During the heat of the summer, we slather on the sunscreen, worried about getting too much sun. In the winter, when the weather is chilly and the days are shorter, we should be just as concerned about getting too little.
A lack of sunlight during those months of short, dreary days can affect our health and wellness.
Why we need sunlight
The sun is a key source of vitamin D because sunlight triggers our bodies to produce the essential nutrient. Vitamin D supports our bodies’ normal function associated with bone health, heart health and immune system support.
The National Institutes of Health recommends 5 to 30 minutes of sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice a week on the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen. Following that recommendation can be challenging when winter’s gray skies block the rays that start the process of vitamin D synthesis in the skin.
The sun also is a mood booster. Experts say when the seasons change and the daylight decreases, your body’s internal clock can be disrupted, your serotonin levels drop and your melatonin levels change – all of which can lead to the “winter blues.”
An estimated 25 million Americans experience the “winter blues” each year. So what can we do to counteract the effects from lack of sunlight? We’ve got some tips!
Be like the Eskimos. They have thrived on a seafood diet abundant in omega-3 fatty acids even during the long, punishing arctic winters.
Not a fan of fish? Try an omega-3 supplement. Nutrilite™ Balanced Health Omega provides a concentrated blend of two key omega-3 fatty acids. Taken daily throughout the week, the combination provides the same amount of DHA and EPA as 15.75 ounces, or three servings, of ocean fish.
Look for ways to increase your vitamin D intake through food. It’s difficult to get all you need from your diet, but every little bit helps. Foods like fish – especially salmon – or eggs, cheese and fortified milk offer natural forms of vitamin D.
A vitamin D supplement often is recommended during the winter months to help fill the gaps. Nutrilite™ researchers turned to one of nature’s most concentrated botanical sources of vitamin D for their supplement – mushrooms.
Nutrilite™ Vitamin D uses cultivated white button and brown portabella mushrooms to provide the same form of vitamin D produced by your body from natural sun exposure, in an amount equivalent to 16 cups of fortified milk.
Get outside for fresh air and exercise, which can increase your serotonin levels. Whether you’re walking, running, ice skating, snow-shoeing or skiing, make sure you dress appropriately for the conditions and protect your skin from exposure.
Make the most of the season
There’s a lot to love about winter despite the reduced sunlight. Hopefully these tips will help you make the most of the season. You can learn more about Nutrilite™ Balanced Health Omega and Nutrilite™ Vitamin D at Amway.com.