Sunny skies and soaring temperatures do more than make our environment spring to life. It's good for us too. Just 20 minutes of sun exposure tops-up our vitamin D levels for the day. However, with lockdown easing, more of us are leaving our balcony work stations and returning to the office. This means we may not get to spend as much time soaking up those summer rays as we would like. But, can we get all the vitamin D we need from the sun or are there other ways too?
Let’s take a closer look at this ‘sunshine vitamin’ and how it works.
What is vitamin D and why do we need it?
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. In summer exposure to the sun will help bolster our vitamin D levels. However, in winter, when UVB levels decrease, we usually turn to supplements or a nutrient-rich diet to get the levels of vitamin D that we need to stay healthy.
How do much do you need each day?
On average twenty minutes of sun exposure is expected to fulfil your recommended daily intake of vitamin D. But there's a catch. For the cholesterol in our skin cells to synthesize the UVB rays into vitamin D, we need to be sunscreen free. This may be fine for those with darker complexions, however if your skin is fair it can cause harmful sun damage. For this reason it's advised to expose your arms or legs, where the skin is less thin, and stay alert for signs of sun damage.
What happens if you lack vitamin D?
Vitamin D deficiency can cause soft, thin and weak bones. Recent data has also shown that vitamin D deficiency has been also linked to increased risks of cancer, autoimmune diseases, hypertension, osteoporosis, heart disease, and depression. It’s also been associated with weight gain and greater susceptibility to infectious disease. On the other hand, too much vitamin D can be harmful and lead to serious consequences.
How do you get a proper dose of vitamin D?
The short answer is from the sun, food and supplements.
In summer the sun is the best way to get it. However, different factors like age, skin tone and geographical location can affect the way our bodies absorb sunlight. So even with your hours under the sun, it may not guarantee you’ll cover your daily dose.
In addition, the sun doesn't produce the high levels of UVB in winter that are needed to keep your levels up. For this reason, supplementing your diet with foods that are rich in vitamin D will help to keep you healthy throughout the winter months. Fortified plant milks, mushrooms and cereals are a great source of vitamin D. But, if you are living a vegan lifestyle, you may still need to supplement.
That’s where naanu can help you. All of our cookies provide you with 100% of your daily needs in vitamin D, B12 and omega-3 as well as high in zinc, iron and calcium and fibre. One piece a day provides you with all the nutrients you need. Check out our flavours here.
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Have a healthy happy time.
(Photo: Angelo P/Unsplash)