Hello, Charlotte! It’s raining today. It was all cloudy yesterday. And there is a chance it may rain tomorrow. I’m not here to be your weather man, but between the dreary weather and the sun setting earlier and earlier as we head into winter, it got me thinking about vitamin D and why our lack of it during this time of year can negatively affect our health.
Vitamin D is important to our health because it helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphorus. It also helps strengthen our immune system and helps fight off a common cold, which is extra important this time of year. It’s good for your brain and has been linked to maintaining a healthy body weight. It has also been shown to be beneficial in fighting off heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Overall, let’s just say, it’s important.
Most people know that we get vitamin D from being exposed to sunlight. It only takes about 10-20 minutes of having most of your body exposed to the sun to get enough vitamin D, but between the cooler temperatures, cloudy days and most people leaving and coming home from work in the dark, most of us aren’t getting the necessary dose.
So what are we supposed to do? Well, you can take a supplement if you are deficient- about 75% of Americans are- WOW. To find out if you are, ask your doctor to be checked. All it takes is a simple blood test. However, you can also start incorporating more of these foods into your diet: fish oil, salmon, sardines, soy milk, vitamin D fortified orange juice and milk and eggs (eat the yolk, too!).
There aren’t many symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Sometimes a person will feel bone pain or muscle fatigue, but overall the best way to know if you are deficient is to be tested. So until spring rolls around and it’s lake weather again, try to remember to incorporate foods rich in vitamin D into your daily eats and pop a multi-vitamin for good measure. Cheers to your health!