Happy solstice! If the short, dark days of winter have got you down, be of good cheer, because now the days will be getting incrementally longer and sunnier! Because sunlight is so essential to both mental and physical health, we thought today would be a great day to discuss Vitamin D! Vitamin D is sometimes called the "sunshine vitamin", because our bodies produce it when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in very few foods. Some of the many important functions of Vitamin D in the human body include:
What a powerhouse!
Vitamin D is fundamental in facilitating intestinal absorption of many essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc. It is also a crucial element of a healthy immune system and proper brain function. Because Vitamin D is so essential to many of your body's basic functions, even a slight deficiency can wreak havoc in many ways!
It is estimated that nearly three-quarters of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. As our society has progressed from hunters/gatherers/farmers to masters of industry, our time spent working in the sunlight has significantly decreased.
When you are already getting minimal exposure to the sun each day due to working indoors; and then add to that layers of fabric to keep you warm, increased air pollutants that filter what little sun exposure you do get, and shorter days, it's no wonder so many people suffer from seasonal depression or are more likely to get sick in wintertime!
What can you do to increase your Vitamin D intake?
Few foods contain vitamin D naturally. Because of this, it can be hard to get enough vitamin D each day even if you have a great diet! You may be able to increase your Vitamin D intake by following these general guidelines:
- First of all, making a concerted effort to get outside more can make a big difference. Make time daily for a good 30 minutes outside.
- Eat more foods that do contain naturally-occurring Vitamin D, such as salmon, sardines, egg yolk, shrimp, and Sunflower seeds.
We hope that this information helps you have a happier and healthier winter!
Warm solstice wishes from us to you!