Studies have shown that deficiencies in Vitamin D have a direct effect on the immune system. Getting enough sunlight could be the one secret ingredient missing the fight against infections, such as the common cold or the coronavirus.
Since sunshine is still the best way for humans to get vitamin D, spend a little time in the sun with a little skin exposed. Be careful that you don’t burn, but some sunlight is necessary to get an adequate amount of useable vitamin D for people. On sunny days, go outside and soak up some of the “Sunshine Vitamin” – Vitamin D. It is unique in that it is a vitamin AND a hormone that your body can make with help from the sun. Research suggests that low levels of vitamin D are associated with mood disorders and depression.
Some vitamin D researchers have found that somewhere between 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10 AM and 3 PM at least twice a week to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen usually lead to sufficient vitamin D synthesis. Indoor light therapy can help, too.
Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon either. For now, there is sunlight without it being overly cold. Because we spend more time indoors during winter, it can be hard to get enough – which is why getting some sunlight is so important during the colder months, even though it can be tough.
Once winter hits, though, getting vitamin D while outside will be harder, especially for those who live in areas where temperatures can dip into the negatives. Your body’s vitamin D levels are at their lowest levels during wintertime because of this, and the end result is a lowered immune system and an increase in colds and flu.
If you can, try to still get outside even when it’s cold.
Food is a great way to get some vitamin during the winter, but it’s still second to spending time in the sun. There are actually two main forms of vitamin D found in food. Vitamin D3 is a more active form and found only from animal sources. Vitamin D2 comes from plant sources. Both animals and plants need sunlight or UV exposure in order to produce vitamin D. If you like seafood, consider eating some oily fish such as sockeye salmon, mackerel, flounder, sole, swordfish, whitefish, sturgeon and rainbow trout. Each palm-sized serving of these fish will help you get 75% to 100% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin D, and they are loaded with Omega 3 fatty acids! You can’t go wrong with fish over the winter!
If you’re like me, and no matter how hard you’ve tried, you just can’t stomach fish, mushrooms are an excellent option. While mushrooms are technically fungi, not plants, but they’re the only non-animal source of naturally occurring vitamin D. Wild mushrooms and those that are exposed to ultraviolet light have the highest vitamin D content. All it takes is about 1 cup of raw UV-exposed mushrooms to meet or exceed your daily vitamin D needs. That’s not too bad! Regularly munching on brown cremini, portabella, maitake, and white button mushrooms can help give your body enough of this powerful and necessary vitamin.
If you live in an area where it is difficult to get fish and mushrooms, you may need to consider taking a supplement. This is the least effective way to get your Vitamin D, but it may the only option for some people. Such consideration should be run past a medical professional first, however. Depending on where you live in the world and what kind of lifestyle you lead, you may be at greater risk of vitamin D deficiency. If you live in a place where most of your skin is covered in the winter and it rarely gets warm enough to venture beyond your front door without a parka and hat, you should talk to your doctor about getting enough vitamin D and what supplements could work out the best for you!”
Getting enough sun can also help beat “cabin fever” that can be mentally difficult during the winter.
The sun is very important to our overall health and often not discussed enough when it comes to a quick and easy boost to the immune system as cold and flu season approaches. If you mean to help give your body a fighting chance this winter, get some sun! It’ll also help your mood improve, and who doesn’t need that right now?!