Well Hello There Sunshine!

WELL HELLO THERE SUNSHINE!

Foods rich in Vitamin D
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Time for recess! Yes I mean all of you - age doesn’t matter! I know you could use a little midday break to get outside and reset. We all know that it’s good for us since we spend so much time indoors and, for a lot of us, in front of a computer screen everyday. Yeah there’s days where it rains and it gets cold too, but there’s nothing like that breath of fresh air in the sun to feel at least a little recharged to tackle the rest of your day.


As for me, I try on a daily basis to force myself to stop what I am doing to get outside and take a break away from the computer screen. I will be honest it doesn’t always work especially when I am wrapped up in a project. But when I get up to go outside and just walk for even 10-15 minutes, I feel so much more rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever the rest of the day has in store for me.


I love to know the inner workings and the “why” behind just about everything, especially when it comes to my health and wellness. But little did I know the rabbit hole I was headed into with researching facts about simple ways we can boost our mood during the daily grind, I was fascinated with new facts I hadn’t ever heard before! One of the topics I came across was as simple, yet complex, as the importance of Vitamin D. And since we are in the colder months where we need this undervalued nutrient more than any other, I thought it was a great time to share what I found!


A few interesting facts about Vitamin D:

  • As of 2018, approximately 42% of U.S. Residents are deficient and as many as 1 billion people worldwide have deficient levels!
  • It’s the only vitamin that your body can make on its own!
  • Technically it is not a vitamin, but an actual hormone!
  • Getting outside for just 10-30 minutes each day helps your body produce almost 50 times the recommended amount - depending on where you live and the season.

Ever have those random days, or multiple in a row, where you feel fatigued, your bones are achy, your muscles are cramping and/or your mood changes and you get into a depressive slump?? Those are all common symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency. Now instead of spending that $4 on extra calories, sugar and chemicals, you can just go for a brisk walk outside instead and reap healthier benefits!


Here are some other benefits of making sure you get your dose of daily sunshine:

  • Natural mood booster - reduces depression!
  • Regulates your immune system!
  • Supports lung, brain and nervous system functions!
  • Protects the fight against osteoporosis, hypertension, cancer, autoimmune disorders, dementia and MS!
  • Increases calcium absorption!
  • Easiest nutrient to obtain since your body can make its own via time outside!

So crazy that just one nutrient has so many benefits in order to keep our bodies functioning at its best and assist in warding off many ailments and diseases!

Now I know not everyone lives in sunny places such as Florida or Southern California to get the optimal amount of sunshine each day in order to get adequate Vitamin D from the sun alone. It is nearly impossible for some parts of the world during the winter months as the sun doesn’t get high enough in the sky for these ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere for us to soak in. And actually very few people can actually absorb the amount we need from the sun alone.


There is also the worry that being in the sun poses a higher risk of skin cancer if a person is not careful with using sunscreen with the recommended SPF for their skin type. Again, it really all depends on where you are located, the season, your skin type, time of day, air pollution and even age too.

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to cancers, viruses, lowered immune systems...
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So for many of us, we need to make sure we are supplementing with food and/or a quality vitamin D supplement to your daily routine - simple ways to make sure you’re getting enough of this important nutrient. No matter if the sun is shining or not!


The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D according to the National Institutes of Health (NHS) - Office of Dietary Supplements is as follows:

AGE

MALE

FEMALE

PREGNANCY

LACTATION

0 - 12 months*

10 mcg

(400 IU)

10 mcg

(400 IU)

1 - 13 years

15 mcg

(600 IU)

15 mcg

(600 IU)

14 - 18 years

15 mcg

(600 IU)

15 mcg

(600 IU)

15 mcg

(600 IU)

15 mcg

(600 IU)

19 - 50 years

15 mcg

(600 IU)

15 mcg

(600 IU)

15 mcg

(600 IU)

15 mcg

(600 IU)

51 - 70 years

15 mcg

(600 IU)

15 mcg

(600 IU)

>70 years

20 mcg

(800 IU)

20 mcg

(800 IU)

 

Now the above numbers are just lower estimates and there are some of us that will need higher levels - again depending on the factors listed above. Your doctor should always be your first resource in finding out how much you specifically need and where your levels are truly at in order to know how much supplementation your body needs. There are also apps now where you can track your levels based on where you live, your outside activity and your food intake to see that you are getting an adequate amount!

There are so many great food sources where you can get good doses of Vitamin D:

  • Oily fish - salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring, sardines
  • Fortified milk
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified cereals
  • Some yogurt brands
  • Red meat - Beef or calf liver
  • Cheese

Benefits of salmon and Vitamin D

Eat Well's All-Natural Salmon

Now if you have any type of food allergy or specific diet that you like and/or have been recommended by a doctor to follow, food may not always be enough. Your doctor should be able to also recommend a daily supplement to make sure you are giving your body exactly what it needs to function at its best.

I could go on for days with the information that I have found just on Vitamin D alone and how it is extremely important for your overall health! There are so many other vitamins and minerals that are crucial for our bodies to run at peak performance too. Take the time to do your research for yourself and you will be surprised how you can boost your mood even with just a little bit of sunshine and whole foods.

#EatWellLiveBetter

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