Summer is over and Autumn has begun. Yes, I did just state the completely obvious. But seasons mark a change in weather and with that comes a gradual change in the food available. So, that means you're gonna need to eat a little differently in order for your body to adapt to these changes. But perhaps even more obvious, is the waining light. No more alfresco dining till late darling... you'll be lucky if you make it home from work before the world turns the lights off in a couple of months.
Now that the temperature is cooling we are are all looking to the fake tan (natural, of course) to maintain our summer glows instead of spending a few chilly hours outside. Well, the sun hasn't gone into hiding just yet! So before we begin mourning it's loss, let's take full advantage of what's left. It's good for your health people!
This SUNday I will be doing all I can to catch every last ray sunshine. You know why? Vitamin D, baby. Wanna know more about this ray of goodness?
- Its a vitamin…and we all know those are good for us. But we don’t actually receive it from the sun - we make it in our skin when under direct sunlight. Confused yet?
- It’s mood enhancing. There is more and more evidence emerging that suggests vitamin D deficiency to be associated with depression and depressed patients have been found to respond well to vitamin D supplementation. Anyone heard of SAD or Seasonal Mood Disorder? Well, SAD is thought to be caused by reduced movement in winter (to conserve energy during seasonal food scarcity) and a lack of sunlight. Solution: take your workout outside to burn up some heat, move ya booty and catch some rays! Two birds one stone, people.
- It supports immune system function. Kinda crucial during the cold and flu season, no?
- It aids the adsorption of calcium and phosphorus, i.e. it helps with growth and development (at every age). So pair your eggs (vitamin D and phosphorus) with some sautéed kale (calcium). We all want strong bones right?
- It suppresses inflammation and protects against cancer (yes, even skin cancer!)
- It improves the quality of your skin (yay!). This is definitely something I will vouch for. Regular exposure to sunlight may help reduce the symptoms of acne, and it’s also used to treat eczema and psoriasis. Your immune system helps fight autoimmune diseases and protects against the overgrowth of bad bacteria in our guts, the effects of which are often presented on our skin. Ever had a rash following eating a food you are intolerant to?
Who much sun do you need?
Basically, 15 minutes a day should just about do it for most people (but this does depend on skin-type, age and where you live). That’s in direct sunlight, sans suncream and around midday (when your shadow is short). You’re body will only generate the quantity of vitamin D that it needs so this is the best way to keep your levels in a good range. If you’re worried about protecting your skin, a diet high in antioxidants and ‘good’ fats will stand you in good stead. For more advice on how much you need to be getting check out this article.
But as I already mentioned, we spend a lot less time outside as the weather turns a little nippy. Don’t fret, there are other solutions...
Other ways to avoid D-ficiency during winter:
Aside from sunshine, eggs are my favourite source of vitamin D, but other good sources include oily fish (salmon, mackerel and sardines), mushrooms, and for those that eat it, organic dairy and high-quality fish liver oils. Of course, you could also take a vitamin D3 supplement but because it is a fat-soluble vitamin too much can lead to toxicity, so check with your doctor or naturopath first.
It’s thought to be the most common medical condition in the world, with almost 3 out of 4 Americans deficient in vitamin D, so it’s pretty important that we keep on top of things and ensure that we are getting enough through our diets this winter.
Will you join me in dedicating this SUNday to getting your dose of vitamin D?
Happy weekend, kids!