With winter coming, people are spending less time outdoors in the sunshine. Spending time in the sun can positively affect your mood, and it also has some other health benefits. The human body uses sunshine to make vitamin D, which is an essential nutrient. Cold, dreary winter weather makes it hard to get outdoors every day. In some cases, this can lead to a vitamin D deficiency; however, there are ways to prevent this deficiency even if you can’t enjoy the sun.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D is an important fat-soluble nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus. Without enough vitamin D, bones can become soft and you can have issues with your teeth. Vitamin D is also essential in keeping the immune system healthy. Those who don’t have enough vitamin D may notice muscle cramps, weakness and fatigue. A blood test can determine if you need to add more vitamin D to your diet through supplements or other methods.
How to get enough vitamin D year-round
The best way to ensure that you get vitamin D all year is to try to get out in the sun for 10-15 minutes during peak daylight hours when possible. In some areas, there simply isn’t enough sunlight during the winter months, which is why you may need some form of supplement. A diet high in vitamin D-rich foods like egg yolks, fortified dairy and liver can help. Some people may need even more vitamin D, which can be found in supplemental form.
Vitamin D is a key nutrient, and it’s important to get enough throughout the year. It keeps your bones and teeth healthy and boosts the immune system. The long winter months often mean you can’t get enough vitamin D just by being outdoors. Nutrient-dense foods and vitamin D supplements can help those who need a boost.