Your body needs vitamin D to help it absorb calcium and support muscles, and if you live in a cold climate, you may be more likely to experience low levels of the vitamin during the winter months. Fortunately, there are several simple ways to avoid a deficiency, such as eating foods rich in vitamin D and getting enough sunlight daily. Below is more information on why and how to avoid a vitamin D deficiency during winter.
Why is it important to get vitamin D during winter?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient, but it can be hard to get enough of it in the winter. A lack of this important vitamin can lead to decreased bone mass, so staying healthy during cold weather means doing everything possible to protect yourself from this problem.
When the sun’s rays aren’t strong enough, the body can’t produce enough vitamin D to meet the body’s needs. That’s why it’s vital to ensure you find ways to get this essential nutrient.
It could be eating enough foods that are rich in vitamin D, for example. Some options are eggs, salmon, tuna, fortified milk, and certain cereals.
What are the symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency?
So, how do you know when your body is low in this precious substance? Two common symptoms are muscle weakness and aches.
If you’re unsure whether your levels are low, ask your doctor. They can order a blood test to determine whether you’re deficient.
That way, you’ll know health-wise, and they can advise you on what to do next. In other words, they can explain what supplementation is required. It could be that what’s best for you is to take a supplement if don’t regularly get enough sun, or your body has trouble producing vitamin D from the sun. Your GP knows best and will advise accordingly, based on your unique needs.
It could be that a combination of foods rich in vitamin D and supplements is the right mix for you. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations and don’t exceed the limits. A good dose can strengthen the immune system to help keep any colds or the flu away.
Three ways to avoid a vitamin D deficiency during winter
To make sure you’re getting enough vitamin d in the winter, try these simple tips:
1. Go outdoors
Even if it’s cold outside, going outdoors can be enough to start boosting your vitamin D levels. It doesn’t have to be a long time either. It could simply be 10 or 15 minutes.
So, bundle up and head outside whenever possible. Wear sunscreen year-round, too, by the way, to protect your skin.
2. Eat foods rich in vitamin D
Eggs, salmon, and tuna are some of the best sources. Each provides about 400 IUs per 3 ounces cooked weight, which is more than 100% RDI of vitamin D in one sitting.
Fortified milk and certain cereals also contain high amounts, so you might try adding them to your meal plan. If you can’t stomach milk, consider a vegan alternative, such as soy or almond milk. And if you want something sweet, then opt for cereal with fruits like bananas, mangoes, or strawberries mixed into them.
3. Consider taking a supplement
If you still need help increasing your vitamin D intake, talk with your doctor about trying a supplement. It’s straightforward nowadays since many different formulations are available over-the-counter without a prescription. Be sure to choose a product that’s right for you by discussing it with your doctor.
Choose a supplement specifically for adults rather than children, so you don’t get too much vitamin D3. Also, remember that you need to take it with food, or calcium absorption will decrease.
Of course, as you can see, you need to keep your body healthy no matter what time of year it is. Unfortunately, more people seem to forget about their vitamins during certain seasons.
However, the tips above help ensure you never have an inadequate level of nutrition when food sources are harder to come by. As explained, your doctor can confirm if you are lacking in vitamin D and, if so, help you find the solution to get to a healthy level.