Eat your sunscreen
Did you know that certain foods can protect you from sun damage? Produce and plants, in their whole form, contain several complex compounds that prevent us from the harmful effects of UV radiation, and are delicious at the same time! This article highligh
Slip slop slap’ before heading outdoors is what Aussies have been accustomed to hearing. Current media focus – with many years of messages about the increased incidence of skin cancers and the dangers of overexposure to the sun – has created the perception that we should avoid the sun.
The amount of UV radiation reaching the earth’s surface has noticeably increased in recent years. With the hole in the ozone layer, Australians are at even more risk of sun damage.
Several clinical and laboratory studies have confirmed that UV radiation from the sun causes inflammation of the skin and free radical damage (molecules that damage our skin). Acute effects of excess UV exposure include sunburn, redness, and photosensitivity, while chronic effects include skin cancer, premature ageing, immune suppression and reduced circulation to skin cells.
Why we need sunshine
The best-known benefit of sunlight is its ability to supply vitamin D (as 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3). A lightskinned person in a bathing suit, when out for 30 minutes on a sunny midday, will produce approximately 50,000 IU of vitamin D in the next 24 hours – a little more than your prescribed 1,000 IU tablet a day. Since melanin (the pigment giving skin its colour) reduces UV radiation exposure, a tanned or naturally darker-skinned individual produces 20,000 to 30,000 IU in 30 minutes. For very dark-skinned individuals, only 8,000 to 10,000 IU of vitamin D is produced.
Aside from the synthesis of vitamin D, sunlight is also beneficial for healthy immune suppression that can assist in the prevention of auto-immune diseases, including psoriasis, and increases the release of endorphins; hence sunshine always makes us happy.