So here’s a shocking statistic. Almost 1 billion people across the world have a vitamin D deficiency!
That is a LOT of people – and it’s a big deal, because vitamin D does a LOT of things to keep us feeling healthy.
Do you know how your vitamin D level is doing?
One big symptom of being low in vitamin D is feeling rundown and tired, along with catching every cold/bug that comes around. Feeling depressed and losing hair also are two common signs you might be low in the ‘sunshine’ vitamin.
I’m going to outline a few things you can do to help boost your vitamin D (and why it’s important) … including making a few healthy food choices.
You probably already know your body needs vitamin D to build and maintain strong bones over the course of your life. But it does so much more than that.
Vitamin D works like a hormone in your system, helping your body’s immune, digestive, circulatory, and nervous systems do their jobs.
Scientists also are looking into how vitamin D might help prevent diseases such as depression, diabetes, cancer, and even heart problems.
Scientists in Denmark have found that certain genetic variations in people increase their risk of having a lower level of vitamin D.
The thing is, getting enough vitamin D can be kind of tricky because not many foods are naturally high in vitamin D.
You can get vitamin D from the sun, but it’s hard to know what to do because for decades health experts have been warning us to slather ourselves in sunscreen in order to avoid damage from the sun’s rays. Sunscreen not only blocks the sun, but also the vitamin D.
Plus, there’s a ton of debate about how much vitamin D you need, with different health/medicine groups recommending anywhere from 600 to 2,000 IUs per day.
Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency:
- Getting older
- Being overweight
- Having dark skin
- Living far from the equator
- Using sunscreen every time you go out
- Staying inside
- A diet low in fish or dairy
Here are some practical tips for naturally raising your vitamin D level:
- Get some sunshine: Yes, even though we are told to avoid sun exposure, it doesn’t take much to raise your vitamin D level. Research shows that as little as 8 to 15 minutes of exposure is all you need (people who live farther from the equator or who have darker skin might need more time).
- Eat your eggs: (especially the yolks). Studies show that free-range chickens that eat a diet of grain fortified with vitamin D have more than the daily requirement of the vitamin. Be sure to check your labels.
- Fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel (including canned varieties) contain vitamin D. Whenever possible, choose wild-caught fish (according to Healthline, farmed salmon contains only 25 percent of the vitamin D of wild-caught salmon). BONUS: these foods are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health.
- Choose fortified foods. Most cow’s milk has been fortified with vitamin D – and now, so have most non-dairy milks. Again, be sure to check the label. Fortified milks are a perfect addition to a healthy smoothie.
- Ask your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement. It’s always a good idea to check with your doc before adding a new supplement to your routine. Give them a call to see what they recommend for your unique situation, and to see if they want to test your level before recommending a dosage.
If you have a deficiency, raising them back to normal levels can make a huge difference in your energy level and your mood. Definitely worth checking out.
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