How to boost vitamin D levels this winter and why?

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During the winter months, thanks to the shorter days and lack of sunlight, many people struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, which can make even the happiest optimist feel down.

However, there are ways in which you can fight back at winter and feel happier during those cold and dark months.

Incorporating foods which are rich in vitamin D into your diet will have positive results for your body and mind, which will make you look and feel better.

Keep reading to find out why vitamin D is an important nutrient and what foods you should incorporate into your diet this winter!

How vitamin D makes you look and feel better…

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We spoke with Frida Harju, in-house nutritionist at the health and fitness app, Lifesum, to find out why vitamin D makes you feel better;

”As the summer days are becoming shorter and the mornings are getting colder, some of us will experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD.

Thought to affect as many as 29% of British adults, with over half saying that their mood worsened in the winter months due to the lack of daylight that they received, this condition can leave us feeling anxious, low on energy and even make us over-indulge on carb heavy comfort foods.

However, certain lifestyle changes can alleviate the symptoms and perk you up when there simply isn’t enough sunshine to get you through the day.

When you get less sunlight, one of the vitamins that will help you improve levels of serotonin and make you feel happier, is vitamin D.

It also enhances the body’s absorption of other vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and phosphate.

Vitamin D deficiency can be a result of many different lifestyle factors, whether it’s through your diet or lack of absorption by the body, and lack of exposure to sunlight.”

What foods we should incorporate into our winter diets…

Fatty Fish!

Vitamin D Source

Cara Walsh, R.D. of Medifast California, says;

”Almost every tissue in your body has receptors for vitamin D, meaning that they require vitamin D to properly function.

While the body can create it’s own vitamin D, for optimal health humans need to find additional sources of vitamin D.

To get more Vitamin D in your diet eat foods such as fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, and eel).”

Egg Yolks!

Vitamin D Source

Dr.Suneetha B S. says;

”For the majority of us, when we leave work it’s already pretty dark outside which means we’re not getting as much vitamin D from the sun as we should.

Therefore, we want to produce a post discussing what foods people should try and incorporate into their diet which are full of vitamin D. Some of the foods which contain natural vitamin D are cheese and egg yolks.”

Milk and dairy products!

Vitamin D Source

Frida Harju, in-house nutritionist, says;

”Milk/ dairy products – milk or dairy that has been fortified with vitamin D, most types of cow’s milk are.

You can also buy yogurts and other dairy products that have been fortified (usually whole milk not semi-skimmed). Ricotta cheese – ricotta has more than five times the amount of vitamin D as other cheeses.”

Other foods which provide Vitamin D.

  • Spinach;
  • Kale;
  • Beef Liver;
  • Tuna;
  • Tofu;
  • Fortified cereal.

A word on supplements.

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Frida Harju says;

”You should always discuss with a doctor whether it is necessary for you to take supplements.

Cod liver oil is a good natural source of vitamin D and making sure you get enough daylight!”

 

Seeking further advice on SAD? Below are some helpful websites…

http://www.sada.org.uk/index_2.php

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/pages/introduction.aspx

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad/#.WEVUhmKLTcs

 

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