Remember your mom telling you when you were young “Go out and get some Sunshine” ! The adage holds good for people even today. It is reported that close to 40 per cent of Indians are vitamin D deficient. Which is quite surprising , since most parts of the country get abundant sunlight throughout the year. “Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is created in the body with sunlight exposure. Its major function is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus, which keeps the bones strong which we all know.
Our modern lifestyle is one of the major reasons for vitamin D deficiency. We are working from dawn to dusk in air-conditioned offices and time spent indoors and from professionals and students to housewives, no one comes in contact with adequate sunlight, due to which vitamin D deficiency is rampant today.
Shunning the sun, people are reluctant to go out in the sun. Those who stay indoors a lot or cover their body when outside are most likely to suffer from the deficiency. Glass windows don’t help either, so you don’t generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or while at home. Child-birth is also a major reason for women who later suffer from osteoporosis and other bone related issues because of not taking enough supplements during the post pregnancy time. Lack of awareness also is one of the reasons for women to suffer from this deficiency.
The previous generations were by far healthier and no body suffered from fatigue and exhaustion because they played in the sun and were exposed to the healthy sunlight. Being overweight also adds to the problem. Vitamin D is extracted from the blood by fat cells, altering its release in the body. People with a body mass index of 30 or greater often have low blood levels of vitamin D,
Your body may lack the sunshine vitamin if you eat a largely vegetarian diet. “Vitamin D is found primarily in animal products such as dairy foods, liver, eggs, fish and fish oils,” However, diet alone cannot provide an adequate amount of vitamin D. Sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate it.
· Twenty minutes of good exposure, two to three times a week, with bare arms and face, is enough to achieve healthy vitamin D levels through the year. But don’t go overboard. The sun’s rays can also cause sunburn, so don’t expose yourself to it for a very long time.
· Get into a right diet and consume foods rich in vitamin D and calcium .Include foods like fish, eggs and meat, breakfast cereals, soy products, dairy products, and low-fat spreads in your diet. Our traditional Indian foods like sesame seeds consumed during the month of the January Harvest season and our dairy products show the excellent blend of the calcium rich food we have used since ages.
· The most highly recommended tip is a good rigorous outdoor physical activity to achieve adequate vitamin D levels and control obesity. And that applies to all age groups.
So go out and get some Sunshine Vitamin!