The Importance Of Vitamin D In The Winter

March 06, 2017

The Importance Of Vitamin D In The Winter

Vitamin D is a nutrient that the body needs daily for good health. Most of the Vitamin D that we need is synthesized in the body as long as we are sufficiently exposed to the sun for 15 to 20 minutes a day. 

We can increase levels of Vitamin D in our body from foods such as eggs, mushrooms and several types of fish.

However, most foods have very little or no vitamin D, unless they are fortified. Some great sources of fortified foods are plant-based milk and orange juice.

Vitamin D plays many major roles in the functioning and maintenance of the body.

Vitamin D:

  • Promotes the absorption and metabolism of minerals, particularly calcium, for strong bones.
  • Helps to maintain strong muscles.
  • Promotes cell replication.
  • Affects hormone balance and boosts the bodies immunity.
  • Keeps older adults active, with improved muscle strength, and less prone to falls.

Vitamin D should be sufficiently made in the body without a problem as long as we expose ourselves to the sun - especially the morning sun. Yet, most people in the northern hemisphere are lacking in this very important Vitamin, and there are several reasons why.

In the northern hemisphere, winter can have little to no sun for up to six months leading to a lack of vitamin D.

Those with darker skin tend to not absorb enough sunlight, so they don't usually make enough vitamin D, even in summer.

Moreover, even in the summer, people still cannot make enough vitamin D when they're sitting in the shade, or their only source of sunlight is filtered through windows and blocked by sunscreen.

Not getting enough Vitamin D may lead to:

  • Soft, thin, and/or brittle bones.
  • A weakened immune system which can lead to multiple health issues.
  • Effect mood.
  • Poor performance on tests.
  • Poor decision-making skills.
  • Difficulty with tasks that require focus and attention.
  • Lectin and gluten intolerance (types of allergen).

A lack of Vitamin D has also been connected to weight gain, and the struggle to lose weight.

In one study involving a calorie-controlled diet, it was found that women who had higher levels of vitamin D lost more weight than those with lower levels of the vitamin.

It is still not clear whether it is obesity that causes a deficiency of vitamin D, or whether it is the deficiency that causes obesity.

It is obvious that vitamin D plays a major role in the health of the body, and that deficiency can have negative side effects. 

To prevent health problems during the long winter months, expose yourself to the sun in summer as much as possible. Then in winter get tested to make sure that you know how much vitamin D is in your blood.

Eat foods that have vitamin D like salmon, mackerel, tuna in oil, sardines in oil, herring, fortified milk, cheese, butter, eggs, beef liver, and mushrooms.

If you are vegetarian, drink vitamin D fortified milk (cow, almond or soy) throughout winter. Eat tofu which provides 30% of the daily requirement of vitamin D. You can also eat various tofu products available in supermarkets. Do remember to choose tofu that is non-GMO.

White button mushrooms are also a good source of vitamin D if they have been exposed to the sun. Fortified oatmeal, cereals, and orange juice are all good sources of vitamin D.

Ask your doctor if you should take supplements, and if so, how much do they recommend. Also, find out the maximum amount you can take and never go over. You do not want to overdose as that is toxic to the body.

What is your favorite source of Vitamin D? Share it with us in the comments below.

 




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