Wanted: Healthy Sunshine

Registered Dietician

| 2 min read

I find that people are much more content and excited about life when the sun is in the sky.
Did you know that some sun exposure is good for you and your health? It helps naturally produce vitamin D in the body.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is found in a few foods, but is needed for our bodies to work efficiently. There are a variety of studies that have proven that consuming adequate amounts of vitamin D can:
  • prevent cancer
  • decrease risk for heart disease, and
  • help prevent bone-loss and osteoporosis.

How Much Vitamin D Is Enough?

Just recently, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D increased. The vitamin D recommendation in IUs (international units) has increased to:
  • 600 IUs for ages 1 through 70 years old
  • 800 IUs for those 71 years and older
The tolerable upper limit (TUL) for supplementation also increased from 2000 IUs to 4000 IUs daily.

Get More Vitamin D In Your Life

There are two ways for you to have the right amount of vitamin D in your system:
  1. Eating foods rich in vitamin D. This includes fish and fortified foods like fortified orange juice, milk or soy milk.
  1. Experiencing some sun exposure. Ultra-violet (UV) rays hit the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis in the body. For fair-skinned individuals: 10 minutes in the midday sun with legs and arms exposed should produce about 10,000 IUs of vitamin D. Dark-skinned individuals and the elderly produce less vitamin D with the same time frame and exposure.
As you may know, sunny days are so important in Michigan because we do not get as many compared to other states. Be sure to enjoy the sun and the outdoors – try walking outside as the weather gets nicer and remember to always wear sunscreen.
Another suggestion is to incorporate fish and low-fat milk into your diet. Lastly, don’t forget to check with your doctor to see if you are deficient in vitamin D, so that if you do need a supplement, you can be prescribed properly.
What kind of outdoor activities do you enjoy on sunny days?
Photo Credit: gr33n3gg

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