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This week, The Weekly Beet reports straight from the mountainous, blue skies of North Carolina. Mary Kent absorbs a bit of Vitamin D, revealing why we could all us a bit of this sunny stuff this holiday season.
Exposure to the sun, which dermatologists have long said to be a no no, is actually one of the healthiest things you can do to help your body function optimally during these frigid winter months. While I am an advocate of sunscreen, there is something to be said about how much better the body feels after having been outside and exposed to the sun for just a few minutes every day. Though the months of winter are a deceptive season, as these coldie days keep us snuggled up indoors, safe and protected in front of the fireplace, away from Mother Nature where just the perfect medicinal remedy hangs above - if only we will remember to use her. Getting winter rays is easy, cheap, quick, and can leave us feeling refreshed, rebooted, and completely restarted in no time! It truly is the cure to kicking out Seasonal Affective Disorder. I'm a big believer of getting tons of sun in the winter months, as every time I do my mood instantly lifts, my energy increases, and all around I just feel better! So, what's so great about Vitamin D and why do should I chase after the sun for it? Unfortunately, the body doesn't make Vitamin D on it's own. That's why we need a little help from Mother Nature to create the perfect chemical solution for healthy bones, a pumping immune system, and some added cancer fighting protection! When the sun's rays hit the body, deep within the layers of the epidermis, skin cells get to work manufacturing Vitamin D. Vitamin D from sunlight acts as a pro-hormone, rapidly converting into 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or vitamin D3. This is the hormone needed to protect against brittle bones and is now being researched as a major cancer fighter, cutting our risk by 60 percent!
If you're living north of Atlanta, you can pretty much guarantee that your Vitamin D levels are on the down low. Here are some signs that you may be on the low:
- Muscle pain
- Weak bones
- Low energy and fatigue
- Weakened immune system
- Depression and mood swings
- Sleep irregularities
- Renal problems
- Intestinal difficulties such as IBS or Crohn's
While the body doesn't actually makeVitamin D, it's easy to make with adequate exposure to the sun. In the summer months, as little as 15 minutes a day is enough to do the trick, but during the winter months when the sun's rays go more horizontal and less potent, it's important that we take the necessary steps to ensure we get that D into the body. Here are a few other ways to get some Vitamin D into your life:
- Eat foods such as mackerel, sardines, and wild salmon.
- Get plenty of exercise OUTDOORS.
- Take a mulitvitamin. The whole food based Vitamins are great!
- Take a supplement of Vitamin D3. 1000-2000 IU daily is the daily suggestion.
- Fish oils contain Vitamin D. So, add this to the diet for some extra benefit!
- There is a safe tanning bed called the Sun Splash for those who can't bear the winter months without the sun!
- If your body is really hurting, try to head south to the closest sunny skies you can get to.
- Lastly, get tested to find out if your Vitamin D levels are low.
Get your winter Sunny D glow on! Stand in front of the sun for a few minutes every day and be grateful! There will be times when you will have to chase after it. Don't miss a Beet. Stay tuned for next week.
PS. Mary Kent is wearing jacket by North Face and earrings by Nicholas Lane. She is chasing the sun in Cashiers, NC getting her Vitamin D!
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