Vitamin D is one of the unsung heroes of our bodies.
It plays a crucial role in keeping our immune system, digestive functions, and circulation working properly. It also plays a key role in ensuring a healthy nervous system.
If someone were to ask you what you need to maintain strong bones, you’d probably respond with calcium. That’s what we were all taught, right? Turns out calcium is necessary, but there’s no way for your bones to absorb calcium without good ol’ vitamin D. And although the verdict is still out, there’s mounting evidence that vitamin D may also aid in the prevention of depression, diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
With so many benefits, you're going to want to make sure you're getting the proper amount.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
The scientific community hasn’t exactly come to a consensus on how much vitamin D a person needs: the U.S. National Academy of Medicine suggests 600-800 IU per day for the majority of Americans, while 1,500-2,000 IU is suggested by the U.S Endocrine Society. A daily intake of up to 4,000 IU is thought to be safe, but anything beyond that dose may be toxic.
What’s the Best Way to Get vitamin D?
Sunlight is without a doubt the cheapest and easiest way to get vitamin D. Stepping out into the sun for 20-25 minutes is a great way to start getting more vitamin D.
Running, biking, or walking your dog are all great ways to get out of the house, get some sun, and a little workout. And when you're suiting up to head outside, don't forget to include your Top Curve in your workout wardrobe to be comfortable and confident. No matter the season, you won't be bothered by that annoying, boob sweat while you soak up those rays.
Keep in mind that the sun’s rays can be harmful and long-term exposure can cause skin cancer, so always be sure to wear your sunscreen. If you live closer to the equator you’ll also receive your vitamin D from the sun more easily than if you live at higher latitudes.
A few other factors that affect your ability to absorb vitamin D from sunlight include:
- Season: It's harder to absorb during the winter
- Skin pigmentation: Darker pigments block light absorption
- Age: Your body gets less efficient at absorbing vitamin D as you age
There are several foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D:
- Fatty Fish: Either fresh or canned, fishes such as tuna, cod, salmon, and sardines are a great source of vitamin D (as well as omega-3 fatty acids).
- Mushrooms: Mushrooms can absorb vitamin D from the sun just as our bodies can; wild mushrooms tend to contain more vitamin D than commercially grown mushrooms, which are grown in dark conditions. Some commercially grown mushrooms, however, are exposed to UV light to fortify them with vitamin D. Make sure you avoid poisonous mushrooms if you decide to take up wild mushroom hunting!
- Egg Yolks: Eggs can contain high amounts of vitamin D. But not every egg is equal when it comes to vitamin concentration. Pasture-raised or free-range chickens are exposed to more sunlight outside, so their eggs contain more vitamin D. .
Some foods that are fortified with vitamin D include:
- Most cow’s milk
- Most milk alternatives, such as soy, almond, hemp, and rice milks
- Some brands of orange juice
- Breakfast cereals
- Some yogurts
Even if you get adequate sunlight and eat plenty of vitamin D-rich foods, you still may want to take a supplement to ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D. You can take a stand alone vitamin D supplement or a multivitamin, which would ensure you’re getting all of the other vitamins and minerals that your body needs. If you’re a vegan or vegetarian, make sure you look for a supplement that contains vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), as vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) comes from animal sources.
With just a few easy steps, you can ensure you're getting enough vitamin D to keep your body looking and feeling fabulous. A little more sunlight, some healthy foods, and a supplement or two is all it takes to cross this vitamin off your self-care to-do list.
Healthy Lifestyle Blogger