Ways to Increase Your Daily Vitamin D Intake

Cold and flu season is upon us, and keeping yourself healthy is of the utmost importance. The best way to ensure your continued health through the upcoming winter is to make sure you reach your suggested daily vitamin intakes. Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins, and it plays a large part in your body’s overall health and wellbeing. We provide four ways to increase your daily vitamin D intake and stay healthy all season long.

Get more sun

The most significant way our bodies receive vitamin D is through sunlight, so one of the best ways to increase your daily vitamin D intake is to increase the amount of time you spend in the sun. Vitamin D is aptly nicknamed “the sunshine vitamin” because of the way it reacts with sunlight. The UV light produced by the sun’s rays interact with the cholesterol in your body’s skin cells, and this provides the energy necessary to kickstart the process of vitamin D synthesis. Increasing your time outdoors by 10 to 20 minutes each day can help increase your body’s vitamin D levels.

Utilize UV lights

The winter brings much shorter days and much colder weather, so finding the time or motivation to step outside can prove more difficult this time of year. When winter winds prevent you from basking in the glow of natural sunlight, you can turn to lamps and bulbs that emit UV light. You should steer clear of tanning beds, though. While they do produce the same UV light as the sun, they also carry higher skin cancer risks. Outfit yourself in proper protective eyewear and clothing if you plan to gain your daily vitamin D through strong UV lights or extended exposure to natural sunlight.

Adjust your diet

Vitamin D naturally occurs in nature, and though it’s most commonly found in sunlight and UV rays, you can also find it in a wide variety of foods. A large selection of mushrooms are rich in vitamin D, including maitake, chanterelle, and portobello mushrooms. The mushrooms retain a higher amount of vitamin D when uncooked, so serve them raw if you want to significantly raise your daily vitamin D levels. Dairy alternatives, such as soy and almond milk, and soy yogurt are often quite rich in vitamin D; some are even fortified to contain higher amounts of vitamin D.

Take a daily supplement

While many foods are rich in vitamin D, eating the same thing day in and day out can get boring. To avoid eating the same vitamin D rich meals every day, many people include a daily vitamin D supplement. Most pharmacies and drug stores carry vitamin D supplements. Before adding a vitamin D supplement to your diet, however, consult your healthcare provider to discuss if it’s right for you.