When you spend much of your day indoors, do you feel like you just have to get outside for a little bit - even if it’s just for a walk around the block? Believe it or not, the pull of the great outdoors may actually be your body telling you that you're Vitamin D deficient – because it's the sunshine vitamin! Getting outside and into the midday rays is by far the best way to build up the Vitamin D your body needs. It's a perfectly natural process and all it takes to make happen is some sunshine on your skin.
Vitamin D Sunshine Exposure
It’s natural for us to want to be outside. Staying cooped up in an office or house for too long can be a bummer, no doubt. And who doesn’t like feeling the sun’s warmth on their skin? Bright light has shown to raise the body’s serotonin levels, and serotonin is what helps put us in better moods. Plus, Vitamin D benefits include reducing your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, prostate and colon cancer. It can also help relieve insomnia and symptoms of depression. All good news!
Vitamin D From Food
It’s possible to get Vitamin D from your diet, but there just aren’t that many foods out there that naturally have it. Fish such as mackerel, tuna, and salmon are good sources, and cheese and egg yolks have some, as well. Most anything else on your plate, such as yogurt or milk, has to be fortified. Vitamin D foods, unfortunately, aren't extremely plentiful so you may still need to take a supplement to get your levels up to par. That's why some time in the sunshine is so important.
Vitamin D Deficient As You Age
I know what you’re saying: “Everything we’ve heard and read for so long says that the sun gives you skin cancer so we have to avoid it at all costs.” That’s still true – when done to excess. As is the case with so much of what we do, eat, and drink over the course of our lives, moderation is key. Too much midday sunshine will definitely cause damage to your skin, long-term and short, visible and invisible. But studies show that small doses of the sun’s UV-B rays are definitely beneficial.
Also, as you get older you’re even more apt to be Vitamin D deficient due to the tendency to spend more and more time indoors instead of out and your body actually producing less of it when you do occasionally make it outside. So making it a point to spend some time outside when possible is good for your health no matter how old you are.
How Much Sunshine is Enough?
Fair-skinned people only need about 10 minutes a day of exposure without sunscreen. Darker-skinned individuals need 15-20 minutes per day. Anything past that and you risk the sun’s more harmful effects. So if it’s a nice day, step outside for your coffee or lunch break and get your dose of sunshine!