Summer is over and soon Christmas will be knocking at the door. As sad as it is to say goodbye to sunshine and shorts, there’s also something magical about the colder season. Finding gorgeous warm knits that compliment your favorite leggings, wrapping up in beautiful outerwear (click here for inspo) and sipping warm healing turmeric lattes. Ahhh…
As wonderful as magic, fashion and food is, the absence of the sun however, can have undesired consequences unless we take care of our need for vitamin D. During summer our skin naturally absorbs Vitamin D from the sun but over the winter we must make sure to cover our need in a different way. It’s essential for our body to be able to absorb calcium, have healthy bones & teeth and fight inflammation.
Suffering from vitamin D deficiency can have wider effects and since none of us ladies are interested in sudden weight gains, having weak muscles, not being able to think clearly, experiencing mood swings, sleeping poorly or developing depression, here’s 5 ways to keep your Vitamin D levels up this winter.
The easiest way to get your Vitamin D need covered is through supplements. The recommended amount of vitamin D for a normal adult is 10-20 micrograms or 400-800 International Units (IU) a day. There are many different sizes to choose from and you can get them in most health food shops. You just pop one down each morning with a glass of water and you’re all set. Viridian have an amazing range and is a supplement brand we swear by.
Eat your way to Double D – or at least D maintenance
If you’re not suffering from Vitamin D deficiency and are looking to simply maintain a healthy level, an option for you is to add specific things to your diet. It’s not as straight forward as taking supplements and you usually need to combine different things in order to get your need covered, but you might want to try the following things.
If you are crazy about fatty fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna, eel or trout it will be easier for you to not only fill up your vitamin D levels but also have a healthy happy heart. The level of IU varies from fish to fish, but 300g of salmon contain about 450 IU. In case you’re not really the fishy sushi type, then maybe eggs are your thing? An egg yolk contains approx. 40 IU so for health reasons you shouldn’t try to cover your daily intake using eggs alone, but it can be a good thing to supplement with.
If you’re more of a vegetarian type then orange juice and mushrooms might be your answer! The mushrooms you want to go for are Portobello mushrooms. Like humans these babies absorb Vitamin D via sunlight, but as most (normal) mushrooms grow in darkness it’s important that you get the Portobello ones. Slice up a cup full of these and you’ve got yourself approx. 400 IU.
When it comes to orange juice this isn’t only good for vitamin D but also vitamin C – hence it’s great for boosting your immune system and fighting off diseases. However sine it takes a lot of juice to get enough vitamin D so you might want to combine it with another source of vitamin D. One glass of juice will provide you about 100 IU – It’s a great way to start out your day nice and healthy, just be careful of your teeth as it contains a high level of acid and fruit sugar. We always keep straws at home to solve this issue. If you don’t have the ware with all to freshly squeeze a glass at home, then start adding orange segments a plenty to your morning smoothies!
As you see, eating your way to an optimal intake of vitamin D can be a challenge, but there’s one more powerful thing you can add to your diet, which can be combined with all of the above. This little wonder is cod liver oil – one tablespoon contains about 1300 IU of vitamin D and that’s a lot more than the recommended dietary requirement. Therefore if you want to fill up your your vitamin D levels via your diet then try to eat a little bit of everything mentioned here and perhaps use cod liver oil to reach the recommended level of IU each day.
Vitamin D lamp
If you are vitamin D deficient or have a tendency to suffer from depression during the darkness of winter, getting a UV lamp might be the right thing for you. Using this lamp you get vitamin D into your body just as you would via the sun in the summer time as the skin absorbs the sunlight. The same precautions in terms of skin cancer must be taken so you will need to use sunscreen, however, if used correctly this method can help you keep your mood high and avoid falling into a winter slump. Usually there’s a timer on the lamps and you don’t need to sit in front of it for hours, however this method is often more pricy than taking regular supplements. Of course if your body is struggling to absorb the vitamin D when you’re providing it orally, this is a wonderful solution.
words by Mai Copsoe