5 ways to get more Vitamin D – and feel happier for it!

In the UK, we’re not best placed to get the vitamin D we need to boost health and wellbeing. Taking the time to re-evaluate your diet and habits however is well worth it, particularly in the winter months.

Vitamin D has an important part to play when looking after our body, mind and soul. It’s not just integral to many vital body functions – including the absorption of calcium to aid bone health – it directly impacts our mood.

Vitamin D deficiency and depression have a strong association, with the levels of mood-boosting serotonin influenced by vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency leaves sufferers feeling anxious, tired and irritable. It can also result in muscle cramps, joint pain, brittle bones, and poor immunity.

In this blog post, we share five easy ways to get more vitamin D in your life to keep those winter blues at bay and boost your mood all-year round.

1. Head outdoors

Vitamin D isn’t nicknamed the ‘sunshine vitamin’ for nothing. The best source of vitamin D is generated by your skin’s exposure to sunlight, with the body producing vitamin stores naturally. But in winter, sunshine isn’t so easy to come by.

Unfortunately, winter sunlight doesn’t contain enough of the UVB radiation that the skin needs to make vitamin D, which makes steps 2 to 5 more important at this time of year. When spring comes along however, heading outdoors as much as possible will make a real difference to vitamin D levels and your mood.

Daily exposure, particularly between 11am and 3pm, uncovered and without sunscreen will help you make vitamin D. Those with darker skin will need more time in the sun, while practicing good sun safety is vital.

2. Take a supplement

Take a daily vitamin D supplement, especially during the sunshine deprived winter months. When taking an oral supplement, the vitamin D will enter your bloodstream before making its way to other essential organs within the body, including the liver and kidneys. During this journey, the vitamin will be turned in calcitriol and released back into the bloodstream to start its extended journey all over again. From here, it will aid your bones, kidneys and digestive system.

Most will begin to feel the effects of the vitamin D supplement almost right away as Livestrong details:

“The National Institutes of Health states that the more depleted you are, the longer it takes for changes to occur. An article in the September 2016 issue of the Journal of Oncology Practice says that, generally, after a few weeks of treatment, vitamin D levels will increase at 1 ng/mL for every 40 IU taken. You should start feeling better once the vitamin D kicks in, but you should still have your levels checked every two to three months.”

3. Go fortified with food

There are a number of food items that have been fortified to ensure great vitamin D levels. Milk and bread are just two of the everyday essentials that have been transformed to ensure better vitamin D intake during the winter months. Selected cereal, fats, and oil, and tea and other beverages are fortified too.

Infant formula is also fortified meaning babies who drink more than 500ml of formula per day, do not need to take a vitamin D supplement.

4. Eat more fish

Fish is an excellent addition to your diet. Salmon is one of the richest sources of vitamin D, while canned tuna and trout are other tasty fish types that are packed full of the good stuff. Sardines are also rich in vitamin D, and better yet they’re relatively inexpensive in comparison to salmon.

Great in salads, sandwiches, and pasta dishes, protein, omega 3, iron and vitamin enriched sardines are versatile ingredients that can be used at breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. For the ultimate vitamin D hit, try our recipe for sardine pate.

5. Include eggs in your diet

Eggs are another wonder food that are rich in vitamin D. Eating just one egg per day – including the yolk which is where vitamin D is found – will provide 7% of your daily vitamin D. Some eggs have even been enriched with even more vitamin D goodness, with one brand boasting 28% more vitamin D per egg.

Eggs are great ingredients when cooking quick and healthy meals that are made for weeknights. For more inspiration, check out these great recipes.

your body is a bank and great food choices are your investments

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