Los Angeles gives us summer-like weather almost all year round. But even here in California, the rays of the sun become more intense during the summer months, so regardless of where we live, we must all be extra mindful about our sun exposure during this time of the year.
The American Cancer Society states that there are over five million new skin cancer cases each year and that melanoma outweighs all other cancers combined! These are staggering statistics especially for those of us who live in a sunny climate and may be at increased risk.
There seems to be a lot of confusion about healthy sun exposure and whether or not a tan equals potential long-term damage to our skin. While there are many opinions on this topic, some things remain clear.
The basic guidelines to follow in order to reduce your overall risks of cancer and aging of the skin are:
- Avoid lengthy sun exposure at peak times between 10am-4pm
- Cover up with clothing, a brimmed hat, and sunglasses
- Remain in shady areas between 10am-4pm
- Apply quality sunscreen liberally to exposed areas
With new studies coming out about potential dangers of certain chemicals in sunscreen, it can be overwhelming trying to decide which ones to purchase to protect you and your family. As a general guide, stick to natural sunblock whenever possible. Look for creams and lotions that contain titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as their main sun protection ingredients.
While the verdict is still out, certain ingredients may act as endocrine disruptors which can mimic the hormone estrogen. When made by the body or given as a drug, increased estrogen may affect reproductive organs and may also raise the risk of certain cancers. For more information, visit the Environmental Working Group EWG for a list of sunscreen products which can be harmful.
Along with being smart about your sun exposure, you may want to take some natural approaches too, in order to boost your body’s ability to block harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Astaxanthin– this potent antioxidant found most often in shrimp, salmon, lobster, and krill has been shown to increase the body’s natural ability to absorb UVA and UVB. Supplementing a minimum of 2mg of Astaxanthin per day, may help to lower your risk of cancer and reduce overall inflammation.
Topical Vitamin C– Applying a Vitamin C serum or cream with your sunscreen may act as extra defense from the damage that the sun causes to your skin. A serum is best, one that contains at least 15% pure Vitamin C.
CoQ10– Supplementing with Coenzyme Q10 and using it topically in creams or lotions may help to fight the free radicals that come from the sun’s rays. Italian researchers found that melanoma patients had very low levels of CoQ10 compared to those who were free of cancer. Another study in 2006 showed that topical CoQ10 suppressed the inflammation caused by UV radiation.
Healthy Exposure– More and more doctors and health practitioners are suggesting that 10-20 minutes of sun exposure to a large percentage of your skin without sunscreen, may actually be a healthy and good way to produce natural Vitamin D3. Some experts suggest doing this before 10am or after 4pm while others say that peak times are okay.
Vitamin D– Supplementing Vitamin D3 may help to boost immunity and reduce the risk of certain cancers. It is thought that taking Vitamin K along with D3 may increase the positive effects of a Vitamin D3 supplement.
Apart from avoiding skin cancer, many of us want to keep our largest organ looking young and supple. It really is a balancing act of getting enough rays to boost our health and immunity without overdoing it and causing sun-related aging of our skin.
Like all things in life, balance is key. It is vital that we don’t live in fear or angst about enjoying healthy sun time with friends and family, but also, ensuring that we are taking precautions and being smart.
Let this summer be one that you remember. Take the steps to protect yourself and then go out and celebrate this wonderful time of the year. Be healthy, be safe, and enjoy!
*Always consult with your doctor about healthy sun practices, especially if you have a history of melanoma or are at increased risk of cancer.
Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Coach Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifestyle.com
He is the Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!
As a health and wellness coach, the number one reason that people seek me out is for weight loss. They are looking for guidance and tips on how to battle that bulge and keep it off for good.
While Los Angeles may be an exception, the majority of Americans are overweight with over one third being considered obese. It’s a serious problem and it goes far beyond being solely a vanity issue. More and more people are suffering from the negative health consequences of being overweight including increased risks of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other illness.
Losing weight and getting in shape usually means approaching our health and lifestyle from a number of angles and not just our eating habits.
