As the days are getting shorter and the darkness falls, I cozy up inside with a warm drink. I love the time of year, when it’s all about catching up with family and friends, keeping warm by the fire and enjoying the indoors. An occasional stroll in the cold or a skiing trip becomes quite an excitement followed by a hearty meal and a glass of mulled wine. Winter time is an exciting time!
My rose-tinted view of winter, however, is not necessarily shared. With daylight decreasing and long nights prevailing, many of us loose our joie de vivre. It’s the season of colds, tiredness, or even worse, depression for some of us. I have to admit that by January my enthusiasm starts to become a bit more contained too. But do not fear – some, if not all, of these symptoms could be caused by something very simple that’s very simple to address; a lack of vitamin D.
Scientists are discovering that vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins needed by our bodies to maintain optimum health. It regulates our mood, supports our immune response, facilitates calcium absorption in our stomachs, modulates cell growth and much more. When we are deficient in vitamin D, we often begin to suffer from depression, low immunity, bone pain, muscle weakness, cardiovascular conditions and countless other health conditions.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone and our skin cells are able to make it through using particular wavelengths of ultraviolet B light. Sunlight should be our greatest source of vitamin D but unfortunately this is no longer the case because of our modern lifestyles. It takes a couple of days for our skin to generate vitamin D and for our bodies to absorb after sunlight exposure. If you have a shower during this time, it will be washed off. Those of us who live in sunlight deprived areas such as northern Europe the general vitamin D intake is even lower, so needless to say that a lot of us suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
So what can we do about it other than moving to the tropics and not having a shower for at least two days after snatching some sunlight? The first step is to go and see your GP, or perhaps a kinesiologist or other health professional, and get your vitamin D level tested for starters. There are countless of supplements on the market that you can take if you’re diagnosed with a deficiency. Spend your money on getting the best quality you can afford. There are also a small number of natural foods that contain vitamin D such as cod liver oil, oily fish, mushrooms especially maitake if you can find them, and eggs. Especially during the winter months it might be good to include these in your diet.
The health benefits of vitamin D are countless, such as lowering flu infections by 40%, alleviating symptoms of depression, speeding up wound healing, preventing obesity and high blood pressure, hair loss and even cancer. As the seasons start to change and the cold and darkness are setting in, I include the ‘sunshine’ vitamin in my daily diet.
After all, tis the season to be jolly (and dosing up on vitamin D means you can be!).
Written by our guest blogger Eva Evers.
Eva runs her own consulting business, working with organisations to develop their organisational development, HR transformation and learning & development. Eva is passionate about finding balance in healthy living and wanted to share with the The Life Adventure community her experience of how Vitamin D can transform how we feel over the winter months. What we love about Eva is her outlook and attitude to life – ‘life is an adventure for the eternally curious’. We couldn’t agree more, Eva.
If you need some motivation to get outside, check out our new workshop on Re-Wilding Yourself with Nick Mitchell. Or read about how we recently discovered the magical powers our outside environment can have on us when we tried a ‘Street Wisdom’ experience with the RSA.