Many people (me included) feel a certain magnetic attraction to the beach. Well, it turns out there are some physiological reasons why that extend past just the simple relaxation…
Certainly, the waves and smell of the salt air are great for relaxation, at least for a lot of people, but the beach itself provides some subtle health benefits. Unfortunately, we can’t all live at the beach year-round (though finances allowing, I think I would!), but there are some simple ways to get most of the benefits at home!
Benefit #1: Vitamin D
It’s pretty common knowledge that we can get Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight. “In humans, Vitamin D is much more than just a simple vitamin that we need to hit a target RDA of. Vitamin D is a hormonal precursor and science is constantly linking deficiency of Vitamin D to increased incidence of many diseases. Ironically, while Vitamin D is readily available (at least part of the year in most parts of the world) for free if produced from sun exposure, people are surprisingly deficient in it these days.”
From a previous post:
“In many cases we are (sometimes literally) cut off our noses to spite our face when it comes to the sun. One study at the Oslo University Hospital in Norway found that the benefits of sun exposure far surpassed any risk:
“It can be estimated that increased sun exposure to the Norwegian population might at worst result in 200-300 more CMM deaths per year, but it would elevate the vitamin D status by about 25 nmol/l (nanomoles per liter) and might result in 4,000 fewer internal cancers and about 3,000 fewer cancer deaths overall.”
Other studies have found links between low-vitamin D levels and Parkinson’s Disease, bone disease, blood clots, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. A recent study even found that regular sun exposure helped women to live longer. Yet another study found that regular sun exposure could cut breast cancer risk in half!
Unfortunately, you won’t get the benefits if you’re covered up or slathered in sunscreen! My solution is to optimize my sun tolerance and cover up when I’ve gotten enough sun/Vitamin D for the day. “I eat an anti-inflammatory, high antioxidant and beneficial fat diet and take certain supplements that increase my sun tolerance and help my body benefit from sun exposure. My basic routine included a grain free, sugar free, high vegetable and healthy fat diet and:
- Vitamin C (I take about 2,000 mg/day)- A potent anti-inflammatory, and it is good for the immune system too.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil melted in a cup of herbal tea or coffee per day- the Medium Chain Fatty Acids and saturated fat are easily utilized by the body for new skin formation and are protective against burning
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Butter Oil Blend (also great for remineralizing teeth)-Probably the most important supplement for sun protection. I take double doses during the summer and the kids take it too. Since adding this and the coconut oil daily, none of us have burned. It’s also great for digestive and oral health. (Amazon finally has the capsules back in stock)
- Astaxanthin– A highly potent antioxidant which research shows acts as an internal sunscreen. It’s also supposedly an anti-aging supplement. I don’t give this one to the kids though.
How To Get It At Home
Since we can’t all live at the beach year-round, it is possible to get Vitamin D at home. Obviously, sun exposure can accomplish this at home or at the beach. For times of year when sun exposure isn’t possible, I take a supplement of Vitamin D3 (I take about 5,000 IU/day).
Benefit #2: Magnesium
I’ve talked about magnesium before and the many ways it boosts health. From a previous post:
“Magnesium is the eighth most abundant mineral on earth, and the third most abundant in sea water. More importantly, it is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and it is necessary in over 300 reactions within the body.
Every single cell in the human body demands adequate magnesium to function, or it will perish. Strong bones and teeth, balanced hormones, a healthy nervous and cardiovascular system, well functioning detoxification pathways and much more depend upon cellular magnesium sufficiency. Soft tissue containing the highest concentrations of magnesium in the body include the brain and the heart—two organs that produce a large amount of electrical activity, and which can be especially vulnerable to magnesium insufficiency.
Sea water and sand are a great source of magnesium and it is often better to get magnesium transdermally (through the skin). Unfortunately, magnesium is often not well absorbed by the digestive track, and is even more difficult to absorb in this way for those who are low in vitamin D, have poor gut bacteria or suffer from a number of other health conditions.”
The salt water itself is also detoxifying and helps pull impurities from the body and skin. Salt water inhibits bacterial growth and skin infections.
