The HelloSunshine Challenge started July 1st and invites you to get out in the sun for 100 minutes (10-15 minutes at a time) during the month of July. Sunshine is by the far the best source of vitamin D which is a critical nutrient that’s often harder to get than you’d think.
You may ask, what’s the big deal about vitamin D and how much do we really need? Vitamin D has several important functions including promoting the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and facilitating normal immune system function. Vitamin D is critical for healthy bones and teeth and can help prevent certain diseases. In addition, some studies have shown vitamin D to reduce depression and boost weight loss.
Optimal vitamin D levels can differ depending on age and health conditions. When tested, typically a result of 20 nanograms per milliliter or lower requires treatment. The Institute of Medicine increased the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin D to 600 international units (IU) for everyone ages 1-70, and 800 IU for those over age 70.
It can be difficult to get enough vitamin D through sunshine alone and very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Some foods can be fortified with the vitamin and some examples of vitamin D food sources include:
- egg yolk
- milk (fortified)
- cereal (fortified)
- yogurt (fortified)
- orange juice (fortified)
You should speak to your doctor about your vitamin D levels and whether or not a vitamin D supplement may be appropriate for you.