Enjoying a cup of tea outside on a warm summer morning. Doesn’t that sound like a lovely and relaxing way to spend your morning? Imagine. Not only could you reduce your stress levels (and THAT is a whole other blog post), but you could also be improving your health simply by taking in a few minutes of sunshine.
Vitamin D – the Sunshine Vitamin – is not technically a vitamin, but rather more of a hormone. Our bodies can synthesize the Vitamin D we need through our skin from cholesterol, so we don’t HAVE to get our Vitamin D through our diet, as we do with other vitamins. But, that assumes our bodies receive adequate sun exposure. In these days of office work, hired gardeners, and mega sunscreens, few of us get much, if any, sun exposure. And our health pays a price.
Vitamin D was “discovered” in England at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the process of uncovering just what nutrient deficiency was responsible for the terrible childhood disease of rickets. Turns out, there was so much smog and smoke in the air during these times, that sunshine was blocked. Many children were living in tenements with poor quality diets. And they were getting sick. Think about today. While air quality is arguably quite better, kids today spend a lot more time indoors than in previous generations, and many are filling up on unhealthy processed foods.
And while we’re not seeing new cases of rickets, we are seeing other health conditions that could definitely be improved with a ray or two of Vitamin D.
So, first, the best source for Vitamin D is sun exposure. Maybe 10-15 minutes per day of morning sun. We’re certainly not advocating a return to 1970’s sun bathing slathered in baby oil.