Forget expensive solar panels for your home--those things will never be worth the money. But don’t write off solar power yet, because you already own the best and most efficient solar panels of all: YOUR SKIN!

I know the Chicken Littles will tell you to never, never, never, expose your skin to the sun. But I’m here to tell you the sky is NOT falling--because the sun isn’t dangerous. In fact...

It’s essential!

The moment the SAFE and HEALTHY ultraviolet rays of the sun hit the solar panels of your skin, about a million little reactions take place.

The most famous, of course, is the production of critical vitamin D--but the sun’s no one-trick pony. That may not even be the best trick it has up its golden sleeves, because new research shows how exposure to UV light actually stimulates the creation of the nitric oxide needed to keep your arteries open and blood flowing.

There aren’t many functions in the body more important than that, folks.

In the study, volunteers were baked under tanning lamps in two 20-minute sessions. The sessions looked and felt identical, but with one difference: In one session, the light was filtered to “protect” the volunteers from UV rays. In the other, they got hit with everything.

The volunteers weren’t told which session was which, but their bodies sure figured it out fast--because blood pressure levels dropped for a full hour after the unfiltered full-on UV sessions.

Now, you know me. I’m not one to get excited over a little dip in blood pressure levels, since BP is as overrated a marker of health as you’ll find this side of cholesterol.

But I am excited over WHY those levels plunged: The researchers believe UV rays kick the body’s nitric oxide factory into full gear--and along with lowering BP levels, that same nitric oxide could protect you from heart attack, stroke, and even death.

That alone is reason to go outside and catch some rays. But it’s not the only reason--and gents, here’s another just for you: That same nitric oxide can also keep blood flowing to the one place men consider even more important than the heart.

Yes, the penis.

In fact, most penis pills work by activating those very same nitric oxide pathways. Look out, Viagra--you’ve got some competition, and it’s FREE. (Just be mindful of public decency laws.)

Now, this alone is reason enough to get out under the sun each day. But it’s not the only reason. Sunlight can also stimulate the immune system and cause hormonal reactions that are essential to good health.

I’d need a book to list all the benefits of this, but let me give you the three you can notice and feel each day:

SLEEP: How does your body know when to sleep and when to wake? It’s not just because you’re worn out at the end of a long day. It’s because the body takes its cues from the sun. When it goes down and the sky goes dark, your body knows to produce the “sleep hormone” melatonin.

It keeps pumping out that melatonin until you see daylight again--which is why the best way to wake up is to throw open the curtains and welcome the light instead of hiding from it under your pillow.

It’s almost as good as a cup of coffee.

MOOD: You’ve heard of seasonal affective disorder (aptly abbreviated as SAD), the mood condition many people experience during the low sunlight of winter. But thanks to constant sun avoidance--not to mention sunscreens--many people are SAD all year long even if they’re never clinically diagnosed with SAD or any other mood disorder.

Most people never bother to seek help--they just go through life glum, morose, and even battling full-on depression triggered by low sun exposure.

You can stare at an expensive light box for hours on end for some relief, but my recommendation is to just get outside and soak up some rays every day--because nothing beats the real thing.

MEMORY: Emerging evidence shows how sunlight can stimulate the protection of brain cells. One recent study found Alzheimer’s patients exposed to sunlight had improved mental scores and better mood. More importantly, they suffered less functional decline than patients not given extra daily sunlight.

There is no drug that has this same effect.

And in my opinion, if you get more sun NOW--before dementia kicks in--you will almost certainly lower your risk of ever getting the condition.

All that, and I haven’t even gotten into the benefits of sun-produced vitamin D--benefits that include protecting your heart, brain, bone, and vision. The sunshine vitamin can prevent cancer, fight metabolic syndrome, keep diabetes at bay, and more.

Not bad for something you can get just by going out for a pleasant walk.
So here’s my advice: Go outside and get some sun. Don’t use sunscreen--ironically, some commonly used chemicals in sunscreen are actually proven to CAUSE the very cancers from which they’re supposed to protect you.

The only real “protection” you need from the sun is plain old common sense. Cover up or seek shelter just before you turn pink, and you’ll have nothing to worry about.