A Healthy Dose of Sunshine

A Healthy Dose of Sunshine

Monday, March 29, 2021

Nutrition, Wellness

Our bodies are equipped to absorb the nutrients they need from the foods we eat and the vitamins we add to our diet. Did you know our body relies on more than food and supplements? Soaking up the sun is healthy – in moderation. We need a little unfiltered sunshine, to help us absorb calcium. While it isn’t likely that we can all obtain the recommended amount of sun on our face, we can get a boost from vitamin D, sometimes referred to as the sunshine vitamin.


Q: Why do we need vitamin D?

A: We all need vitamin D – it’s essential to absorb calcium for bone health. It spurs bone growth in infants and children and keeps our bones strong by regulating calcium levels. Calcium keeps your bones and muscles healthy. Without enough calcium, muscles can cramp, hurt or feel weak.


Q: Is vitamin D helpful for more than bone health?

A: Vitamin D also gives an important boost to the immune system. According to a study reported in National Institutes for Health, epidemiologic evidence links vitamin D deficiency to autoimmune diseases, depression, dementia, infectious diseases and more.


Q: Why is vitamin D called the sunshine vitamin?

A: When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it manufactures vitamin D. It doesn’t take much skin exposure of the arms, legs, hands and face. Ten to 15 minutes two to three times a week, and you will produce all the vitamin D your body needs.


Q: What happens if you get more sun exposure than is necessary to produce vitamin D?

A: Your body automatically starts to dispose of vitamin D to avoid an overload of the vitamin, at which point your sun exposure is giving you nothing but sun damage (unless you apply a sunblock) without any of the presumed benefit.


Q: Can you get vitamin D from a source other than the sun?

A: You can acquire vitamin D from a combination of diet and supplements.


Q: What foods contain vitamin D?

A: Few foods contain vitamin D. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and tuna are especially good sources. Small amounts are also in egg yolks, beef liver and cheese. Many common foods are fortified with vitamin D, such as milk and orange juice. Check the labels to see if “fortified” is listed.


Genesis HealthCare System’s Health and Wellness content conveniently provides accurate and helpful information. Your health history and current health may impact suggestions provided through our Health and Wellness content. Although we hope this information is helpful, it is not a substitute for your doctor's medical advice. Before making any significant changes, please consult your doctor.