How sunshine can help your body fight disease

A spot of sunshine doesn't just lift your spirits, it also boosts your immune system.

Research shows that vitamin D, made when our skin is exposed to sunlight, plays a key role in activating white blood cells that protect the body from flu, food poisoning and even cancer. Without the 'sunshine vitamin', the cells do not join the fight against disease.

The discovery could help in the development of vaccines and ways to combat auto-immune diseases and cancer.It is well known that vitamin D is vital for calcium absorption and bone health and some studies have suggested it has an anti-cancer effect. But scientists had not realised what a crucial role it played in the immune system.