Here comes winter, when the sun becomes elusive and we are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Our bodies benefit loads from vitamin D. Unfortunately, medical research shows that over 30% of adults in Australia have low levels of this essential vitamin, which plays a vital role in maintaining good health.
Sufficient vitamin D within the body offers the following benefits:
- Healthy bones as it aids in calcium absorption
- Lowers risk of arthritis
- Fights off infections
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves digestive tract
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
However, certain demographic groups are found to be at risk of low vitamin D levels, including the elderly, people on shiftwork and those who have a cognitive impairment or are on certain medications.
Women, as well as individuals who lack outdoor activities or cover their bodies, are also found to be deficient in the vitamin. So how can you get more vitamin D, especially if the main source is seldom around during winter?
If you’re worried that you may be suffering from vitamin D deficiency, consult your GP and have your vitamin levels tested. Pregnant women should heed this advice as they are more vulnerable during the winter months.
Here below, we list 10 ways to obtain more of this type of vitamin during the cold weather.
- Spend a few minutes outdoors. Even if you can’t see the beams of the sun because of the cloudy skies, you can still benefit from it. Just don’t forget to apply your sunscreen.
- While outdoors, engage in energy-boosting exercises like running to warm up your body and allow it to absorb vitamin D. See to it that you wrap yourself in layered clothing so you don’t freeze out there.
- Eat a balanced diet that consists of meat, whole grain, fruit and vegetables.
- Include oily fish in your meals. Salmon, mackerel, tuna, herring and trout don't only have high amounts of vitamin D, but they also boast of anti-inflammatory properties.
- Consume foods and drinks that are rich in calcium such as cereals, cheese, soy milk, yogurt and fortified milk.
- Take a supplement which contains the recommended daily amount of the sunshine vitamin.
- Mushrooms, especially the maitake kind, are also rich in vitamin D as they grow in the sun. So if you’re a vegetarian, mushrooms are the perfect substitute for meat.
- Eat eggs that were sourced from free-range chickens. Two large eggs provide 15% of the RDA for vitamin D.
- Drink a cup of orange juice to get a combination of vitamins C and D.
- Put more green, leafy vegetables on your plate. Spinach and kale are good sources of the vitamin.