Why Your Body Craves Sunshine
Finally the sun is back after the long, gray months of winter. If you live in a more frigid climate and find yourself longing for some of that warm sunshine on your face, you’re not alone. In fact, it may be your body telling you something.
Your body actually craves that sunshine as it’s an excellent source of vitamin D, and it’s essential for a healthy immune system, growth and development of bones and teeth, and can help develop disease resistance to osteoporosis and multiple sclerosis. In addition, vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to depression, weight gain, heart disease, and some cancers. Are you getting enough?
The Sunshine Vitamin
The body produces vitamin D naturally when exposed directly to sunlight, which is why it’s referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.” However, that doesn’t mean you should be soaking up the sun for hours and risking sun damage, especially if you’re fair skinned.
The Vitamin D Council recommends 15 minutes a day for lighter skinned individuals, and a couple of hours or more for those with darker skin. Midday is when your skin produces the most Vitamin D, as the atmosphere naturally blocks the UVB rays during the early morning and later daylight hours.
As a rule of thumb, if your shadow is shorter than you are, you’re soaking up the right kind of rays for vitamin D production.
Good Sources of Vitamin D In Your Diet
With today’s increasingly long hours at the office and lengthy commutes, it’s difficult to break away for a few moments in the sun everyday. However, your diet is a prime source for Vitamin D when you include foods like eggs, shrimp, tuna and salmon, fortified milk, orange juice, and yogurt.
Vitamin D Supplements
Research is divided on just how beneficial artificial vitamin D supplements are for the body, and also just what constitutes “enough” vitamin D. Deficiency screening is recommended if you have osteoporosis, kidney, or celiac disease, but otherwise some research suggests it’s possibly unnecessary.
If you have any questions about how else a vitamin D deficiency may be affecting your health, make an appointment or stop by an AppleCare clinic near you to speak with one of our health care providers.