With all of these sunny, warm, November days, we remember Vitamin D; an important key nutrient to consider for your health, and the most amazing thing is that it is readily available and free for all!

You may wonder why Vitamin D is so important, well Vitamin D supports muscle strength, a healthy immune system, healthy skin, and is essential in the absorption of Calcium from our gut, therefore enhancing bone health.

Not getting enough Vitamin D, or having a Vitamin D deficiency, can lead to significant health outcomes, such as developing soft, weak or fragile bones and therefore lead to falls or fractures, osteoporosis, and can increase the risk of having altered immunity and other autoimmune diseases.

So, where do we get Vitamin D?

Well as you might have guessed, the main source is Sunlight, with it not being possible to meet our requirements through diet alone.

We are able to get small amounts from some foods, such as oily fish (salmon, herring & mackerel), eggs, UV exposed mushrooms, and some milks and margarines that have Vitamin D added to them.

Thus, including both sunlight and some of these foods into your week is the key for maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels.

Tips to ensure you are getting enough:

Most people are able to get adequate Vitamin D through incidental exposure to sunlight on a daily basis. The key is to ensure there is a balance between sunlight exposure for Vitamin D and the use of sun protection to prevent skin cancer when UV levels are 3 or above.

Therefore;

  • Try spending some time in the sun early morning or late afternoon when the UV levels are low, when it’s safe to go outside without sun protection, such as eating breakfast or drinking your morning coffee outside, or enjoying a relaxing drink in the late afternoon.
  • If your work hours are getting in the way, try getting out for 10minutes on your lunch break. Every bit counts, just be aware that you may require sun protection at this time.
  •        – Try to expose at least your arms, hands and face to the sun without clothing, to boost vitamin D levels
  •       – Try Gardening once a fortnight, but watch those UV levels & time of the day to ensure suitable protection is worn if required.
  •       – Include Vitamin D containing foods in your meals throughout the week; such as choosing vitamin D fortified milk and margarine, grill some salmon for dinner and add it to a fresh salad or vegetables, or include a boiled egg as a morning or afternoon snack.
  • Daily exercise; this assists your body’s production of Vitamin D also.

As UV levels are different throughout the year and vary at different times of the day, it is important to be aware of this. The SunSmart smartphone app or http://www.sunsmart.com.au/tools website provides sun protection times for your specific location. Check it out!