Coronary artery disease (CAD) is characterized by a restriction of blood flow through the coronary arteries which carry blood to the heart. Sadly, a 2017 study found that CAD affects about 16.5 million American adults each year.
This disease is caused by a buildup of sticky plaque inside the artery walls. This plaque hardens and prevents robust blood flow through the arteries. Blockage of blood flow and/or compromised elasticity of blood vessels can contribute to cardiovascular disease. Poor diet, little exercise and lack of sunlight exposure damage vessels and reduce their flexibility.. What can we do?
You are more likely to develop CAD if you are overweight/obese, eat a high trans fat and/or a high sugar diet, have less-than-optimal blood cholesterol levels, are sedentary, smoke, and have blood pressure or blood sugar issues; The good news is that these risk factors can be minimized or altogether avoided with simple shifts in diet and lifestyle.
In addition to eating a heart healthy diet, moving daily and working with a holistic cardiologist to monitor your blood pressure,blood sugar levels and inflammation, one of the simplest things you can do today is to get more sunshine!
Benefits of sunshine for your heart:
- Helps lower blood pressure: Yes, daily sunshine does the heart and body good! Researchers have shown that when our skin is exposed to the sun’s rays, a compound called nitric oxide is released in our blood vessels. This compound helps lower blood pressure, which is a major factor in heart attacks and strokes.
- Vitamin D production: The sun’s UV rays help your body make Vitamin D. This vitamin is important for your bones, blood cells, and immune system as well as for moderating overall inflammation. Low Vitamin D levels have been associated with an increase in heart disease, so this is a critical hormone/nutrient for maintaining a healthy heart.
- Aids Melatonin Production: Sunshine may play a role in regulating hormones and sleep patterns by affecting our circadian rhythm. Melatonin is a hormone, production of which is directed by the pituitary gland via the skin through sun exposure. Melatonin helps with inducing sleep. Additionally, as an antioxidant, it is also involved with managing the body’s immune function, cortisol levels as a response to stress and blood pressure. Sleep, stress management and blood pressure regulation are all factors which can affect heart health. Suffering from insomnia? Try to stick to traditional daylight and darkness rhythms, getting sunlight during the day so you can catch more zzz’s at night.
- Get smart sunshine daily. We recommend 15-30 minutes of pure sun exposure daily without sunscreen for most people to maximize the benefits above. If you are in the sun longer, cover up with loose clothing or seek shade. Do not stay in the sun for long periods of time and allow your skin to burn. If you are unable to get natural sunshine for a period of time, think about investing in a light therapy lamp. You can learn more about the lamp on their website just by clicking this link. Instructions for use come with the Sperti. Start with short time periods and gradually build up to 15 minute sessions. Sunshine is your friend, and your skin is a solar panel. Give your heart and your body what it needs. Get real sun exposure and/or buy a Sperti Sun Lamp.
The power of the sun can heal your heart. It is the source of all life! Practice smart sun exposure daily and be on your way to living your best life!