A little ray of sunshine

Vine ripened. They’re kind of special, aren’t they. They taste better. They look better. Better colour. Better texture. So it seems kind of funny this fear we have of the sun. It’s a bit like being afraid of life itself, isn’t it. Because without the sun, there is no life. And yet we are all afraid to enjoy its rays. ‘Slip, slop, slap’ they implore us and we mindlessly follow. Even in winter. Even on those cooler days. Even in those southern climates.

 And I often wonder, at what cost?

 And what are we teaching our children?

Because it drives me nuts when my kids have to wear hats to play at school even on those days when common sense should prevail. After all, we need the sun to help us make our Vitamin D. And many people don’t realise our immune systems need a good healthy dose of Vitamin D to protect us from cancer.

So, whenever I get my bloods done, I am always sure to check my Vitamin D levels. And I’m delighted when they are nice and high. In fact, my radiation oncologist expressed surprise when she saw my last results. Great levels. She hardly ever sees them she said. And that’s a frightening thing when you consider we need this vitamin to protect ourselves from cancer. And there seems to be a trend toward low Vitamin D. And not just in people experiencing cancer. But those with depression and other auto-immune diseases too. It’s really no surprise then to see the prevalence of breast cancer is greater in areas where the sun is not as strong. And that depression is on the rise too. And rickets in our kids. There’s even research to suggest that some of the more serious allergies are due to a lack of Vitamin D in utero. No surprise we’re running into these problems. Because we’re all too afraid to get out in the sun and get some rays. And that’s often the way with a knee-jerk reaction, isn’t it. In hindsight, not necessarily best. Not necessarily well thought out. Because these reactions always stem from fear, don’t they.

Not so long ago sanitariums had people bask in the sun to boost their immune systems. And in those countries not lucky enough to enjoy the sun all year round, the depression rates soar during winter. Sunshine on my shoulder makes me happy…and happier people are generally healthier, aren’t they. You are my sunshine, you make me happy… the songwriters seem to know the truth of this. Deep down, I think we all do. And it seems to me that the more we slip, slop, slap without thought and every time we go out in the sun, the more we run the risk of low Vitamin D. And that’s not a risk I am willing to take. Not for me, not for my kids. Not that I advocate baking in the sun. That obviously runs the risk of melanoma. But there’s got to be middle ground, hasn’t there. A few minutes in the morning, a few minutes in the evening, enjoying those rays. Because without that Vitamin D, our immune systems don’t work so well. And we need them to be as strong as possible, don’t we…






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