I can hardly begin to tell you how happy I am that the spring has finally arrived! My town of Portland, Oregon has broken the dreary, gray spell of the winter, and the nice weather has arrived in full force!
What is it about the shining sun that gives everyone a lift? People always seem to have so much more energy when the clouds break, and I don’t think it’s a happy coincidence. The culprit seems to be vitamin D, one of the super-nutrients that the sun gives us. But what, exactly, does vitamin D do to get this effect?
Recent studies all around the world have shown that vitamin D heavily contributes to your body’s sensitivity to insulin, in turn helping the regulation of blood sugar. This has two really exciting results: firstly, having well-regulated levels of blood sugar keeps your energy up between meals. Secondly, your body’s sensitivity to insulin directly affects the risk of diabetes, and this new research clearly shows that getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D can prevent diabetes, along with a slew of other diseases!
The most well known benefit of vitamin D is its ability to increase your calcium absorption, boosting tooth and bone health. But that’s not all. Vitamin D also protects against cancer, autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis, and other chronic illnesses.
Although vitamin has been shown to prevent 77% of all cancers, new research published in the British Medical Journal shows that above all, high levels of vitamin D significantly lower the risk of bowel cancer.
Vitamin is also important in day-to-day health, as it arms your T-cells, the immune system cells, which can become dormant without sufficient sources of vitamin D. A strong immune system can prevent those frequent colds and flu viruses that tend to plague us in the colder months.
This, however, means that the time we need vitamin D most, the winter, is the most difficult time to get enough in our systems, since sunlight is the easiest and healthiest way to get vitamin D. If you are unable to get at least 20 minutes of sun exposure a day, you should consider vitamin D supplements. You can also incorporate vitamin D into your diet with foods like fish, cod liver oil, broccoli, and raw milk.
Another reason to take a few minutes to bask in the sunshine? Scientists have found that there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and stored body fat levels, so getting some sun can fight obesity by promoting body fat loss.
According to the March 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, nearly 60% of the world population is vitamin D deficient, so take out your sunglasses and lemonade and make the most of this wonderful season!