Gearing up for summer? Got your sunscreen? Not so fast! You probably know that most sunscreens contain questionable chemicals, and that's bad enough. But the most troubling part is that sunscreens block your body's ability to produce vitamin D3 from sunlight by 95% — and yet getting vitamin D3 is the whole point of being in the sun! Stop and think about this for a minute... Why exactly are you putting on sunscreen? Is it to prevent burning? That's good, but sunscreen is not going to protect naked skin from being out in the sun longer than it should be. All you're doing is blocking vitamin D3 production and overexposing your skin, meaning damage can still happen! Try this instead... Go out in the sunshine WITHOUT sunscreen until your skin starts turning the first shade of pink. That's your body's way of saying "I've had enough sun" and "thank you for the vitamin D3, I'm full." At that point, it's time to put on some clothing or get in the shade. Put on a hat if you have to be out for longer. Maybe even put on some healthy sunscreen, the kind that has no harmful chemicals. Incidentally, the Environmental Working Group (an environmental health research and advocacy organization) has just released their 2013 Guide to Sunscreens; read it here. Pale skinned people only need 20 minutes in the sun (without sunscreen) to generate 20,000 IU of vitamin D3. If you have darker skin, you'll need to stay out longer, but your skin's pigment will protect you in order to do so. (Don't you love how God does that?) A couple of days later, see if you can stay out longer. Keep repeating this until you have a base tan — did you know that having a tan is the best defense against melanoma that you can have? It's true! Melanoma is NOT a result of proper sun exposure. It is a disease of indoor office workers, says Marc Sorenson, EdD, author of Vitamin D3 and Solar Power for Optimal Health. Most importantly, the food you eat makes all the difference! A good, plant-based diet like The Hallelujah Diet will help your body defend itself, including your skin, so that when the sun shines on your skin, your body has what it needs to properly deal with the sunlight, protect you, and produce vitamin D3. Bad foods negatively affect your body and strip your body's ability to protect itself from UV rays.
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