Hello to all! Feels like an age since writing my blog and just been laughing with a colleague of mine on how disorganized I can be. In my defence, it’s not for want of trying and as they say, God loves a trier so at least I have a fan there – ha!
This week’s blog is all about sunshine to prepare us for the spring and summer months or at least we hope we are going to get some sunshine shortly!.
We have been told to avoid sunshine and cover yourself with sunscreen if you go outside and limit your direct contact with the sunrays to zero. As I have fair skin and blue eyes, I for one followed this advice for years.
However, evidence based research shows that Vitamin D is crucial in preventing deadly cancers, depression, bone loss, heart disease, fatigue and energy disorders to name a few.
Sunlight/Vitamin D is also essential for supporting vitamin and hormone synthesis that protects you from disease. Have you noticed that when you sit or walk outside in the sunshine that your spirits are lifted, your energy increases and nerves calmed? There’s a reason for this. Your body needs sunlight in the same way it needs nutrients.
Benefits of Vitamin D:
- Mood enhancer
- Support energy
- Lowers cholesterol
- Lowers blood sugar
- Improves immune function
- Regulates your weight
- Supports the reversal of chronic diseases
- Protection from specific cancers
- Improves overall happiness
I recently had a client in clinic that had been suffering from fatigue, low mood and what we class as ‘foggy brain’ – that feeling of not being able to concentrate and general malaise and apathy. For over a year, she had struggled getting out of bed and felt overwhelmed by the smallest of tasks.
Whilst reviewing this particular clients diet and listening to her symptoms, we decided to start with some basic blood tests to review Vitamin D and Iron levels. The results showed deficiency in Vitamin D quiet severe that I wasn’t at all surprised that she felt as unwell as she did. We made amendments to her overall diet rich in unprocessed plant based alternatives with grass fed animal protein and including food rich in Vitamin D (see below). I also added in a Vitamin D supplement to ensure that we increased levels as soon as possible with a view to review in a month’s time.
After the month, this client was like a changed woman: full of life, increased energy and all signs of foggy brain eradicated.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:
- Muscle/joint pain and weakness.
- Bone pain.
- Tiredness or fatigue.
How long should we spend in the sun?
Most people can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods with their forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen from March to October, especially from 11am to 3pm.
A short period of time in the sun means about 10 to 15 minutes, a little longer if darker in skin colour.
What food can we eat to increase Vitamin D levels naturally?
Most foods, which contain vitamin D, only have small amounts, so it’s almost impossible to get what your body needs just from food. Food sources are:
- Oily fish, which includes salmon, mackerel and sardines
- Cereals fortified with vitamin D
My Top 3 Tips in increasing Vitamin D:
Include two portions of oily fish per week into your diet. An evening meal of salmon and veggies and a tin of sardines on wholemeal toast are really easy when making a start.
Free range or organic eggs are a great breakfast choice. Poached, boiled or scrambled on whole meal toast increases your vitamin D levels. Start to include into your weekend schedule.
Sit in the sunshine between 11am-3pm for 10 – 15 minutes without sunscreen per day to catch the rays.
I think I may be Vitamin D deficient, how can I test my levels?
Testing is more available to us than it once was. Your GP is a good place to start and this is a standard test they can run to assess your levels.
There are a variety of home blood spot tests available on-line for approx. £30. If in doubt, I would recommend that you contact a local Nutritional Therapist to support you with obtaining a test and reviewing results and making the right changes to diet and lifestyle to get you on track.
If you are looking to get back to your best and need a helping hand then, as always, I am here. Contact me to arrange a FREE 20 minute consultation to discuss solutions that work for you.
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Vitamin D mackerel pate!
1 x 200g pack of mackerel fillet
2 tablespoons low-fat cottage cheese
1 tablespoon of half-fat crème fraiche
Juice of 1 lemon
Pepper to taste
Bung it all in a food processor and pulse.
Serve on rye bread or oatcakes for a little crunch !