Your Sunny Disposition

Did you know that on a sunny day, you are more likely to say yes to a new idea, invitation or request, than on a cloudy day?

No, you’re not a push over, but your glass is definitely half full and you’re probably wearing a smile.

Likely you’ve noticed this in your own life, a change of attitude, mood and energy levels once the warmer weather and longer daylight hours emerge.

It turns out that supercharging your brain with good ‘ol sunshine, which has many positive benefits, including the production of vitamin D, gives us that extra boost required to participate more fully in life.

Researchers believe that vitamin D acts to protect the aging brain and boosts overall memory and cognitive function. No wonder so many seniors become snowbirds and fly south during the colder, less sunny, winter months.

Unfortunately Vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic in society affecting ninety percent of the world’s population, according to vitamin D expert Michael Holick.

Clearly most people are not getting enough healthy sun exposure.

Why is this? A combination of factors could be at play, including: busy lifestyles and a fear of sun overexposure.

“The odds of cognitive impairment increase as vitamin D levels go down,” says study author David Llewellyn. “Given that both vitamin D deficiency and dementia are common throughout the world, this is a major public health concern.”

Do you want to ward off mental health issues and grow your Fit Brain? Then another Brain Fitness recommendation is to sun bath and sun gaze!

The ideal amount of sun exposure should produce 10,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D3. How do we achieve this?

While some foods contain D, says Alex Korb, Ph.D., neuroscientist and post-doctoral researcher at UCLA, there aren’t any sources that pack enough of it.

Go right to the sun source itself and get 10-15 minutes of midday sunlight on your bare arms, legs, and shoulders every day. Hold off on sun block as 15 minutes is enough to help your body produce the vitamin D it needs, without increasing your risk for skin cancer, research says.

Another wonderful feature imbued in those sunny rays, is the creation of BDNF.

BDNF is a protein that plays a game changing role in your neuronal health. Your brain contains as many as 100 billion neurons and the health, vitality, and functionality of each one of your brain cells is intimately influenced by BDNF. ­ It turns out that sunlight itself is a powerful way to increase BDNF production.

Dr. Marc Molendijk and colleagues at Leiden University in the Netherlands, discovered higher amounts of BDNF in the blood during the months with the most sunshine. They were also able to correlate low BDNF levels with the diagnosis of depression.

So, skip the coffee and get outdoors to soak up some of nature’s health elixir; sunshine, which can work wonders for your mood, energy levels, willpower, sleep schedule, and appetite.

Research suggests it could even help your body fend off some of the most common diseases.

Sunbathing may be more than a life enhancing choice…it could be life saving!

Do you need any more reasons to plan a picnic, hang out in the park, lay on the beach or simply get outside on your lunch break?