‘Tis the season for vitamin D

My favourite time of year is summer: the sun shining on my skin, a warm breeze through my hair and the health benefits of vitamin D flowing through my veins. Sunshine is absolutely the best way to obtain vitamin D, but during the approaching winter months, the suns’ rays aren’t powerful enough to produce an ample amount.

 Vitamin D plays a vital role in sustaining healthy bones and teeth — by helping to absorb calcium. And without it, bones can become weak and brittle. It is also an integral part of boosting the body’s immune system to ward off any seasonal colds or flus. The “sunshine vitamin” is even a beneficiary tool in reducing the risk of cancer.

So, in order to get the lowdown on vitamin D, I went to my local health store and asked the woman behind the counter what she recommended. The most efficient choice would be to take daily vitamin D supplements, she suggested. But if you’re one of those people who can’t remember where your shoes are in the morning — let alone systematically taking a vitamin supplement — there are other ways to get your daily-D fix. 

Foods rich in vitamin D, like salmon, tuna, mushrooms, soymilk, eggs and fortified cereals, are sensible sources as well. These foods will also help to increase serotonin levels, which will help stabilize your mood and energy. Mushrooms are the only food that darkens when exposed to sunlight, and is therefore able to produce vitamin D on its own.

She also suggested I go to a tanning salon as a solution to up my vitamin D intake.  Now, I’m not one to bake myself in a burning cauldron of cancer, so I did some extra research on that subject. And what I learned is that the sun emits two types of ultraviolet rays: UVA and UVB. When braving the tanning bed, one must make sure the lamps are those of medium pressure, which are jam-packed with UVB rays. UVB will ensure that you don’t burn, but that you will still get loads of vitamin D.

So, whatever method you choose, make sure you stock up on vitamin D… until next summer of course, when we’ll be able to reap the benefits of sunshine once more.