What amazing sunshine we’re having!  I hope you’ve been able to soak some of it up. Most of us feel the immediate mood-enhancing effects of the sun. Read on to learn why the sun is vital for our mental and physical health.

The UV rays trigger the body to produce Vitamin D.  Low Vitamin D levels can mean low mood, and even depression.  The sun is our main source of Vitamin D.
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How can we make sure we’re getting our minimum required levels of this “sunshine” vitamin?

  • 15 minutes of daily unprotected exposure to the sun as much as possible (unless you have been given medical advice to stay out of the sun completely). Not easy in Ireland!  But the body can store some Vitamin D, and we can top up our levels by eating vitamin D-rich foods (see below).
  • Wearing sunscreen, make-up or a moisturiser with an SPF will inhibit the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin D. Get your 15 mins sun exposure with a naked face (uness you have had medical advice to stay out of the sun completely).
  • Eat plenty of oily-fish such as salmon, tuna and mackeral.  These foods can help to top up the Vitamin D levels, but sunshine is the most important source!
  • We may also benefit from a Vitamin D supplement during the winter months.
  • Vitamin D also enhances your immune system, helping to keep you generally stronger and healthier.
  • Vitamin D is vital for bone health.  It helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus from certain foods, both of which are important for healthy and strong bones.  For post-menopausal women, it’s especially important to have sufficient Vitamin D.  Another good reason to soak up some rays.
  •  If you think your Vitamin D levels may be low, you can ask your doctor to do a simple blood test.