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Importance of “The Sunshine Vitamin @ VitaminD

Importance of “The Sunshine Vitamin @ VitaminD”in your Diet.

 

Importance of “The Sunshine Vitamin @ VitaminD”in your Diet.Importance of “The sunshine vitamin vitaminD”in your diet

. Our body can make its own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. But these days people deprive their body with sun exposure , or use sunscreen resulting in vitamin D deficiency. As per the latest survey 65-70 % Indians suffer from vitamin D deficiency. The problem is so grave that even pregnant women are giving birth to infants who are already deficient in this vitamin.

Apart from sunlight we have very limited dietary sources of vitamin D. Scientist have evaluated many studies to conclude, that food supply cannot substitute vitamin D provided from sunlight. The ration between the amount of vitamin absorbed from sunlight and food is 9:1. Thus if you are not able to participate in any outdoor activity for at least half an hour daily one should get there blood tested for levels of 25 hydroxy vitamin D. In case the levels are below 30-50ng/ml, one has to eat supplements easily available in the market.

Some good natural sources of vitamin D you should induce in your diet are-

  1. Fish, sea food and fish oil.
  2. Nuts and seeds
  3. Whole milk
  4. Egg

As most of the sources are animal based vegetarians should be extra careful for keeping a check on their vitamin D levels.

Why is vitamin D important?

This vitamin is considered more as a pro-hormonerather than a vitamin as its main role is to activate the production of hormones in the liver and kidney which regulate the absorption of nutrients like calcium.

Vitamin D helps to-

  • Absorb minerals like calcium and makes our bones strong
  • Fight diseases
  • Prevents heart diseases
  • Control weight
  • Prevents depression
  • Reduces risk of diabetes
  • Inhibits growth of cancer cells

With such important functions we definitely can’t afford to neglect the intake of this vitamin.

Vitamin D and weight loss

A lot of research is on to the role of vitamin D and obesity but it has surely been confirmed that majority of the obese are vitamin D deficient. One major reason could be the feeling of lethargy caused by this vitamin deficiency which restricts physical activity. But at the same time we do not advise overdose of this vitamin as that could be hazardous too. An excess of vitamin D can cause health problems such as dehydration, vomiting, kidney damage and kidney stones. No supplement should be taken without the guidance of a doctor and regular test should be conducted to regulate the optimal levels of vitamins and minerals.

How to absorb vitamin D from sunshine?

  • Wear light coloured cotton clothes and sit in the morning sun as the heat of the sun is bearable
  • Try and expose your backbone to the sun as it absorbs the maximum vitamin D
  • Glass filters the UV rays which activate the vitamin in our skin so sit in direct sun
  • Avoid using sunscreen
  • Applying oil on skin improves the absorption of UV rays
  • Dark skin people need to sit for more time in the sun as it takes longer to absorb the sun rays.

Author Info

Rachna Agarwal

Practicing dietitian and clinical nutritionist for more than 20 years. addressing therapeutic dietary needs of patients at various OPD clinics. P.G.D. in nutrition & dietetics. Life member of IDA. Regular free lance writer and columnist for T.O.I. highlighting health and nutrition. Regular participant in various talk shows. Chief dietitian at Weight Studio

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