Friday, August 13, 2010

Eat and Live in Harmony with the Sun

The sun is the ultimate source of life on Earth and regular exposure to sunlight is extremely important for building and maintaining great health. For many years now, doctors have been recommending sunscreen for protection from the sun to prevent sunburn and skin cancer. More recently, research has revealed this advice to be misguided. Sunscreens actually add to the problem of skin damage rather than solve it. The truth is that the sun is completely harmless unless we expose our bodies to it for unduly long periods of time, especially between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in summer.

Sunscreens typically block UV rays in one of two ways-
1- by using a physical sun filter, such as talc, titanium oxide or zinc oxide
2- by using chemicals, whose active ingredients include methoxycinnamate, p-aminobenzoic acid, benzophenone and other agents that absorb certain sunburning UV frequencies while allowing others to pass through.

So- what's the problem with this? All suncreens block out the beneficial effects of the sun. Sunscreen lotions containing para-aminobenzoic acid (abbreviated PABA), not only block out the therapeutic effects of sunlight, but may also cause genetic damage to your skin. In fact, a report by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently included evidence that fourteen out of seventeen suntan lotions containing PABA may be carcinogenic. Sunscreen also interferes with and destroys the skin's own protective mechanisms against overexposure to the sun, making it more susceptible to permanent damage and abnormal cell growth.

Sunburn as a Biological Warning Sign...
An interesting study was done in Western Europe and Scandinavia in 1995: It showed that frequent users of sunscreen lotion actually suffered disproportionately higher rates of skin cancer. Why? The report states: "Sunscreens containing only ultraviolet B blocks protect against sunburn and therfore enable greater exposure to ultraviolet A (UVA) than would otherwise be possibile to obtain." Ayurvedic practitioner and author, Andreas Moritz, explains this phenomenon by pointing out hat sunburn is your body's natural defense against more serious damage, such as skin cancer. It is a warning sign that you're spending too much time in direct sun with your skin exposed: And, blocking a sunburn or ignoring your body's signals to seek a balance of shade and sunlight during the day, undermines your health. Common sense is key.

If you need to be or plan on being out in the sun all day long, what can you do to prevent sunburn? 
Here are SEVEN tips to do just that...

1-  Build up your exposure gradually.  Your body can adjust to being in the sun all day without damage as long as you give it time to adjust.   
2-  Wear light clothing (such as linen or cotton) that covers your skin, but keeps you cool.  Wear a hat that protects your face.  This is old-fashioned sun protection!
3- Take in foods and teas known to contain a mix of special nutrients and anti-oxidants that specifically protect you against sun damage:  Some examples include Rooibos tea, carrot juice, spirulina, aloe vera juice, chlorella, spirulina, goji berries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and maca.  Maca has been used by the people of Peru for centuries to work long hours in the sun safely at high altitudes.  Maca is obtainable as a powder, which can be added to fruit smoothies or raw chocolate drinks.  Visit my authentic food resources tab for sources of organically grown maca.
4- Avoid polyunsaturated fats, such as corn, canola, and soy oils (found in most processed foods).  A person who eats polyunsaturated fats and exposes his skin to UV light to the point of reddening promoduces hormone-like substances called prostaglandins from the linoleic acid contained in the fats.  Prostaglandins suppress the immune system, contributing to tumor growth.  Eat and cook with extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin coconut oil, palm oil, sesame oil, or ghee instead. 
5- Skip the sunglasses:  Exposure to the sun makes us tan because this stimulates our pituitary glands (which gets its information from the optic nerve) to produce a hormone that triggers the melanocytes in our skin to make more melanin.  When you wear sunglasses, less sunlight reaches your optic nerve, and less warning is sent to your pituitary gland, and less melanin is made. Since melanin is there to protect our cells from the damaging effects of UV radiation, we are more likely to get a sunburn while wearing sunglasses.
6- Rub extra virgin coconut oil on your skin daily.  Coconut oil is a natural sunscreen that prevents burn, yet still allows beneficial rays to penetrate into your skin and Vitamin D to be produced by your body.
7- Remember that the sun is your ally!  When you eat right, the sun offers benefits including enhancing energy, endurance, and muscular strength, improving your immunity, and increasing hormone levels.

Source: Timeless Secrets of Health & Rejuvenation by Andreas Moritz.

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