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Sunshine is an almost surefire way to make a person smile. Why do you think the word “bright” is so often paired with “happy?” Why do you think we wake up a bit disappointed when we look outside to see cloud cover and a gloomy sky? Turns out it isn’t only a placebo. Studies have shown that sunlight really can have an effect on your mood!
Being in the sun can make you healthier both physically and emotionally. It can inspire some of us to form healthier attitudes toward fitness and diet and also gives our skin a nice dose of widely important vitamin D. Your skin produces vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. Why is this so important? Vitamin D has countless benefits that are vital to your body’s growth and self-regulation. Let’s explore some of these benefits:
1. Stronger Bones. This is the primary role of vitamin D, as it helps to regulate calcium and phosphorous levels in your blood. If someone didn’t have vitamin D, calcium would not be as easily absorbed through their intestines, which is why vitamin D deficiencies could lead to osteoporosis, which is one of the most common bone diseases in older adults.
2. Disease Fighting. Vitamin D works wonders on your immune system. According to a Harvard study, it also can help protect you from developing heart disease, cancer, and multiple sclerosis.
3. Helps With Weight Loss. If you are trying to lose weight, *try adding a vitamin D supplement to your daily routine! In one study, participants taking a vitamin D plus calcium supplement saw more loss of fat mass than those taking a placebo. Calcium and vitamin D together can have appetite-suppressing effects.
4. Happiness Boost. If this isn’t reason enough to get outside to get some of the “sunshine vitamin,” I don’t know what is!
Dangers of vitamin D deficiency. If you aren’t outside very often, be aware that you might suffer from some kind of vitamin D deficiency. Consider eating foods containing the vitamin such as salmon, eggs and shrimp, or taking a supplement.
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, just a girl sharing my personal observations! See your physician before taking any kind of supplementation.
“Vitamin D and Health.” The Nutrition Source, 26 May 2015, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/#vitamin-d-and-heart-disease.