How can we safely get vitamin D from the sun? Here’s a guide to enjoying the summer sunshine the safe way while getting a vitamin D boost.
Extract the maximum from the summer without feeling the burn.
The advent of summer, in theory at least, brings with it the glory of sun-filled days filled with barbecues, trips to the seaside and all manner of other enjoyable outdoor pursuits.
It seems churlish to dampen any enthusiasm for that time spent in the sunshine, but as with almost everything, there are health concerns to consider. Chief among which is the time-honored battle between your vitamin D requirements and the risk of skin cancer.
To make sure you’re getting the balance right, here’s Dr Stephanie Munn, consultant dermatologist from Bupa Health Clinics, with three tips for ensuring you get the perfect amount of vitamin D this summer without risking your skin safety.
The sunshine bank
One of the fantastic things about our bodies is our ability to store excess vitamin D for use at a later date, meaning we can bank enough sunlight during sunny months to see us through the cold snaps. However, we all know the risks associated with too much sun exposure, so it’s about taking a balanced approach. You don’t need to avoid the sun completely, but you do absolutely need to avoid burning. Being in the sun for a short amount of time between 11am and 3pm will give your vitamin D stocks a boost. People with paler skin should aim for a short period in the sun every day for about ten to 15 minutes while those with darker skin will need a little longer.
During this time, aim to have a third of your skin surface exposed, focusing on less sensitive areas like forearms, hands, and legs. You will still absorb the necessary rays while wearing sunscreen, but you’ll need to stay out for longer.
Everybody needs the same amount (10mcg) of vitamin D on a daily basis to maintain healthy bones, but the rate at which we produce the vitamin differs enormously. People with darker skin need more exposure [to the sun] to get the recommended amount than those with very pale skin, who are at greater risk of burning. You’ll also need more exposure as you grow older.
Use of sunscreen, the weather, time of day, and a host of other factors mean that it is tricky to gauge whether you’re getting your daily quota. If you’d like a more definitive view of your vitamin D levels, you can get this checked with a simple blood test through your GP.
Monitor your moles
Recent research by Bupa Health Clinics revealed that only 14% of the population regularly check their moles to see if there are changes. Even worse, only 23% of people have seen a GP or dermatologist immediately when they noticed a change.
A good trick is to take pictures of your moles and then compare them with what you see on your body on a regular basis to check for any change in shape, size, texture, or color. Use the ABCDE rule to know exactly what to look out for.
A – Asymmetry. Do both halves of the mole look the same?
B – Border. Is the edge of the mole uneven or fuzzy?
C – Color. Is the mole a mix of different shades or colors?
D – Diameter. Is it bigger than 6mm from side to side? (The end of a pencil is about 5mm across.)
E – Evolution. Has the mole changed?
People with a lot of moles and pale skin should have their moles checked by a dermatologist or GP, who’ll recommend when you should come back and how often you should have checks in the future.
Featured image provided by Coach
Healthy Fats and Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, meaning that it does not dissolve in water and is absorbed best in your bloodstream when paired with a source of fat. Studies indicate Vitamin D absorption can be significantly increased when paired with a diet that includes high-fat foods.
To help your body better absorb vitamin D, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough healthy fats in your diet.
Our Protein Bars and Fat Bombs are great snack options for giving your body an essential healthy fat boost! Many of our flavors include organic grass-fed ghee and organic coconut oil, which are not only delicious but are also good sources of premium, high-quality fats.
In addition to healthy fats, our Fat Bombs also contain grass-fed collagen for supporting strong bones and healthy skin.
It’s also important to maintain a healthy gut to make sure you’re absorbing vitamin D as well. Many of our snacks include ingredients like L-Glutamine and Sunflower Lecithin for protecting digestive system lining along with many other health benefits.
As always, everything we make at MariGold is low (or no sugar), made with REAL FOOD premium quality ingredients that are non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, grain-free, chemical and preservative-free, and INCREDIBLY DELICIOUS!