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Sunshine & Hunger

The other day, I quickly mentioned that I had read about how sunshine affects your hunger and how being outside can suppress appetite.

Frankly, some science makes you think it is a piece of fake news, but this is in fact, a fact.

Appetite is shown to be the main reason why people find it difficult to stick with calorie reduction over a long period of time. There are many hormones in our bodies that trigger eating, and sometimes stop us when we are full. Yes, there are also many other mental health issues around food, but that is for another time.

So why sunlight? It is all to do with a hormone known as a-MSH – an “alpha Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone” - you may recognise the word “Melatonin” and know that this hormone protects the skin from UV light by developing a pigment in your skin (think safe suntan) – but it also has the ability to control appetite.

In a recent study, it was shown that morning sunlight has an impact on your appetite for that day – it does not mean that you will be able to eat what you like (!) but if you try to do a walk before breakfast - outdoors – then listen to your hunger signals, you should find that you are more able to be in control of your food intake. Further studies seem to show a reduction in your fat cells which are exposed to the blue light of sunshine, and that this also helps your circadian rhythm to calibrate and will help you sleep better at night. Whilst this might sound too good to be true, I would suggest to aim for a 10 – 20 minute walk before your day starts.

Please remember the basics of good sun cream to protect your skin – as it is the LIGHT that makes the difference. Going without your sunglasses helps a lot, so again, early morning before the sun is too bright. Finally, in another, very old, study, looking “down” makes us feel “down” - so put your phone away, look up at the clouds, the view, the distance - looking “up” helps us to feel more positive too x

Get outside. It is good for your mental health; it is good for your physical health – and now it also seems to be good for your arteries x

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