Fun, fun, fun! Summertime is filled with sun, sun, sun! The summer months are quickly approaching, school is coming to an end, and beaches are opening, but just how much time should we really spend in this sun, sun, sun?! This summer, how can we make sure we receive enough vitamin D without risking skin damage?
Vitamin D is a necessary vitamin needed to add calcium and phosphorus to our diets. Our bodies create Vitamin D from direct sunlight on our skin. These minerals are important for healthy bones. A lack of vitamin D , or a deficiency, can cause softening and weakening of bones and lead to bone deformities, so it is important that we spend some time in the sun, but too much time can be quite harmful and lead to a series of skin diseases and even some cancers.
The amount of time that you should spend in the sun is based on your skin tone, the time of the year, the time of the day, and how easily your skin burns. There is no single recommendation for everyone. Evidence suggests that the most effective time of day for vitamin D production is between 11am and 3pm. The longer you stay in the sun, especially for prolonged periods without sun protection, the greater the risk of skin cancer.
How should we protect our skin this summer, but still get efficient amounts of vitamin D?
Sun damage happens when the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays penetrate into the skin and damage cells. You can’t feel this happening, and it can occur even when the sun doesn’t feel very hot! The best way to avoid sun burn is to use sunscreen. Choose a sunscreen labeled “broad spectrum”, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, as well as a sunscreen receiving a rating of four to five stars. We also get vitamin D from some foods, such as oily fish (for example salmon, mackerel and sardines), eggs and meat. Vitamin D is also added to all margarine and infant formula milk, and to some breakfast cereals, soy products, dairy products, powdered milks and low-fat spreads.
With these tips, a safe yet enjoyable summer will be guaranteed. Just remember to pack the sunscreen!
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