Get It At Home
For those of us not able to get a daily soak in the ocean for our magnesium, there are some easy ways to supplement at home. I make magnesium oil (here is the recipe) and apply to the skin for best absorption and I also often take an oral supplement.
Leafy green vegetables, sea vegetables, kelp and especially nettle (in herb form available here) are good dietary sources of magnesium, though if you have a deficiency, it will be difficult to raise your levels enough through diet alone.
The best ways to supplement with magnesium are:
- In powder form with a product like Natural Calm so that you can vary your dose and work up slowly.
- In ionic liquid form so that it can be added to food and drinks and dose can be worked up slowly.
- In transdermal form by using Magnesium oil applied to skin. This is often the most effective option for those with damaged digestive tract or severe deficiency.
Here are some other magnesium-rich recipes:
For my kids, I rub the magnesium oil on their feet/legs before bed and add some epsom salt to their baths each night.
Benefit #3: Grounding/Earthing
A less common benefit of time at the beach is the grounding/earthing effect it provides. As I explained before:
“Basically, the theory is that our bodies are meant to come into contact with the Earth (a “grounding” force) on a regular basis. Positive electrons in the form of free radicals (ever heard of those guys?) can build up in our bodies and direct contact with the ground balances this out as it is a negative grounding charge.
Our bodies and cells have electrical energy, and especially with the high prevalence of Electromagnetic waves, Wi-Fi and mobile phone waves, many of us have a high amount of positive electrons built up in our bodies.
Throughout history, humans have spent time outdoors much more than we do in modern time and have been in direct contact with the soil. From walking on the ground barefoot, to gardening or tilling the soil, humans have always touched the earth… until recently.
Now, we live in houses, wear rubber shoes, are exposed to EMFs daily and don’t often come into direct contact with the ground.
Have you ever noticed that you sleep better on a beach vacation after walking in the sand or being in the ocean? The sand and ocean water and both naturally conductive materials and both help ground the body and remove excess positive electrons. For the same basic reason that we ground electrical outlets to avoid the build up of excess positive charge, our bodies need the same ground effect.”
To get this benefit, a person must be barefoot and in direct contact with the sand or ocean water, and this also works at home in direct contact with soil or sand…
Get It At Home
Obviously, walking outside barefoot is the easiest and cheapest way if you are able. To work, you must be barefoot and in contact with rock, dirt or water. The beach/ocean is possibly the best place as not only are sand and salt water extremely conductive, but salt water is also very high in magnesium. Perhaps this is why many people seem to sleep better on vacation at the beach!
- An earthing mat can be used under your arms or feet while on a computer to reduce the amount of EMFs you are exposed to.
- An earthing mat is easy to bring when traveling.
- A half size earthing sheet can be used on any bed size.
Personally, I use this mat while on my computer (it is under my desk) and an earthing sheet under back each night (needs skin to skin contact) every night and have noticed definite changes (this kit offers a discount on the mat, sheet, book and other accessories). The basic concept is that:
“The grounding mat (or sheet) is an amazing invention that allows you to do earthing while you’re inside a building. It just plugs in to the grounding wire port of a normal 3-prong outlet or a grounding rod (US and Canada only). The earth’s natural electrons flow right up through the ground wire and onto the mat, even if you’re in a high rise. The mat comes with an outlet tester you plug in to see if the outlet is configured correctly.”
Benefit #4: Great Hair and Skin
So this one is purely vain, but I love the way my skin and hair feel after time at the beach! It is probably the only time I can roll out of bed and have my hair actually look good! Fortunately, these effects can be somewhat mimicked at home. To attempt the great skin and hair that the beach provides, I make:
- Sea Salt Spray for the Skin
- Natural Beach Waves Spray for Hair
- Homemade Salt Baths
- Salt-based detox baths
- Sea Salt Bath Fizzies
Benefit #5: Relaxation
Stress is bad for health and the beach is wonderful for relaxation. The soothing sound of waves, the air infused with healthy ions, and the massage of sand on the feet (anyone live at the beach and want a live-in Wellness Mama? 🙂
Anyone else in the mood for a beach vacation now? What do you think? Have you noticed the health benefits of the beach? Share below!