Here are the top areas to look at in order for you to lose weight, gain muscle, and increase your overall chances of living a longer life:
- Reduce Sugar & Processed Carbohydrates – The main cause of weight gain is the overconsumption of high fructose corn syrup, sugar, and processed foods especially white bread, pastry, and pasta. When eating these types of food our insulin and blood sugar spike which may wreak havoc on our system. With excess sugars in our blood our body eventually begins to store fat and it craves more and more sugar as time goes on. It is a vicious cycle. A diet high in sugar and processed foods also challenges our digestive system while lowering our immunity too. Work on bringing in monk fruit sweetener instead of sugar, and use whole grain products whenever possible. Better yet, eat more healthy fats like avocado, fish and nuts, and lower your carbohydrate intake altogether which will shift your body into fat-burning mode and create less sweet cravings.
- Exercise – Most of us dislike this one but the truth is, we can’t lose weight permanently unless we move our body. This doesn’t mean that we need to be gym rats but it does mean some type of movement each and every day even if that is a half hour walk with a neighbor or friend. Resistance training is also ideal because it builds lean muscle which in turn burns even more body fat. Make it fun and know that once you begin, it gets easier and easier to continue. The hardest part is making the commitment to start.
- Avoid GMO Foods – If you eat anything that is non-organic, there is a 75% chance that that particular food is genetically modified and also contains a chemical called Glyphosate. Glyphosate has been linked to the breakdown of our gut health and in turn may lead to extreme weight gain along with numerous other health challenges. It is always best to buy organic or look for labels that are certified as non-GMO.
- Reset Your Metabolism – Sometimes all we need is a kick-start! Re-booting our metabolism sets us off onto a healthy path of weight loss and detoxing which can motivate us to continue on the healthy lifestyle journey. My favorite is the Purium 10-day Transformation where people lose 5-20 lbs in 10 days and lose visceral fat, build lean muscle, sleep better, and increase their energy while decreasing cravings for junk food.
- Stop Eating in the Evenings – Intermittent fasting is all the rage now and for good reason. Intermittent fasting can be done in different ways but one effective method is to stop eating at 7pm in the evenings and not to begin again until 11am the next day. If this is done even just 3 days per week, it gives our body a rest from processing food while we sleep, kick-starts our metabolism and helps us to build more muscle while burning excess fat. There are plenty of other great benefits too! While 16 hours without food may seem extreme, remember that we are sleeping through half of it.
- Get your Hormones Checked – Hormones are the spark plugs for our body. As we age they can go a little haywire. In men, our testosterone may go down and our estrogen can increase causing weight gain around the middle and less muscle mass. For women, higher levels of estrogen and lower testosterone also has its effects along with the other key hormones that change with age. Low thyroid may also cause weight gain. Seek out an anti-aging specialist or endocrinologist in your area and have a full hormone panel to see if there is something they can do to help. Bio-identical hormone replacement may be an option for you.
- Drink More Water – Water is essential for good health, weight loss, and overall energy. Drinking more water increases the number of calories that we burn during the day so drink up. 8-12 glasses per day of clean, filtered water is best.
- Supplement – Certain supplements can assist weight loss. Garcinia Cambogia, Green Tea, and Green Coffee Extract are shown to assist fat burning and to decrease appetite. Chromium Polynicotinate helps to stabilize blood sugar and in turn, reduces sugar and carbohydrate cravings. Low Vitamin D levels are also linked to weight gain and obesity so get your blood tested and ensure that you get at least 20 minutes of sun each day at non-peak times without sunscreen and consider a Vitamin D3 supplement daily.
*Always consult with your physician before beginning a new vitamin, exercise, or hormone regimen.
Jay Bradley is a Youthful Aging, Wellness & Lifestyle Expert Living in Los Angeles. http://www.JayBradleyLifesytle.com
He is the Best-Selling Author of LIVE LOOK FEEL, The 12-Week Guide to Live Longer, Look Younger & Feel Better!