by Eden Chiuslekuda
Vitamin D is one of the most underrated nutrients in the fight against cancer, depression and many degenerative conditions. Although you can supplement with vitamin D nutritionally, you would need to get a ridiculously high amount from food just to meet the minimum requirements. The truly most effective way of ensuring that you are getting enough is through sun exposure.
That’s right – the sun. Just make sure that you are getting about 2 hours daily (or at least three times a week) if you live in the northern hemisphere or very far from the Equator – like South Africa, Canada , Europe or the US. If you live in these geographic zones, and you are dark-skinned as most of us Zimbabweans are, you need a lot more sun exposure than those living nearer to the equator.
Here are just a few tips on increasing your sun exposure:
- Just expose your bare arms and or legs while you are out and about and simultaneously g et more exercise by opting to walk to work or run your errands by foot.
- Exercise outdoors instead of at the gym.
- Do not wear sunblock which reduces our skin’s ability to make vitamin D from sunlight by as much as 95%.
- If you are concerned about sun damage – get your exposure in the early to m id morning time frame, or late afternoon to early evening when the sun is not so intense in the sky.
- Use a very mildly protecting natural oil like shea butter to prevent sun damage or eat a diet very high in antioxidants. A lot of our wild indigenous fruits (like tsubvu) have high levels of phytonutrients that add a protecting quality against sun damage to the skin.
Inadequate vitamin D levels have been associated with:
- Depression, schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
- Cancer and have been correlated to the high rates of colon, breast, ovarian and prostate cancers that have become an epidemic amongst African Americans.
- Rickets (bone malformation disease) and muscle aches and pains. (Inadequate vitamin D levels interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.
- 80% higher rates of diabetes in the first twenty years of life – so it is very important to make sure that your infants and children have adequate sun exposure.
So no more excuses! Sun exposure is free and is especially important to those of you in the diaspora – particularly during the winter months when it is most tempting to stay indoors all day. Allow the sun to brighten both your outlook and your health.
*Eden is an ECCT Natural Health Contributor. Visit her Natural Health & Beauty page, ‘A Corner of Eden’.