Winter is here! While you may be enjoying the cold weather and the winter festivities, it is important to keep an eye on your health. From the lack of sunlight to the limited outside time, it can be easy for your health to decline without you even knowing. One of the biggest physical health concerns is a deficiency of Vitamin D, a significant vitamin in your body that you get mostly from sunlight.
Why Vitamin D is Important
You've probably heard that Vitamin D helps you have healthy bones, but there's more to it than just that. Vitamin D3, also known as calcitriol, is absorbed through the skin. Most of it is captured by cells that are called melanocytes that protect you from cancer. The rest of the UV rays from the sunlight, however, are not absorbed by the cells and enter the body. This isn’t a bad thing, though! From there, the absorbed UV rays stimulate Vitamin D production which then helps your small intestines absorb calcium from the food you eat. Without enough Vitamin D, you may find yourself unable to absorb enough calcium from your daily diet leading to a calcium deficiency - known as hypocalcemia - that can cause many health problems such as weak bones, weak muscles, cramping, and other detrimental health issues. To prevent these issues from arising the winter, here are three ways that you can keep your Vitamin D levels, and therefore your calcium levels, up.
Change Your Diet
Sometimes, keeping your Vitamin D levels healthy can be as simple as adding a few extra foods to your diet. Some of the best Vitamin D rich foods you can add to your diet are fatty fish - such as sardines, salmon, perch, and trout. If you don’t eat fish, though, don’t worry: there are plenty of other foods you can add. Greens like spinach, kale, and collards are rich in nutrients and can be served as sides for nearly every meal.
If you’re unable to eat these foods, or, after talking with a nutritionist it has been decided that a diet change is not enough to fight a deficiency, taking supplements can be one of the best ways to avoid a Vitamin D deficiency in the winter. While this is an easy solution, there is one drawback. You’ll need to make sure that you talk to your doctor before beginning to take Vitamin D or calcium supplements as too much of either can lead to a condition known as hypercalcemia - an excess of calcium - which can be just as harmful, if not more so, than a Vitamin D deficiency.
Get Outside When You Can
Take advantage of the warmer, sunnier days this witner and get outside. Not only will this keep the rest of your body healthy - especially if you engage in fun, cool weather activies - but it will get your body the sunlight it needs to kee