Let's talk a little bit about the benefits and nutrients we receive from sunshine - and some ways to get those same benefits - citrus salad, anyone?! - if you're not able to spend much time outside.
One of the main benefits we get from direct sunlight is simply that it helps our bodies make Vitamin D naturally. 💪 Vitamin D is way important for making our bodies run smoothly, safely, and happily!! Here are just a few examples:
Still need convincing? 🧐 50% of the world's population has a Vitamin D deficiency. There's a good chance that if you're not consciously prioritizing your Vitamin D intake, you might be one of them!
Hot take: You don't need to spend hours outside to get the amount of sunlight you need to trigger your body's production of Vitamin D!! According to the National Institutes of Health, you really only need about fifteen minutes of direct sunlight, two or three times a week, and you should be good to go. ⏲
(After those fifteen minutes are up, however, make SURE you wear a hat and slather on sunscreen to protect your skin. Vitamin D is great, but sunburns and skin cancer definitely aren't!!!)
This is good news for anyone spending more time indoors these days! If you go on a run or a walk around the block a few times a week, you're likely good to go. Even just going for a drive on a sunny day might do the trick, or sitting by a sunny window in your home. (However, most windows block UV rays from the sun, which is the essential ingredient for Vitamin D production. Open up the window or sit on a stoop if you can!) 🏃♀️🏡
Fortunately for those who live in cloudier climates, Vitamin D can also be found in certain foods. If you like fish, you're in luck: Salmon, herring, sardines, canned tuna, and fish oil are all great sources of Vitamin D! If you're not able to get in the sun for a few minutes here and there, simply prioritize fatty fish in your diet and you'll be set. 😋
Not a fan of fish? Mushrooms and egg yolks are other good sources of the sunshine vitamin!
Did you know that you can purchase a sun lamp to help replicate the effects of the sun in your home? Marketed originally as Seasonal Affective Disorder lamps, these products have been shown to increase low levels of serotonin, a chemical that helps keep you happy. There's some evidence to show that occasional, safe use of these lamps can also stimulate Vitamin D production!
Yummy citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruit and lemons are known to have large amounts of Vitamin C in them....not necessarily Vitamin D. But! Having a good amount of Vitamin C in your body can actually make Vitamin D more bioavailable, or simply increase the amount of Vitamin D we're able to get from other foods and activities. (This might be why lots of citrus is in season over the winter - to help us compensate for the lack of sun exposure we get during colder months!) 🤯
Pro tip: If you find you've eaten one too many oranges to get your vitamins in, think about drizzling lime on your tacos, using grapefruit juice as a mixer in a mocktail, or simply purchasing lemonade or orange juice that has been fortified with calcium and Vitamin D.
While we've taken a 'let food or activity be our medicine' approach for most of our tips, we did want to note that Vitamin D supplements or multivitamins which include the daily recommended intake of Vitamin D are widely available. Especially if you live at a higher latitude where you don't get as much sun exposure or if you're not able to get outside as much as you'd like, taking a Vitamin D supplement can help you get all of the nutrients you need. 💛
It's so good to know that there are creative workarounds for getting the nutrients we need no matter where we are!!! If you can, try to spend some time in the sun this week...in the meantime, we're off to make one of those grapefruit mocktails!!! 🍹
What are you doing these days to get out in the sun when you can??