Vitamin D is important for our bodies, but how can we get enough during the winter months?
Research has linked Vitamin D to decreased rates of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, anxiety and depression. Vitamin D levels in the body are not as much of an issue during the summer when people are going outside. However, during the winter months, people spend a lot more of their time indoors due to colder temperatures and snowy days. This often leads to a drop in the body’s vitamin D levels.
But how can you get Vitamin D in the winter? Go outside! Even when there is snow on the ground, you can still get enough sun to boost your vitamin D levels. When you’re outside, let as much skin show as you comfortably can- your face, neck, and hands can get some sunshine. Go outside during “solar noon.” This is the time of day when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. When you’re outside, use your skin as a cue. If your skin starts to turn pink, you’ve had enough. Keep in mind that you don’t need to spend hours in the sun. Even ten minutes a day can help boost the level of vitamin D in your body.
We live in an area where the sun shines enough in the winter that vitamin D supplements may not be necessary. However, especially with supplements, we need to ensure that we don’t get “toxic” on vitamin D. A better way to get vitamin D is simply by eating more of the foods rich in this vitamin. There are a handful of foods that can help boost vitamin D levels. Good food sources include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, mushrooms, eggs, and vitamin D fortified foods such as milk. Wild salmon is a great source and just a small 4 ounce serving can give us more than enough of the recommend daily allowance. For those with dietary restrictions, any type of milk will do! Cow, soy, almond, and coconut milk are all vitamin D fortified.
Following these simple recommendations can help everyone enjoy the health benefits of vitamin D naturally not only during the winter, but all year long.