
Sunlight increases the number of white blood cells in the blood and increases their efficiency in killing germs and cancer cells.
Sunlight also: lowers the blood sugar levels; stimulates the liver in its work of detoxifying poisonous substances in the blood; strengthens muscles; reduces stress; promotes sleep and aids the regulation of hormone production.
Do you know of one medicine which can achieve so much?
We can compare the healing properties of the sun with the healing which the Son of God brings to the whole person - mentally, physically and spiritually:
“To you who fear My name the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings.” Malachi 4:2
As we enjoy the healing effects of the sun, we can reflect on the great love God has for each and every human being:
“‘But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you. do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.’” Matthew 5:44-45
To get the most out of the sun’s healing rays, we need to know how much sun we need and when to get it.
For the best vitamin D intake, we need sunlight every day.
“That can’t be true,” you say, “what about skin cancer?” Because New Zealand has the highest rate of malignant melanoma in the world, some people shun sunbathing entirely.
Instead of blaming the sun, we New Zealanders need to:
In his book “Sunlight”, Zane R Kime, MD, MS warns:
“It is not only the dietary fat that promotes skin cancer formation, but also fat or oil applied directly to the skin. This is why sunbathing lotion, cream, or oil cannot be recommended, for they may stimulate cancer formation.”
“Thirty-five percent of energy (35%) came from fat in the diet of both males and females.” NZ Food : NZ People, 1997 National Nutrition Survey
“A recent survey of sun exposure, sunburn and sun protection found that on any sunny weekend in summer, three out of four adult New Zealanders are out in the sun for relatively long periods of time. One in five of these exposed adults will get sunburned.” The State of the Public Health in NZ 1995, p172
A simple rule for the best time to sunbathe is when our shadows are longer than our heights. As you can imagine, this is not the hottest part of the day. In the summer sun, start with about two minutes on each side - front, back, left side, right side - and increase by about a minute every day. Never sunburn - this increases the risk of skin cancer.
Even on a moderately overcast day about 80% of the sun’s ultra violet rays get through to the earth. So we can still be assured of getting enough sun for good health. In fact, if we wear light coloured, loosely woven clothing, such as cotton, the rays can reach through to our skin. At the beach, where sand reflects about 17% of the ultra violet rays, it is safer to be clothed than to risk sunburn.
But an overdose of sunlight is not the only factor in skin cancer.
Remember a high fat diet increases any person’s risk of developing cancer in any part of the body.