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Hallo beautiful viewers! Welcome to this week's cheerful episode of Healthy Living focusing on why the sun is so essential to our well-being and highlighting some summer skincare tips. Summer is the warmest of the four seasons. The start and end of the season depends on where you live in the world.

In the Northern Hemisphere, June, July and August are considered the summer months, while in the Southern Hemisphere, it is December, January and February. People take advantage of the balmy summer temperatures by spending more time outdoors, wearing cool, vibrant clothing while enjoying lively activities under the heartwarming rays.

Did you know people are happier during summer? It's true! Studies have shown that if one's days are filled with sunshine, they are unlikely to experience Seasonal Affective Disorder or “SAD.”

Dr. Alfred Lewy, a professor in the psychiatry department at Oregon Health Sciences University, USA, is credited with identifying “SAD”

a form of depression that arises from lack of sufficient sunlight and is most prevalent during the fall and winter months. Symptoms include overeating, sleeping much longer than usual, despair and fatigue. The best remedy for the disorder is, of course, exposure to the sun!

Research demonstrates that adults who are summer babies, meaning those born between March and August, have a sunnier and a more optimistic outlook on life and are more likely to consider themselves lucky compared to winter babies or those born between September and February.

Professor Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, UK who conducted the research, states that summer-born babies are more likely to be taken outside in the sunshine while the winter-born are more likely to be kept indoors because of the cold.

Professor Jayanti Chotai, of Umea University in Sweden who was also involved in the study states, “The environmental factors around the birth period, like exposure to sunshine and temperature, could all influence the body's biological systems, with effects extending into adulthood.”

In an October 2010 videoconference with Supreme Master Television staff in Los Angeles, CA, USA, Supreme Master Ching Hai revealed the benefits of seeing the magnanimous sun:

Supreme Master Ching Hai: The Italian people, why they are happier than other countries? Why? Because they have a lot of sun, a lot of sun. The Spanish, Italians - they are just more relaxed and they care a little less about material things than the people who have less sun, okay? The sun gives them too much contentment, so they feel like they don't need much material comfort. Understand?

Supreme Master Ching Hai: And I myself love the sun. I adore the sun. I could stay in the sun all day, and if it is too hot I just cover a little bit with the cloth. I could look at the sun, midday even; it doesn't hurt me. It doesn't hurt me. It regulates, or it screens a little bit so that my eyes won't hurt.

The sun is a beautiful being. I love the sun forever. I love the sun a lot, and the sun loves us forever.

HOST: Sunlight is one of the greatest healing remedies we can find in nature. It is readily available and free! Getting a daily dose of sunshine enhances our immune system and encourages healthy blood circulation. The ultraviolet or “UV” rays in sunshine act as a natural antiseptic, neutralizing viruses, bacteria, fungi and disease. The renowned vegetarian cardiologist Dr. B.M. Hegde of India is a strong advocate of sun exposure for optimal health.

In those countries where the sun is very less, and if you don't expose yourself to sun, you get all kinds of diseases. The sun keeps you alive and healthy, so expose yourself to the sun.

Today we have all the concrete buildings where you sit inside, you don't get sun at all. Most of my elderly patients who have heart disease, I tell them the first treatment is, morning, one hour in the sun, evening, one hour in the sun. You need not sit in the afternoon, because the sun

in India is very hot. One hour, one hour, they all walk about, very nicely.

HOST: Vitamin D is an important fat-soluble vitamin approximately 90% of which we obtain through our skin's exposure to the Sun. One of the benefits of vitamin D is it promotes calcium absorption in the body, thus helping to prevent osteoporosis.

It also fortifies the body against rickets and has been shown in studies to lower one's cancer risk. As the sun happily shines on the faces of people during the hot summer days, it is very important for us to take special care of our skin's health as well.

A reasonable amount of time in the sun gives us a splendid complexion featuring a healthy, sun-kissed glow. When your body is bathed in sunlight, it builds up melanin, or skin pigment, which acts like a natural sunscreen. Melanin protects us against the harmful effects of excessive ultraviolet or “UV” ray exposure. UV rays can cause sunburns, premature aging of the skin, and skin cancer.

