Healthy Eating: Vitamin D saves the day

Vitamin D has a whole host of benefits to boost energy, health and overall happiness.

By KATHRYN RUBIN
February 21, 2013 16:03
2 minute read.
sunshine

Healthy Eating: Vitamin D saves the day. (photo credit: Wikicommons)

 
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Most of us know that we can get Vitamin A from orange vegetables, Vitamin C from citrus fruits and the B Vitamins from whole grains. But what about Vitamin D? Where does this mysterious vitamin come from, and more importantly why do we care? No offense to vitamins A, B, C and E, but recent studies have found that Vitamin D may be one of the most important vitamins to consume on a regular basis. Gone are the days when Vitamin D is merely considered to be calcium’s sidekick. It is now considered a vitamin that many of us need to make sure we are getting enough of each month, each week and each day.

Now how do we get Vitamin D? Unlike other vitamins, our bodies actually produce Vitamin D when exposed to the sun – hence D’s nickname the “sunshine vitamin.” Sadly, as many of us have heard over and over again, unprotected exposure to the sun’s harmful rays can lead to the wrinkles, premature signs of aging and of course skin cancer. Unfortunately for Vitamin D, when we lather on sunscreen we are reducing our skin's ability to manufacture Vitamin D by 90 to 99 percent – good for our skin, bad for our Vitamin D levels. So how do we get this vitamin safely? The only way really are Vitamin D3 pills (or liquid drops).

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Here are four of the many reasons why it’s recommended to get 4,000IU a day:

Immune boosting power


Drinking orange juice when your throat starts to get sore or you when feel the sniffles coming on is a good idea; however, making sure your levels of Vitamin D are high enough year round may actually help keep colds and the flu at bay. Researchers have found that numerous immune compounds depend on vitamin D to fight off infections.

Building stronger bones (and muscles too)

For years Calcium and Vitamin D have gone hand in hand, and for good reason. Without vitamin D, the body cannot properly absorb calcium, and bones become fragile. Vitamin D goes beyond just building stronger bones, it is also needed to maintain muscles. Vitamin D is needed for normal muscle production and strength, and a lack of the vitamin leads to muscle weakness, a reduced range of motion, and increased physical frailty

Lowers risk of cancer


Back in 1980 researchers reported that low Vitamin D levels were associated with a greater risk of developing colorectal cancer. Since then numerous studies have popped up tying low levels of Vitamin D to higher levels of breast, ovarian, kidney and prostate cancer.



Makes you smile…more

Finally and most importantly, studies have found that Vitamin D can actually help to elevate our mood, particularly for women. Studies have found that Vitamin D helps to prevent disorders such as depression, anxiety, irritability, and premenstrual syndrome as well as lessen their severity.



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