Researchers now say sunlight could help you maintain a healthy weight

There's a surprising new strategy for maintaining a healthy body weight, it starts with opening the blinds when you wake up every morning.

The study at Northwestern School of Medicine suggests people exposed to at least 20 to 30 minutes of bright, morning sunlight every day tend to have a lower body mass index.

The theory is that natural light has an indirect effect on your waistline, after a direct effect on the brain.

"It affects hormones that regulate appetite; it affects hormones and neuro-transmitters that regulate the sleep-wake cycle. It's a more powerful stimulus for your brain than let's say the red light or the orange light we get later in the afternoon," says Dr. Phyllis Zee with Northwestern Medicine.

Bright light also helps lift our mood, which might, in turn, prompt us to make healthier decisions throughout the day.

The team at northwestern says of course, the sun will not melt away pounds, but it could help if a morning routine outside, like gardening, was combined with a healthy diet.

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