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Are you getting enough sunlight?

July 11, 2010

I think we’ve all read or at least heard about how important exposure to sunlight is for Vitamin D production.  Evidence supports that Vitamin D prevents cancer, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, and increases overall well-being.   However, it is quite common in today’s world to avoid the sun at all costs.  We slather on toxic sunscreens, wear hats and glasses to cover our faces, and avoid going out in the sun.  Although I do advise being careful, I do feel that spending a small amount of time in the sun daily is a great way to reap the benefits of proper vitamin D production and to increase levels of well-being.

How much sun to we need to reap the benefits?  It seems like everyone has a different opinion, but it seems that 5-30 minutes 2-3 times per week (amount of time depends on your skin pigmentation) will do the trick.  After your sun exposure, you can then put on your chemical free sunscreen.

Vitamin D is found in certain foods as well, so if you live in a climate where the sun does not shine as often, you might want to make sure you are eating enough of these foods.  Vitamin D is found in oily fish like salmon, sardines, and mackerel.  It is also found in cod liver oil.  Many foods are vitamin-D fortified, such as milk and many cereals.  Vitamin D can be toxic if too much is consumed through supplements, so take with caution.

When I lived in Chicago, I worked as a Physical Education teacher and spent most of my day teaching in the basement of the school-in winter, there were days where I didn’t even see the sunlight!  No wonder the winter months always brought me down. I find that getting some sun during the day boosts my energy levels and mood. Try it–you might be surprised at how much better you feel after getting some sunlight.

Now get out and exercise! Cheers!

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