How to Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency in the Wintertime
The winter blues are real. Many people experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and experience lower mood and energy. For most people with SAD, symptoms start in the fall and continue throughout the winter. Research shows that SAD is likely attributed to lower vitamin D levels in the winter. Even if you don’t have SAD, people tend to spend less time outdoors in the winter.
Our bodies rely on vitamin D for a few reasons, namely for building and maintaining healthy bones. This is because your body can only absorb calcium when vitamin D is present. It also supports cellular function, immune health and muscular function. In short, we need vitamin D for all sorts of things!
We get most of our vitamin D from sunlight but even though the days are darker, there are still ways to make sure you’re getting enough. For starters, your diet. Vitamin D is not only absorbed through sunlight but also found in the things we eat. Some of the best sources of vitamin D are oily fish like:
Some other foods high in vitamin D are egg yolk, fortified cereals and juices, cod liver oil and tuna. It’s important to note that it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D through food alone, but a high vitamin D diet is a great way to fight deficiency during the winter.
While it's not always possible during winter, the most effective way to maintain vitamin D levels is through direct sun exposure. It is recommended to get 10 to 30 minutes of sunlight, so a little goes a long way. If you burn easily, apply sunblock after a few minutes and be sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
If sunlight and diet still aren’t providing enough vitamin D, daily supplements are a great option. Luckily, vitamin D supplements are widely available in most pharmacies and grocery stores. Talk to your doctor about whether supplements are right for you.
If you’re struggling to get enough vitamin D, the Online Health Coach can help you set goals and earn rewards. Plus, it can help you stay motivated to get outside and stay active this winter.