Sun Rays Are A Cornerstone Of Life
The demonization of the sun is one of the greatest tragedies of our time. Our bodies need sun rays, and the lack of them can ruin our health as surely as a poor diet.
We slather ourselves with protective lotions, fearful of looming cancers and ruined skin, when the fact is that our origins lie in lands washed by sunshine, and our health depends on exposure.
A lack of sun rays is as likely to harm us as overexposure.
Our Ancestors Valued The Sun
The cradle of man can be found in sun-drenched equatorial Africa. Every geographic step away the species has taken, and every extra layer of clothing or interfering shelter that has come between us and sol since has been a mistake. Our health and mental states are damaged by the absence of the sun in our lives, and we need only look to the past to see it.
The Egyptians, Greeks, Assyrians, Romans, Babylonians, and other ancient Mediterranean cultures realized the central place that the sun played in their life. All had a sun god as a central member of their pantheon, revered sun rays as the cornerstone of their existence, and realized its health giving properties.
The earliest Egyptian temple we've found was constructed more than 5,000 years ago in the city of On. It was, unsurprisingly, a temple to the sun. Later, the name of the city was changed to Heliopolis, or city of the sun.
Egyptians built sun gardens, the Greeks had helioses, and the Romans constructed their Solaria. All were measures to fortify the body with sun rays.
Hippocrates, who is hailed as the father of modern medicine, but whose curative ideas are ignored by our drug-happy culture, built the sanitarium of Hippocrates on the Island of Cos with a large solarium attached to heal with sun rays.
Sol est remediorum maximum - The sun is the best remedy
-Pliny the Elder
Olympic athletes as well as gladiators were instructed to lie exposed to sun rays and to train in the sun, as it was believed to increased muscle size and strength.
Times changed. The nudity and scanty clothing favored by the early Mediterranean cultures faded away when the prudish notions of the dark ages took hold. Those located further away from the equator had little choice, as the weather was harsh.
Though sun ray exposure was suggested by Sylvester Graham, an advocate for vegetarian diets and hygienic living, he was widely ignored in 19th century America along with the handful of other doctors who were busy healing people naturally by taking a step back and letting nature do its best.
Science Is Catching Up
If you don’t get enough sun rays, your mind is likely having some problems. This New York Times article shows how we’re like most other mammals that have trouble with a lack of sun exposure. Consider that the states that get less sun have a higher prevalence of depression. Only 1.4 percent of the residents of Florida report problems with Seasonal Affective Disorder, while 9.7 percent of those in New Hampshire do. Further north, 20 percent of Scandinavians suffer from winter depression.
Over a million prescriptions for antidepressants are filled each week in the US, and annual sales are at about $11 billion. Few take the time to consider the more natural way of a few free sun rays.
Dr. Joel Fuhrman on the affects of sun exposure and diet on depression:
Natural therapies are surprisingly effective. Recent advances in non-pharmacologic treatments for depression can help people feel better—and even assist them in making total recovery—without dependence on medications. Researchers doing the studies in this field have been surprised to find that natural therapies can have very high success rates, rivaling those of drugs.
Of particular interest is the fact that these non-pharmacologic treatments get results faster than drug treatments. Now is the time for all people with depression to give these safe, natural treatments a try. By combining the most promising facets of these approaches, the likelihood of improvement and recovery is greatly enhanced.
As a further kick to the head of everyone that's been linking the sun exposure to cancer, we’re now hearing new research showing how sun rays fight and prevent lung cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, and even skin cancer. Additionally, it appears that sun rays fight MS.
This is just a small sampling, but the true benefits are the sun are far wider. Calcium is now recognized to be a poor building of bones when not combined with vitamin D from the sun, for instance.
Dr. James C. Jackson said nearly two centuries ago that: “The more a man lives in sunlight, other things being equal, the more vigorous will his brain be; the more vigorous this, the more energetic and competent to their office will his mental faculties be.”
It certainly increases athletic ability as well. My own performance always takes a turn for the better during the warmer months when I go out and sunbath regularly.
The sun, not only adds to the size and qualities of the muscles, it increases the calcium in them and adds to their enduring powers. The firmness of the athletic muscle requires calcium in considerable amounts.
Such muscles contain far more calcium than flabby ones. After exercise their calcium content is diminished. Muscles subjected to proper sun exposure grow larger, firmer, and have their contractile powers enhanced even without exercise, due partly to the increase of lime in them, and partly to improved nutrition in general.
-Dr. Herbert Shelton, Fasting and Sun Bathing
Taking Advantage Of The Sun
The concept of tanning was once foreign to me. There was a time when I was simply burnt at nearly any lengthy exposure to sun rays, and my skin was pale year round. If you look at me today, however, you’ll see someone who becomes pretty tan in the midst of summer. I’m bronzed, I look and feel healthy, and a really don’t burn at unless I completely overdo it.
One of the biggest factors is diet, particularly fat content. When I originally went vegan, I noticed that I could suddenly tan. It was as if a switch had been thrown. As I started eliminating oils, margarines, and other fats, my situation improved further. On a diet centered around raw fruits and vegetables, I’ve pretty much become burn proof.
The other factor in this is gradual exposure. Even in the winter, amongst snow banks and cool breezes, I make it a point to expose some of my body to sun rays. Though the sun is weak, It's intensified by glancing off the snow banks. In this way I keep a nice “minimum” tan year round. This helps me avoid a burn when I suddenly start getting more sun exposure in spring and summer.
When warm weather arrives, you should gradually build up tolerance. 10-20 minutes of sun bathing is more than enough to start up. This can be increased by a few minutes a week, however, until you can spend several hours in the sun with no burn. Stay away from sun screen, as it blocks what is important in sun rays. Better to put on clothing if you need to protect yourself.
Sun burn is always to be avoided, as it can damage your skin and cause skin diseases. Sun is only healthy up to the point that it burns. White-skinned people like myself have evolved in northern latitudes and have fairer skin to better absorb the weak rays .
This helps us stay healthy, but also puts us at risk. Those with darker skin tones are luckier, as it’s harder for them to burn, but if they live up north, it’s also more challenging for them to get enough sun during much of the year. They have to take special precaution to expose themselves enough.
I myself had doubts about this idea. While originally considering the need for sun exposure and doing research, I though of the movies of desert people like those found in Morocco that I had seen on TV.
In that sun-drenched land, fairly young individuals often had skin like leather, and looked far older than their years. This contradicted the idea that sun rays kept you young and healthy. I eventually consulted Dr. Douglas Graham, who is a natural hygiene doctor that supports sun exposure and a raw food diet.
He said: There is no way to look at the people you mention and blame their sun exposure. Their lifestyle and food style is harsh, at best. They smoke, they drink, they eat meat, they eat almost all of their food cooked.
He makes a good point. Sun is only one aspect of health, and cannot be looked at out of proportion to the other follies that ruin man’s health like diet, lack of sleep, alcohol, and stress.
But do yourself a favor and expose yourself to the sun as much as you can. You’ll be healthier and happier for the effort.
Curious to know why high-fat diets make you burn in the sun while low-fat diets don't? Learn that and much more about sun exposure in The Raw Food Lifestyle ebook.
Read how sun rays fit into a healthy raw lifestyle.
Achieve health and start not burning by eating a raw food diet.
Receive the free Raw Food Health Journal
Keep up to date with new articles from this site.