Get Some Vitamin D
Before you slather on that sunscreen or dash for the shade, let‚Äôs talk Vitamin D and why you should re-think staying away from the sun.
Sunny days are here again!
The warmer weather can only mean two things: longer days and shorter clothes.
But before you slather on that sunscreen or dash for the shade, let’s talk a little about Vitamin D and why you should re-think shying away from the sun.
Although we refer to it as a “vitamin”, Vitamin D is actually a hormone and it is absolutely essential for our bodies to not only carry out basic daily functions, but also maintain good health. The Life Extension blog notes, “higher doses of vitamin D are required to support [the body’s] other activities in tissues such as heart muscle, brain cells, and fat tissue, to name just a few. Additionally, vitamin D regulates genes that control cell growth and development, immune function, and metabolic control." For all of you athletes out there - in addition to maintaining good health, Vitamin D has been found to help improve athletic performance.
Accordingly, those with lower levels of Vitamin D are typically seen to be immune impaired and susceptible to chronic disease and illness. And sadly, Vitamin D deficiency has actually become a big problem here in the US.
So now that you know why Vitamin D is so critical, the big question is, where can you get it?
Although some milks and cereals have been “fortified” with Vitamin D, the very few foods that actually have Vitamin D naturally occurring in them include the flesh of fatty fish (and fish liver oils), beef liver, egg yolks, and cheese (although the latter three are not very good sources).
Truly, your best source of Vitamin D is good old sunshine. Your body is designed to produce Vitamin D when your skin is exposed to direct sunlight.
Herein lies the rub.
In order to steer clear of skin cancer and melanoma, we have, as a society, been told time and again to avoid sun exposure, cover up, and wear sunscreen. With all of this sun-phobia, it’s no wonder Vitamin D deficiency is running rampant!
The problem is that lower levels of Vitamin D in the body, as mentioned earlier, impairs immunity making us susceptible to diseases and yes, cancer. Mark Sisson even argues that sun exposure may even protect you from skin cancer because it enhances our production of….Vitamin D!
The solution then is safe sun exposure.
Allow your skin some exposure to the natural sunlight each day to help maximize your body’s Vitamin D production. If you are planning on being out in the sun for more than 20-30 min however, that is the time to be smart, take action and protect your skin! Plan ahead with hats, layers, and quality sunscreen. There are even apps you can use to track safe sun time each day!
While the sun is the absolute best source of Vitamin D, some folks may need some extra help via supplementation – especially during those winter months!
Sun exposure and supplementation alone, however, will not ensure optimal Vitamin D levels, as absorption into the body is key. A quality diet full of healthy fats, and magnesium, as well as maintaining healthy gut flora with fermented food and probiotics is essential to help maximize Vitamin D absorption.
Fortunately, modPALEO’s menu is rich in both healthy fats and magnesium (and the occasional fermented food dish) to help you reach those optimal Vitamin D levels to keep you healthy and feeling great!
So get out and enjoy the great weather this summer. You provide the sunshine, we’ll provide the nutrition!