The sun gets such a bad rap, you know? And it's really not fair, when you think about it. I mean, consider what the big fireball can do (wrinkles and skin cancer and bleached-out highlights not withstanding)! The sun sustains life on this planet. In about a billion different ways, some of which we're still discovering. Perfect example: Researchers recently found that high doses of vitamin D, which the body produces when exposed to sunlight, can help fight drug-resistant tuberculosis. (Good thing, since the drugs don't seem to work anymore!)
Guess doctors were on to something in the 1800's when they sent TB patients to "retreats" where ailing types basically sat in the sun all day. Back then they called it "heliotherapy," but the sunshine treatment can do wonders no matter what you call it. (Of course, back then they didn't use sunscreen either, which I am OBVIOUSLY not advocating, but you get the idea.)
Here are 5 great reasons to soak up the sun today:
1. Stronger bones. Not only does Vitamin D allow the intestine to absorb bone-boosting nutrients like calcium and phosphorus, it also helps to prevent brittle bones caused by Osteomalacia and rickets, a skeletal deformity.
2. Better moods. The latest studies link depression to Vitamin D deficiency, which can be an especially tricky relationship because of the snowball effect (Vitamin D-deficiency leads to depression which leads to lack of exercise, time spent outdoors and poor diet which leads to deeper depression which leads to ... you get the gist).
3. Healthier heart. Vitamin D helps to regulate blood pressure and improves the cardiovascular system overall by providing a protective lining for the blood vessels.