Bye Bye Health Benefits of Summer, See Ya Next Year
Summer days are more than just relief from shoveling snow and slipping on ice. There are known benefits of the brighter longer days. These benefits extend beyond the extra vitamin D made by sun exposed skin. Lets examine what some of these are.
Cholesterol levels improve in the summer months. And this is not just skipping the French fries for the watermelon (although that will help). The LDL cholesterol, so often called “bad” cholesterol, is lowest in summer. This was true even for patients on medication, and it has not been exactly linked to the levels of exercise, although patients do exercise more in the summer than they do in the winter. Along with this surprising finding some Boston researchers for the trial PROVE-IT 1 found there were less myocardial ischemic events (fewer heart attacks) in summer months as compared with winter months.
There is less depression in the summer. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition of depression or sadness that occurs during the dark winter months, and exposure to the brighter days, especially bright light in the morning seems to be both preventative as well as curative. No one has ever discovered why, but it seems to have a specific effect on brain chemicals that causes this.
Now before you get to excited, remember, these things are seasonal too: summer diarrhea in children, herpangina infections in young adults (herpes pain, even from cold sores) lyme disease, mold allergies, and several dozen other common illnesses including more colds, so once you get that sunscreen on, slather on some disinfectant while you have your jars out!
1TIMI Study Group, Cardiovascular Division, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts