How to Get Vitamin D Benefits From the Sun Safely: Best Times & Foods
7 minute read
You may have noticed yourself feeling better after spending a day outdoors in the sun, as opposed to staying inside all day. But have you ever wondered why that is?
Well, there are many factors that contribute to this feeling, including the benefits of fresh air, and the fact that often when we’re outside, we’re having fun with family or friends. But one of the biggest reasons why going outside is so good for you is the health impact of the sun, specifically its ability to give you vitamin D.
Still, getting too much sun can be dangerous, and you risk exposing yourself to harmful UV rays. So how do you obtain the health benefits of vitamin D in a way that’s safe?
Here are some tips on how to get that vitamin D your body needs without doing too much harm to your skin, and why vitamin D is so important to your body.
Vitamin D Supports the Health of Bones and Teeth
As we age, our bones naturally get weaker. There’s nothing you can do about this, it’s just something that happens over time. Years of wear and tear take their toll on your body, and your bones are no exception.
Even if you’ve never broken a bone, it’s important to keep the health of your body’s building blocks in mind. Vitamin D is critical in the maintenance of bone health, as it helps support keeping the structure of your bones strong.
Because of this, vitamin D is also highly important for maintaining healthy teeth. Often we don’t associate our teeth as bones, but it’s important to remember that they are one and the same.
In fact, teeth are the only naturally exposed bones on the human body, so they are even more prone to wear and tear.
Having your immune system running at peak effectiveness is essential, especially if you live or work around children or animals. Pathogens are lurking everywhere, even in common household products and the air we breathe.
Vitamin D isn’t often associated with the immune system, but it can actually provide a potent boost to your immunity.
You may think that staying inside all day is the best way to avoid disease-causing particles and organisms, but the fact is that getting a healthy amount of vitamin D from the sun is much better for your health than staying cooped up in your living room.
Like our bones, the health of your brain naturally declines over time, unfortunate as it may be. But you can take steps to slow this decline and actually improve your overall cognitive function.
In addition to doing crosswords and other brain-flexing mental exercises, like sudoku or puzzles, making sure your brain has the fuel it needs is an important step in maintaining cognitive health.
Vitamin D is one of the essential things your brain needs to function at full capacity. It can help keep you focused throughout the day, and reduce those feelings of brain fog, or instances of embarrassing “senior moments.”
If you want to keep your cognitive health running at full speed, it’s important not to overlook vitamin D as an important element.
Helps Maintain Healthy Heart Function
Another often overlooked benefit of vitamin D is that it can help maintain healthy heart function. Vitamin D has been linked to a reduction in a wide variety of cardiovascular issues, and it is an important contributor to improving the heart’s natural functions.
Getting an adequate amount of vitamin D into your system is a powerful way to keep your heart healthy functioning properly.
How to Get Enough Vitamin D
So, what are some keys to getting vitamin D in a way that’s healthy for your skin? Well, here are a few important things to keep in mind:
Know Your Skin: It’s important for you to be aware of how sensitive your skin is. Different people can go for different amounts of time in the sun without getting harmed by UV rays, but it depends on a number of factors.
| Related: How to Help Yourself Prevent Skin Cancer |
People with darker skin tend to be less affected by UV radiation, but if you have lighter skin, you may only be able to stay in the sun for a short while without sunscreen. Be aware of your body’s limits, and remember to use sun protection if you plan to be outside for more than 10-30 minutes, depending on your individual sensitivity.
Midday Is Best: The best time to get healthy sunlight is during midday, around noon. This is the time of day when you can safely give yourself 10-30 minutes of unprotected exposure to sunlight, again depending on the sensitivity of your skin.
To boost your vitamin D levels, try stepping out into the sun for a few minutes each day around noon. Why not a stroll after lunch?
Know When to Use Sunscreen: Sunscreen may interfere with your body’s ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight, so it’s a good idea to give yourself a few minutes of sun exposure without it. But this is why it’s important to know your own body.
If you get burned after more than a few minutes without sunscreen, keep some handy so you can apply it to your skin if you plan to be in the sun for longer than your skin can handle.
Try Vitamin D Supplements: One way to get vitamin D without exposing yourself to the sun’s rays at all is to take a vitamin D supplement. These are available in many stores and online, and they come in different varieties.
Do some research to find out what supplement is right for you, and consult with your physician if you have questions. A vitamin D supplement could be the perfect way to get this vitamin into your body easily, especially if you have highly sensitive skin.
Dietary Choices: You can get vitamin D from lots of different foods you may already be eating. Fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, as well as dairy products, orange juice, and egg yolks are all great sources of natural vitamin D.
The Bottom Line
So, now you know the importance of vitamin D, and a few tips to keep in mind the next time you catch some rays. The important thing is simply to be aware of how long you spend in the sun, and how much your own skin can handle.
Once you do that, you’ll be enjoying the positive effects of vitamin D on your overall health without getting burned.