Having a healthy immune system is more important than ever in this post-pandemic world. We know that vitamins are essential to overall health, but when you’re adding nutrients to your diet, make sure to include vitamin D.
Most people think they’re getting enough of this vitamin by going outside each day and drinking milk. However, more than one billion people in the world have vitamin D deficiency.
When you don’t get enough vitamin D, it can cause a wide variety of problems, from diabetes to bone deterioration. Some people are more at risk for low levels of vitamin D. If you fall in one of these categories, it’s even more important that you boost your D intake:
- You stay indoors most of the time or live in an area where there isn’t much direct sunlight.
- Sunblock is your best friend anytime you go outdoors.
- Your skin is dark.
- You are overweight or obese.
- Your diet doesn’t have a lot of fish or dairy in it.
- You are in the “elderly” age range.
Even if you don’t fit any of these criteria, but especially if you do, you need to include vitamin D in your daily diet.
Avoiding deficiency is important. However, getting enough vitamin D also gives you plenty of positive benefits for your health!
1. Reduced Inflammation/Swelling
You might not realize it, but inflammation is actually a good thing. It’s your body’s natural reaction to threats like invaders or injuries. Short-term acute inflammation is a sign that your immune system is working as it should.
The problem occurs when that inflammation becomes chronic. This is the ongoing result of your immune system failing to get rid of one of those invaders or injuries. It’s a long-term, often destructive condition that can cause a lot of other problems.
Sometimes, chronic inflammation happens when you have too many inflammatory substances going into your body and not enough nutrients to combat them.
Vitamin D is one of those substances that is necessary to help control inflammation. Deficiencies in this vitamin are often the underlying reason behind the long-term swelling.
2. A Healthier Immune System
A healthy immune system can help prevent chronic inflammation and lower your chances of getting sick.
Your immune system is full of “nurse cells” that attack invaders as soon as they enter your body. Think of it like your immune system is your army and the germs are the invading soldiers.
A strong army is more likely to defend its battleground. Even if it can’t completely keep the invading forces from getting through, it minimizes the impact they have on your body.
Vitamin D is one of the energizing nutrients that keeps your immune system’s soldiers ready for battle!
3. A More Stable Blood Pressure
Hypertension (HTN), or high blood pressure, has been dubbed “the silent killer.” Statistically, it’s one of the deadliest conditions in the world and can be caused by various factors. Age, salt intake, race, tobacco use, diet, and many other characteristics can increase one’s risk for HTN.
However, studies show that increasing your vitamin D intake can stabilize your blood pressure. Low vitamin D levels may be indirectly related to it.
With over one billion people around the world diagnosed with this chronic condition, it’s the most common reason for doctor’s visits. It’s also becoming more urgent that we get a handle on the prevention of HTN.
HTN is one of the main risk factors for deadly diseases such as congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and kidney disease. By keeping your vitamin D levels where they’re supposed to be, you can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure later.
4. A Better Mood
Vitamin D is consistently linked to a reduction in depression symptoms. Called “the sunshine vitamin,” it’s also almost always lacking in those diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
This disorder is a legitimate condition that causes people who live in areas that go long periods without sun to become sad or depressed.
SAD shows us that there is a physiological response in our bodies that occurs with sunshine or the lack of it.
SAD is most common in cold, dark climates. As people stay inside more, their exposure to the sunshine decreases, and so does their vitamin D dosage. This lack of sunlight and vitamin D can affect your mood, even if you don’t have SAD.
If you’re rarely outside or you live in these darker areas, make sure to get vitamin D through your diet or supplements. It will help prevent SAD and other mental conditions that stem from low vitamin D levels.
5. A More Restful Slumber
Do you find yourself tossing and turning every night? You’ve tried all the tricks, but nothing seems to work. The problem might be your vitamin D levels.
Optimizing your vitamin D helps certain receptors in your brain — those responsible for your sleep patterns — to work better.
Restful sleep consists of two parts:
- The time you spend sleeping
- The efficiency of your sleep during that period
For instance, you may be “asleep” for eight hours, but if you spent an hour falling asleep and woke up six times, your sleep wasn’t efficient.
If your sleep is less than optimal, have a doctor check your vitamin D levels. Low vitamin D can cause you to toss and turn and have daytime fatigue.
Taking a daily vitamin D supplement can boost your sleep efficiency. Since lack of sleep has a huge effect on the rest of your body, getting more restful slumber can even improve your overall health.
From your mood and sleep to your future health, your vitamin D levels play a huge role in your life. Yet, this vitamin is one of the most commonly overlooked.
It’s easy to add vitamin D to your day. Get outside more, take a daily supplement, and fill up on D-enriched foods. With all the benefits that come with this sunshine nutrient, you’ll notice the changes quickly!
Angus Flynn, Business Manager of Arte, has been with Alliance Residential Company for over five years. He has extensive experience with a variety of properties, from large lease-ups to smaller, more urban assets.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and data contained in these publications are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of Credihealth and the editor(s).
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