Thursday, January 17, 2013

Vitamin D and Sunshine

Have you ever heard that lying in the sun may have benefits beyond making your skin look darker?

It’s true; ultraviolet radiation from the sun can cause reactions that help your body produce vitamin D.  It’s a natural way to get up to 50% of your daily needs of vitamin D, so this source of vitamin D is one of the best!  Vitamin D is a vitamin that’s been discovered to be deficient in many populations, especially those that don’t have vitamin D fortified milk…or very much sunshine.  Vitamin D is important in fighting infections such as viral and upper respiratory infections.  For those who suffer from asthma, vitamin D can play a part in reducing asthma’s effects.  It is also an aid in calcium absorption which helps in preventing osteoporosis, an all-too-common disease characterized by bone loss and fractures.  So not only does a moderate amount of dairy do your bones good, but a few minutes of sunbathing can also help your body to maintain its vitamin D status.  It is said that, for those with fair skin tones, about 15 minutes of sun exposure to the face and arms per day is all that’s needed.  Just remember that there are seasonal and area differences in sun availability, and those individuals with darker skin tone need more than the 15 minutes described above.  So always aim to get your three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy a day plus to two to three of fish per week – this can help you get the sunshine vitamin through food!

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