How good has all this recent sunshine made you feel? For many years the health messages have been about keeping out of the sun, smothering ourselves in suncream, wearing hats etc etc to avoid sunburn.
However, the skin makes Vitamin D from sunshine. Vitamin D lets our bones absorb the necessary calcium. Sunshine also reduces stress. We cover up so we get less and less Vitamin D naturally. If we become deficient in Vitamin D we may become at risk of developing other cancers later in life as well as osteoporosis and arthritis. More recent recommendations are to expose yourself to around 15 minutes of sunlight most days. It’s about getting the balance right. Two things to be aware of are; skin colour and the strength of the sun. Fair skin will burn more easily but on the positive side will make Vitamin D more quickly. The strength of the sun is normally at it’s highest between 11am and 3pm.
In Britain half the year the sun is too weak to allow the skin to synthesize Vitamin D. Many of us spend more time in the car and in the office. Also, the increase in air pollution means that not as much of the sun’s UV radiation actually gets through.
So what about getting Vitamin D through our diet?
It is found in fatty fish and liver but to get the recommended dose you would have to eat 3 portions a week. The final option is taking supplements.
So, next time you are at the office and the sun is shining, a brisk 15 minutes walk round the block can not only improve your cardiovascular fitness but also provide you with a good dose of Vitamin D. However, do ensure your skin does not go red or burn.
Not only do you get a free dose of Vitamin D but it is healthier too.