Being low in a particular vitamin can actually be fairly serious. If you’re low in Vitamin D, you’re much more prone to getting sick or picking up infections, you’re likely to feel fatigued and tired all the time and are much more susceptible to depression. Other symptoms are bone, back and muscle pain, wounds that are slow to heal, increased blood pressure and hair loss. There is also some evidence that it can be linked to weight gain and even obesity too. If you have darker skin and are over 50, evidence suggests you can be much more prone to having a vitamin D deficiency.
Someone with good levels of vitamin D in their body tends to benefit from healthy bones and teeth and stronger immune and nervous system. They also have better cognitive function, cardiovascular health, healthy pregnancies, decreased risk of asthma, dermatitis and eczema. If you’re topped up on vit D you also tend to have half the chance of getting flu – which is an amazing stat!
There are two main ways to get vitamin D into your body. The main one that everyone knows about is the sun and that getting some sunlight onto your bare skin is important. The essential vitamin D comes from ultraviolet B rays. When this hits the skin, a reaction is caused that enables skin cells to produce vit D. For fair skinned people, going outside in the midday sun with some skin exposure is good. It’s a balancing act and we should know our own skin, if you burn quick you really have to be careful.
We all know that excessive exposure to strong sunlight can cause sunburn, skin cancer and premature aging. The message has come across loud and clear that we must protect our skin to be safe in the sun, with regular applications of sunscreen. But science and popular opinion now acknowledges we do need a bit of sun for health and well being. Like with everything, moderation is key.
Supplements & Diet
The other way to get vitamin D is to take vitamin D supplements, as you can’t get the right amount of vitamin D that your body needs from food. However, you can get food that is specially fortified with vitamin D. For example, some almond milk, soy yogurt, cereals and orange juice has been fortified during the production stage. Vitamin D is also naturally found in fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon, in mushrooms cheese and egg yolks.
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Other great ideas to get more vitamin D are taking a walk during the day. Good for your health in so many ways, you can fit in a quick stroll into your daily routine. Depending on where in the world you live, the winter sun right now can be lovely. Cool and bright, if you wrap you warm and venture outside your skin can still get the benefit from the sun. Go on, give it a try!