The Sunshine Vitamin D
Having been told for years to take our Vitamin C to fight colds, it has now been established that Vitamin D may actually be more critical to fighting off colds. It plays a number of roles in our body, including:
- Promoting absorption of calcium and bone health
- Boosting immune function
- Reducing inflammation
- Healthy neuro-muscular function
- Protecting against some forms of cancer
For such an amazing nutrient, vitamin D doesn’t always get the attention it deserves, perhaps because very few foods in nature contain vitamin D. The best sources are salmon, tuna and mackerel (especially the flesh) and fish liver oils. Beef liver, cheese and egg yolks also contain small amounts. If these foods don’t sound very appealing to you, there is good news: you don’t have to eat vitamin D to make sure you’re getting your daily dose! Vitamin D is actually produced in your body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike your skin. The UV rays trigger synthesis of vitamin D, which then gets converted in your liver into its active form.
This means one of the best ways to get vitamin D is to spend about 20-30 minutes a day outside in the sun. Keep in mind that wearing sunscreen will prevent you from getting adequate vitamin D outdoors. In the summertime, an easy solution is skipping sunscreen on your legs for the first 20 minutes in the sun. Just make sure you apply in time to prevent any burns or damage.