THE SUN: Friend or Foe
The Song of the Sun - Mike Oldfield
It greets us in the morning, sometimes pleasantly, sometimes not. It warms us in the cooler seasons of the year and makes us too gosh darn hot in warmer weather. The flowers and green plants reach toward the light of the sun, like a child reaching for a parent to be picked up. It warms the earth, melts the winter's snow, dries up the rain after springs' showers. The sun warms the cold water of our backyard pools and the waters of the oceans as we swim at the beach.
When the light of the sun shines upon an object, we are able to see it as it truly is. The reflections of the objects in relation to the sun causes us to see the red of tomatoes, the yellow of bananas, the green of the leaves of the trees and the bright white of the snow. It even naturally gives highlight to our hair without out of pocket expense! Those wonderful rays of the sun also provide us with that much needed nutrient, Vitamin D.
VITAMIN D: Necessary for proper bone growth and the maintenance of sufficient density of bone. Therefore, the lack thereof can contribute to the wasting away of bone (osteoporosis), teeth that are poorly developed and an increase of muscle spasms. Ah, the wonderful works of the sun! A good friend.
Prescription meds may be needed for persons who are experiencing adverse symptoms due to low levels of Vitamin D. Including foods rich in Vitamin D will help maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D, as well as spending time outside to get fresh air and sunshine.
Some foods rich in Vitamin D are:
Fish:: Tuna, salmon and sardines (in oil))
Eggs; (The higher the brand quality, the more beneficial is the Vitamin D content).
Mushrooms: Like our bodies, mushrooms produce Vitamin D when exposed to the sun.
Milk: Usually provides approximately 25% of Vitamin D. Other dairy products may or may not be fortified with Vitamin D. Reading the nutrient label is important.
Cereals: Most cereals are fortified with Vitamin D.
Fruit Juice: Some fruit juices are now fortified with Vitamin D.
BENEFITS OF THE 'D' VITAMIN:
Vitamin D is beneficial to cell growth, strengthening the immune system, reduces inflammation, aids in the growth and health of the skeletal system and along with calcium, aids in the prevention of osteoporosis, (Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption). Vitamin D is a great defense against cancer, diabetes and heart disorders. It also aids in the lowering of blood pressure, therefore is a prevention measure against high blood pressure. It aids in the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Symptoms of deficiency in Vitamin D levels include, but are not limited to joint pain, extreme fatigue, muscle cramps and spasms, muscle weakness and tingling of the extremities; height growth may be affected as well.
What, exactly, is the sun: The source of energy for the earth, heat. A luminous body of light, known as "white light". It is the light we see. A star, which other planets orbit (circle around).
Since the sun is so good for us, what could possibly be the dangers of it?
Overexposure: Resulting in sunburn. When severe, should be treated by a medical doctor. May cause:
*melanoma- Possible due to overexposure of the sun's UV (ultraviolet) rays. It will appear on the skin as a type of 'wart'.
*skin cancer-Lesions, which appear on the surface of the skin. They are malignant (grow rapidly and can cause great harm and the possibility of death).
Be mindful of how much time you spend in the sun. If you are going to be in the sun during the hours it is most intense (10:00a.m.-4:00p.m.) it is best to take the following necessary precautions:
*Wear a hat: Preferably one with a wide brim to protect the face, ears, neck/shoulders. Note: An umbrella or a parasol is also excellent protection from the rays of the sun.
*Wear sunglasses: To protect your eyes from the glare of the sun. This is also a good idea for winter as the combination of the suns rays and the brightness of the snow can have a blinding effect on the eyes.
*Use sunscreen: Preferably with a SPF (sunscreen protection factor) of 15 or higher. There was a time when lotions containing a lesser level of SPF were sufficient. However, due to the deterioation of the ozone layer, a higher SPF gives the best protection.
The ozone layer consists of pale blue oxygen which gives the air its 'fresh' aroma. Its function is to absorb a high percentage of the suns ultraviolet rays. Due to its deterioation, we are more at risk to the exposure and dangers of ultraviolet rays.
*Ultraviolet rays: The 'unseen' part of the violet end of the light spectrum. These rays are used in radiation.
*Prescription medications: Another precaution we should be aware of is the effect the rays of the sun may have on us when taking certain prescription medications. In this, even as little as 5-10 minutes in the sun can cause adverse effects. It is wise to check the labels on your prescription medicine containers as the danger may apply not only in regards to the sun, but to artificial light as well. This precaution may also apply to certain over the counter medications, too.
So what will we now say? Is the sun our friend, or foe? The sun is definitely our friend! It is only 'foe' toward us when we do not take the necessary precautions; and when we, the inhabitants of this great planet called earth, are not careful, respectful and consciously minded towards our environment and the care of our bodies.
Its nice to have the sun as our friend.