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The health benefits of a bit of sunshine

33097891_MWhen you think of the sun, your first thought might be about the damage it can do. That’s why we stay out of the sun when we can and slather on sunscreen when we’re outdoors during the day. Yet small amounts of sunshine can provide a major boost to your health and mood.

How much is just enough? Many medical experts say just 5-10 minutes of sun exposure a couple of times a week is ideal. What are the benefits of sensible sun exposure? Take a look at our list below. And make sure whenever you’re out in the sun, you wear a quality pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.

  • Vitamin D: Your body produces vitamin D when bare skin is exposed to the sun. Ample vitamin D is formed well before you get a tan or sunburn, so don’t overdo it! Vitamin D also helps maintain bone density. In addition to getting some rays, fish like salmon and tuna pack a punch of vitamin D. Fortified milk and orange juice and supplements also are good sources.
  • A serotonin boost: Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate your mood. Too little of it has been linked to anxiety, insomnia, obesity and other health conditions. The right amount can foster a feeling of well-being. The amount of serotonin in the brain has been found to be in direct correlation with light exposure.
  • More energy: Exposure to sunlight in the morning can help keep your sleep-wake cycles regulated so that you sleep better, wake up easier and have more energy during the day. So soak up some morning sunshine! Studies show that sun exposure later in the day doesn’t seem to have the same effect, so open those shades or take a walk first thing in the morning.

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