This week's #bebetter52 challenge is to soak up the sun and enjoy some vitamin D. When properly exposed to the sun, you will reap many health benefits and feel more energized. Of course, don’t forget the sunscreen if you plan to spend long amounts of time in the sun.
According to WebMD, vitamin D is unique is because it is both a vitamin and a hormone your body can make from the sun; however, despite the ability to take in vitamin D from food and the sun, an estimated 40%-75% of people are deficient. It is important to monitor vitamin D levels (take a yearly blood test) to ensure you are receiving the nutrients possible to keep you feeling energized. Dr. Weil states, “Our best source of vitamin D is sun exposure. The body synthesizes “D” using ultraviolet (UV) rays absorbed by the skin, and very little sun exposure is needed to provide your body’s needs.” By spending only 15-20 minutes beneath the rays of the sun, you can greatly improve your mental and physical health.
Researchers have discovered vitamin D is active in many tissues and cells besides your bones and controls an enormous number of genes, including some associated with cancers, autoimmune disease, and infection. Hardly a month goes by without news of the risks of vitamin D deficiency or about a potential role the vitamin plays in warding off diseases, including breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, and even schizophrenia. So make every effort this week to go outside and take in the sun’s benefits.
If you live somewhere that does not receive a ton of sun exposure, don’t worry. Other ways to absorb vitamin D are readily available through vitamin D-enriched foods. Listed below are various foods you can eat to give you energy and to help prevent certain diseases.
Vitamin D (IU*)
Salmon, 3.5 ounces
Mackerel, 3.5 ounces
Tuna, canned, 3.5 ounces
Orange juice, fortified, 8 ounces
Milk, fortified, 8 ounces
Breakfast cereals, fortified, 1 serving
*IU = international units
Source: Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health
We are eager to see how you managed to take in your vitamin D this week. Whether through the warm sunshine or some delicious food, we know it will boost your spirit and give you overall health benefits.