When someone suggests you get some fresh air and sunshine, it’s not just for your mental health. Sunshine (and just being outside in general) provides your body with vitamin D.
A healthy lifestyle is a balancing act! Yes, you need to wear sunscreen to prevent skin cancer. Unfortunately, sunscreen with high SPF causes your body to absorb less vitamin D. Everyone is different; consider what’s best for you!
Yes, you should wear sunscreen with high SPF if you spend prolonged amounts of time outside or are in contact with direct sunlight. People with darker skin have melatonin in their skin which also blocks vitamin d but it’s still important for people with darker skin to wear sunscreen when a lot of sun exposure is a concern.
Consider wearing sunscreen with low SPF if you don’t spend much time outside or live in a place where the direct sunlight is limited (overcast, tall buildings, etc.). That way your body benefits from the sunlight it does get.
What does vitamin D do for me?
- It fights disease and some cancers.
- It can help improve your mood and fight depression.
- Regular exercise, a healthy diet, along with an appropriate amount of vitamin d may promote weight loss.
Can food provide vitamin D?
Yes! There are also a few foods and drinks that will also give you a vitamin d boost:
- Orange juice
- Whole milk, dairy, and plant milk fortified with vitamin D
- Salmon, tuna, sardines
- Beef liver
- Egg yolk
- Vitamin D-fortified cereals
There are also vitamin D supplements you can take that will help get you the amount you need without changing your diet or lifestyle.
What’s right for me?
Listen to your body; it will tell you when there’s something wrong or off.
Talk to a doctor to see if you’re getting enough vitamin D. Keep in mind that there are some cases of people getting too much vitamin d! Too little vitamin d is not good for your body but too much vitamin d is also unhealthy.
A dermatologist or nutritionist can help! Talk to one to figure out how much vitamin d you need and how to safely increase or decrease the amount of vitamin D you get.