There are a lot of things that go into a healthy lifestyle, and most of us already know that we need plenty of exercise alongside a balanced diet to take care of the majority of those needs. However, it’s easy to miss just how vital a little sunlight can be, too. It’s all down to our reliance on vitamin D. Here, we’re going to look at why, exactly, it’s so essential to our health, as well as what we can do to get a little more of it in our lives.

Why it’s crucial

Before looking at ways to get more of it in your life, it’s important to understand just why vitamin D is so important in the first place. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, it’s an essential nutrient, meaning we cannot live without it. For one, it helps us absorb minerals like calcium and phosphorous, vital for both bone growth and for improving our immune system. In fact, vitamin D deficiency can cause your risk of both heart disease and seasonal illnesses like the flu to skyrocket. It’s crucial to your mental health, both long-term and short-term, as well. In the short-term, it helps to manage feelings of depression, but vitamin D deficiency is also linked to an increased risk of dementia in older age.

Enjoying the sun responsibly

For most people, the vast majority of vitamin D is absorbed through the skin, directly from the sun. If you want to get a little more of it, then the best way is to enjoy outdoor activities, whether this means getting active and enjoying a walk, or learning a new discipline like fishing with the help of sites like Tailored Tackle. However, it’s important to make sure your skin isn’t getting exposed to more direct sunlight than it needs, given the risk of premature skin ageing, sunburn, and more serious dangers like skin cancer. Investing in full-spectrum sun lotion can ensure your skin is absorbing what it needs from the sun without taking in too much.

Adding a drop to your diet

When it comes to adding vitamins to our body, most of us tend to think about our diet first and foremost. Given that vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common kinds, a lot of people turn to supplements, but sites like WebMD have written on how this isn’t always the most reliable way. There are plenty of foods that are high in vitamin D and underrepresented in most diets, including salmon, herring, tuna, egg yolks, mushrooms, soy milk, orange juice, and oatmeal. Rather than direct vitamin D supplements, cod liver oil tablets tend to show more effectiveness over the long term, in part because they have much greater bioavailability, meaning that our body is better at absorbing them.

Hopefully, above all else, the above article makes it clear that fitness and diet aren’t the only contributing factors to a healthy and fulfilled life. At the very least, you need a little extra vitamin D than you’re likely to get in your food alone.