Baby, it’s cold outside, and if the cold months of winter have you singing the blues, you may not be getting enough vitamin D. This essential vitamin, is also known as “the sunshine vitamin” and is absolutely necessary for feeling good. Getting the optimal amount of vitamin D improves your health and well-being, keeps you away from depression, and it improves your overall mood. In the winter months, the sun is not as strong as it is during the summer and there are shorter days with longer nights. This might result in deficiency of vitamin D in your body that is absolutely necessary to feel your best.
Okay, we all know that too much sun is bad for you, but not getting enough can make your mood plummet. In the winter it’s often tough to get outside and get the right amount of sun, let alone too much sun. This is where vitamin D comes in, and it could mean all the difference to keep your spirits high. Not only is vitamin D essential in making us feel good but it is also great for preventing the following conditions:
- Cancer (especially prostate, breast, and bone)
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Adrenal Deficiency
Why the Winter Blues?
Seasonal Affective Disorder strikes a lot of people that don’t get enough sunlight in the winter months, and is known as SAD. See the connection here? People just don’t seem to be as happy during the winter as they are in the summer, and if you ever experienced a dark, cold winter you probably aware of this. There’s actually scientific reason behind it and it’s all linked to important chemicals in the brain.
Your good mood depends on few things, and melatonin and serotonin are two of the big ones. Melatonin is responsible for your sleep, while serotonin helps with wakefulness and elevated moods. When it’s dark, melatonin increases, and when it is light its levels naturally decrease. Serotonin works just the opposite by sending feel good signals to the body when you’re exposed to the bright light. This is why so many people feel great during the summer months.
Getting the Vitamin D you Need
If you can’t avoid your winter life at home by living in a tropical paradise six months out of the year, there are some ways to help your body get the vitamin D it needs. With the right amount of vitamin D, you’ll feel your best and feel like spring is just around the corner.
- Substitute a Supplement
Aside from the sun itself, taking a vitamin D supplement is the best way to get the amount you and your body need to feel the best. The recommended amount of vitamin D your body needs to get is about 5,000 IU/day. Without the right amount of sun exposure (think 1 hour for 1000/IU) you’re not going to get what you need. Taking a vitamin D supplement will ensure that your body is getting the right amount it needs so make sure this type of supplement is your go-to “source of sunshine” during winter months.
- Take a Trip to the Tanning Salon
While this is not the healthiest way to get the vitamin D you need, it will definitely help. For those of you who like to stay tan all year around, you may visit the tanning salon a few times a week. Even if you’re not too fond of tanning bed, using one in the dark months of winter could actually do your body good. UVB light is the best to get the vitamin D your body needs, so be sure to visit a low-pressure bed that has a good amount of this UVB light.
- Dress up Your Diet with Vitamin D Rich Foods
While there are not a ton of sources found in nature that are rich in vitamin D, there are a few things that you can add to your diet that will naturally increase the amount of vitamin D in your body. Egg yolks, salmon, and mackerel are the best natural sources of vitamin D found outside of the sun.
If you’re going to add these foods to your diet in the winter to increase your vitamin D intake, make sure you are getting fish and eggs that are humanely raised and not loaded with antibiotics or chemicals. There’s no reason to pollute your body with toxins just to get extra vitamin D.
Eating these foods in abundance throughout the darker months of the year could help make you feel better and help you beat the winter blues. While this may come as bad news for vegans or vegetarians, it’s a great solution for those who happen to love fish and eggs.