Published on 02 Jun 2023

Summertime Sunshine & Vitamin D

It’s been long known that vitamin D plays a valuable role in health. From supporting our immune systems to promoting brain, bone and lung health, it’s very important to get enough of the “sunshine vitamin.”

Our bodies require vitamin D for many functions. For example, we need it in order to absorb calcium, iron and other essential nutrients. Vitamin D deficiency is a serious concern and unfortunately more common than many may realize. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include fatigue, regular sickness or infection, bone or muscle pain, mood disorders or hair loss. If you are a deficient for a long time, it can lead to serious problems, such as autoimmune, cardiovascular and neurological conditions.

Since vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, it’s also possible to get too much of it. While this is rare, vitamin D toxicity is serious and can lead to high amounts of calcium in the blood. This is generally caused by large doses of vitamin D supplements. If you have any questions or concerns about vitamin D supplements, speak with your doctor to assess your needs and determine what is right for you.

It’s important that you’re finding ways to get this important vitamin in healthful doses. With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to soak up some sunshine and get vitamin D! Incorporate healthy vitamin D-rich foods and outdoor exercise into your Nutrisystem weight loss plan. Here are some tips that may help:

Get your vitamin D naturally from foods.

Healthy foods containing vitamin D

As with any vitamins and nutrients, whenever possible, it’s ideal to get your intake naturally. According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods and beverages — specifically nutrient-dense foods and beverages.”

There aren’t too many food sources that contain naturally occurring vitamin D. However, there are some healthy options that can easily be incorporated into your Nutrisystem weight loss plan. Salmon and other fatty fish are one of the best choices! You can also get it from certain types of cheeses, egg yolks and mushrooms that are grown under UV lights.

Many of the foods in America are fortified and can give a dose of this important vitamin. Fortified foods have the potential to provide most of your vitamin D intake. Common fortified foods include cereal, milk, plant-based drinks, orange juice, yogurt and cheese. Check the label to make sure you are buying a fortified version.

Seek the sunshine.

sunshine in heart shaped hands

Vitamin D is the only nutrient the human body produces when exposed to sunlight. And now that summertime is rolling around, it’s a great time to start getting those daily doses of vitamin D by getting outside!

According to Medical News Today, “The skin produces more vitamin D when in the sun during the middle of the day, the time it is at its highest point in the sky. When spending prolonged time in the hot sun, wear sunscreen, and stay hydrated.” They also explain that your skin color and the amount of skin that you expose to the sunshine will influence how much and how quickly you make vitamin D.

Make sure that you’re using proper sun protection. Sunscreen is important to help reduce your risk of skin cancer, which is the most common cancer in the United States. Overexposure to sunshine can be problematic, so as with most things in life, balance is key.

According to experts at Yale Medicine, “Because skin cancer, particularly melanoma, can be such a devastating disease, it’s best to use sunblock when outdoors in strong sunlight for any prolonged length of time. Because this may limit the amount of vitamin D you get from sun exposure, make sure your diet includes sources of vitamin D from foods or supplements.” Again, always speak to your doctor before taking a new supplement.

Get out and get moving.

Woman walking outside in the sunshine with her yoga mat

With the weather continuing to warm up, you can make getting outside a win/win by not only boosting your intake of vitamin D but also being on the move and torching calories. The key is to get outside and get moving.

Whether you want to go for a walk, hit the trails to hike, ride a bike or maybe go for a swim, people tend to really enjoy being outdoors—and may end up burning more calories as a result. There may be mental health benefits, as well. A study, published in Mental Health & Prevention, found that exercising outdoors reduces stress and improves overall wellbeing.

For so many reasons, green space is good for us! We spend so much time in front of screens and breathing in filtered air that simply being outside really does our bodies good. And it gives us lots of ways that we can keep our bodies active and moving!

One of the best ways to stay active all summer is by switching up your routine so that you don’t get bored. There are many different summertime exercises and activities that can keep those pounds coming off all season long. Check out some of our favorites here! >

Smart choices for your body.

Man on a bench relaxing, checking his phone and enjoying the summer sunshine

At the end of the day, it boils down to making the best choices for your body. Spending some more time outside during the summer will give you just the vitamin D boost you need along with more opportunities to stay active. In the end, that’s a win for your health.

*Speak to your doctor if you have any questions about vitamin or vitamin D supplements, as well as before making any dietary changes. 

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