A big question, especially for those with fair skin, is how does one prevent sunburn? The sun is most intense between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, therefore it is recommended to avoid direct exposure to sunlight for long periods during the peak hours. Simple steps for sun safety include staying in shady areas, using an umbrella, wearing a wide brimmed hat and ensuring one's clothing covers areas of skin that burn easily. White-colored clothing is highly advised during summertime.

White reflects the sun's energy, so we feel cooler. Lightweight cotton clothing is excellent for the summer season as it absorbs sweat and lets our skin breathe. Choosing the right foods and cultivating our body from the inside out is truly important for our skin's health, particularly in the summer months. A plant-based diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides the right amount of vitamins and minerals to stay healthy.

Antioxidant vitamins as well as antioxidant bioflavonoids and other polyphenols in plants prevent skin cell damage caused by free radicals which are present in UV radiation. Fruits like plums, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries as well as microalgae such as spirulina contain large amounts of antioxidants that help our body build up an internal sunscreen for sunburn protection.

Regular consumption of lemons, cantaloupes, watermelons, muskmelons, grapefruits, strawberries, oranges, and papayas is wise as these tasty treats are full of vitamin C. Vitamin C aids the body in repairing the skin and producing collagen, a protein which gives our skin its structure.

The vitamins from food; it actually makes a huge difference. There's a lot of good vitamins in broccoli, green vegetables; that's why I recommend my clients to include lots of green in their food as far as vegetables. Vitamins A, E and C produce a lot of antioxidants for the body which helps us to get protection from the sun, because it prevents sun damage. If you have stronger antioxidants, your body would get less sun damage.

HOST: For marvelous, well-moisturized skin, walnuts and flax seeds contain an abundance of omega-3 fatty acids that are a must for our overall health year round. The body is 70% water, therefore drinking lots of fluids keeps our skin hydrated and looking its best. Experts recommend we drink at least eight glasses of water per day, about two liters, even if we do not feel thirsty.

However when we are in the sun for extended periods it's important to take in even more water. Green tea, which is full of antioxidants, is another great way to keep ourselves hydrated and sunburn-free on a hot summer day. One popular method of sun protection is sunscreen. These products have ingredients that are meant either to reflect the ultraviolet rays or absorb them to safeguard the skin.

They are rated with a SPF or “Sun Protection Factor” number, with a higher number indicating more protection from UV rays. You might be surprised to hear that not all sunscreens are beneficial for us.

According to the Environmental Working Group, a US-based non-profit research organization, out of 785 sunscreen products with a SPF rating of 15 or higher sold in the US, an alarming 84% do not adequately protect the skin from UV rays or have ingredients which are dangerous to health. Before you go in the sun, you can apply a natural, chemical-free sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Natural sunscreen products can be found in many stores, but if you cannot find them in your area, why not try making your own? Natural sunscreens can be made by combining essential oils derived from plants.

In fact, extra virgin coconut or olive oil can be applied directly on the skin as sunscreen. One may get even better sun protection results by eating a spoonful of coconut oil daily in addition to using it externally. During summertime we tend to sweat more and our skin may be exposed to dust and airborne pollution while outside.

Therefore another secret of looking cool and fresh during summer is proper skin cleansing. After a long summer day you can apply a thin layer of aloe vera gel or homemade body lotion, which is made of Vitamin E-enriched essential oils such as a combination of rose, lavender and almond oil to smooth and cool your skin.

Supreme Master Ching Hai advocates the use of vegan cosmetics and skincare products, as in this January 1996 lecture to our Association members in Formosa (Taiwan).

Supreme Master Ching Hai: It is best that we buy the plant-based products, the kinds that don't involve animal testing. They are less harsh for the skin.

HOST: Now that we are fully equipped with some useful tips for summertime skincare, it's time to go out for a fun run in the sun! See you outside! Joyous viewers, thank you for your wonderful presence today on Healthy Living. Coming up next is Science and Spirituality, after Noteworthy News. May all our days be filled with Heavenly warmth and kindness.
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