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Natural Sun Protection: Diet & Lifestyle Tips for Summer

It’s the heat of summer, and after a cold and dreary winter stretch in the Midwest, it’s only natural to crave as much time outside as possible. After all, fresh air combined with sunshine is a feel-good that naturally energizes and uplifts. Spending more time in nature, as indicative of summer, is nourishing, healing and rebalancing. 

Highlights:

  • At Nourished®, we refer to the sun as the “doctor in the sky” – just 15-20 minutes between the hours of 10am-2pm provides up to 20,000 IU of vitamin D.
  • Small amounts of sunshine on a consistent basis is great for boosting the mood and immune system, regulating hormones and sleep cycles, and strengthening the bones.
  • We encourage you to practice safe sun habits such as gradual exposure, eating an antioxidant-rich diet, avoiding showers within an hour of exposure and using more natural sunscreen.
  • Our Adaptogenic Matcha Lattes, Superfood Smoothies, Cleansing Soups, Chlorella Gelatin Shots, and Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters are packed with sun-protective antioxidants. Browse our Kitchen Market Monday through Friday from 9am-6pm or call 630.You.Well (968.9355) to place a curbside pickup order.

Why is this? Sunshine is the best, most absorbable source of vitamin D—a nutrient that up to 80% of Americans are deficient in. Vitamin D is so powerful that it’s actually categorized as a hormone rather than a vitamin, and every single one of your 100 trillion cells has a receptor for it!

At Nourished®, we refer to the sun as the “doctor in the sky.” Just 15-20 minutes provides you with up to 20,000 IU vitamin D. This small amount of sunshine on a consistent basis is great for boosting the mood and immune system, regulating hormones and sleep cycles, and strengthening the bones.

While the sun has incredible healing powers, just like everything, moderation is key. We’re all-too-familiar with sunburn after spending long periods of time in direct sunlight without protection. From fine lines and wrinkles to pigmentation, decreased skin elasticity and melanoma (skin cancer), over time, these sunburns are incredibly damaging and a catalyst for aging.

Protect yourself this summer by practicing these sun safety tips:

  1. Build a basemelanin, what gives skin its pigmentation, works as natural sun protection. The darker your skin is, the more melanin you have which is associated with a lowered risk of sun damage and skin cancer. Build melanin by exposing your skin to short increments of raw sun exposure until you achieve a nice base tan. At that point, most people can safely handle 15-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure 2-4 times per week during peak sun hours of 10am-2pm.
  2. Eat a colorful diet – brightly-colored foods such as tomatoes, carrots, berries, watermelon and dark chocolate contain powerful antioxidants that not only fight inflammation, but also protect your skin from free radical damage that’s caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. At Nourished®, we offer a variety of products that are packed with sun-protective antioxidants. These include, but are not limited to Adaptogenic Matcha Lattes, Superfood Smoothies, Cleansing Soups, Chlorella Gelatin Shots, and Dark Chocolate Almond Clusters.
  3. Expose your natural eyes to sunlight – eyes are the window to the pineal gland which helps balance your hormones. Raw sun exposure on your eyelids during the day and darkness at night helps regulate the body’s production of melatonin, a potent antioxidant that helps fight against UV damage.
  4. Avoid showering at least 1 hour after sun exposure – when UVB rays hit the surface of the skin, cholesterol in your skin has to convert those rays into the active form of vitamin D (D3) via the liver—a process that can take up to 48 hours! Since this does not happen immediately and cholesterol-containing body oils are essential to this conversion, it’s important to wait as long as possible before showering post-sunshine to maximize your absorption of vitamin D.
  5. Avoid chemical-laden sunscreen – even if you have built a good base, if you’re going to be outside for longer than 30 minutes, it’s important to either cover up with clothing, a hat, shade or chemical-free sunscreen. Clean sunscreen brands that we recommend include Badger® and ThinkSport®.

strawberry-cauliflower smoothie

At Nourished®, we consider sunshine to be one of the eight pillars of health alongside diet, exercise and water. Moderation is another pillar, and certainly holds true with sun exposure: too much sun results in skin cell damage, while too little increases your risk of vitamin D deficiency. By practicing safe sun habits such as gradual exposure, a diet rich in antioxidants, and use of more natural sunscreen and sun protection, you’ll minimize cellular damage and maximize the sun’s benefits while soaking up those mood-boosting rays!

1 Response
  1. Wear protective clothing. Cover your skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants and wide-brimmed hats. Also consider laundry additives, which give clothing an additional layer of ultraviolet protection for a certain number of washings, or special sun-protective clothing which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays.

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