This week’s newsletter covers three questions I received recently that relate to summer. They are quite long answers so I included them as a topic rather then in the questions answered section.
What to look out for in your sunscreen.
1. Does not contain oxybenzone (endocrine disruptor), retinal palmitate (may cause skin lesions and tutors), parabens, phthalates, PEG’s (polyethylene glycols), propylene glycol, phenoxyethanol or sodium laurel sulphates.
2. Offer broad spectrum coverage (UVA and UVB)
3. Is a cream (mineral based provides better UVA coverage) not a spray. The impact of nanoparticles in sunscreen sprays on health and the environment are still unknown.
4. Have an SPF of 15 or higher. Applying properly will ensure UVB coverage and choosing a broad spectrum sunscreen will ensure UVA coverage. Research indicates an SPF higher that 30 is mostly marketing and does not offer extra coverage.
If in doubt check with the Enviromental Working Group
What to ask at the Farmer’s Market. (Don’t assume…not all farmer’s markets are created equal)
1. First ask them where their farm is located and how long they have been farming for. Any general interest sort of questions.
2. What sprays, herbicides and pesticides do they use? What alternative pest control measures are used? (In Ontario a lot of farmers don’t use sprays all the time. They will only use for an infestation or if absolutely necessary)
3. What kind of soil do they use? The quality of the fruit and vegetables are only as good as the soil they are grown in.
4. Do they use GMO seeds?
5. Do they have any certifications? (organic, biodynamic) Don’t rule them out if they don’t though. They may grow with the same standards but just can’t afford the expensive certification. Talk to them they are usually happy to share their farming practices.
6. Do they have a CSA (community share program) which is when you purchase a share up front and then when the crop is ready you get a weekly box for a certain number of weeks. Great idea to support local farmers as well as enjoy fresh produce.
7. The farmer’s market is also a great place to source where to get local unpasteurized honey and free range eggs. The nutrients are always higher when food is fresh and local.
Benefits of Sunlight for your health
1. Boosts serotonin our “happy hormone”.
2. The body needs the ultraviolet rays from the sun to transform a cholesterol compound in our skin into a precursor of vitamin D. Exposing the face and arms to the sun for fifteen minutes three times a week is an effective way to get enough vitamin D.
3. Not getting enough vitamin D either from direct sunlight or from the diet has been linked to the development of several diseases including heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer. Also keep in mind medication may interfere with it’s absorption. In addition intestinal disorders and liver/gallbladder dysfunction may also interfere with it’s absorption.
4. Vitamin D can also come from fatty fish, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks etc but a strained liver and kidneys will compromise this absorption and most of us have an overburdened liver. Vitamin D is also necessary for proper calcium absorption.
5. May improve the immune system by encouraging the production of white blood cells.
6. May help skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis etc) and relieves muscle and joint pain due to the warmth of the sun’s rays.
Please keep the questions coming in!! They are terrific.