But why should you allocate some time for basking in the sun? What's with this vitamin D, and how does it help women? Provide answers to all of these questions by learning more about vitamin D, its remarkable benefits, and its richest sources.
Vitamin D: What's Special This Sunshine Vitamin?
Before knowing its benefits, it is essential to learn first how vitamin D, better known as the "sunshine vitamin," is created by your body. Vitamin-D receptors surround your skin. Hence, every time the sunlight hits your skin, these receptors respond by creating vitamin D. This sunshine vitamin can perform just like what hormones do, acting as chemical messengers to various organs and bodily functions. Vitamin D also comes in three forms, namely D-1, D-2, and D-3, all of which are fat-soluble and essential in the body.
Is the sun the only origin of vitamin D? The answer is "no." You can also get a substantial amount of vitamin D in your everyday diet. You can also obtain vitamin D from vitamin supplements. Therefore, it isn't necessary to spend your time 24/7 basking in the sun.
Vitamin D's Benefits That Every Woman Needs to Receive
1. It improves bone health, especially during and after menopause.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in developing and maintaining good bone health. The reason lies in vitamin D's capability of boosting calcium absorption. You need calcium to grow and form bone tissues properly. That is why mothers would always bring their babies outside every morning, allowing their children to get vitamin D for bone growth and development.
However, it's also crucial for women above their 40s to get their daily dose of sunshine. Estrogens, or the female hormones, are also linked to calcium absorption. Hence, estrogen decline, which often happens during and after menopause, can strongly affect women's bodies and their capability of absorbing calcium from foods. Unfortunately, this problem can lead to bone problems, such as osteoporosis.
2. It may reduce the risk of developing heart diseases.
As women grow older, they become more inclined to age-related diseases, such as heart ailments. Various researches have concluded how vitamin-D deficiency can affect one's cardiovascular health, putting the person at risk of heart diseases. Vitamin D can help regulate blood pressure, which lessens your heart's burden of pumping blood, thereby reducing the risk of overworking your heart. However, not all experts agree on supplementing your body with vitamin D more than what your bones need. They believe that there is no need to boost one's vitamin-D levels as long as you get a substantial amount from the sunshine and your everyday meals.
3. It also strengthens your immune function.
As women grow older, they become more exposed and susceptible to various illnesses. In that case, it is vital to boost one's immune system to prevent getting sick or infected. Vitamin D can control the immune cells' immediate responses, making them even more active against foreign bodies. This vitamin also strengthens T cells and macrophages responsible for defending your body against pathogens and infections. Thus, raising your body's vitamin D levels is essential, especially during this global health crisis. In fact, a 2020 study was conducted to determine the effects of vitamin D among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Patients who had higher vitamin D levels were less vulnerable to the virus's adverse effects and death. Other than that, various studies have also reiterated the importance of vitamin D in preventing immune-related diseases and infections.
4. It also plays a primary task in maintaining robust hair growth.
The hair is every woman's crowning glory. Hence, women should take vitamin-D deficiency as a severe threat to hair growth. As you have already known, the immune system needs vitamin D to strengthen your immune cells. Hence, having low vitamin D levels can put you at risk of suffering from autoimmune diseases, such as alopecia areata. This hair loss issue happens when your immune cells attack your hair cells, causing hair to stop growing and fall out later. Small bald patches also appear on your scalp and may get worse as time goes by.
5. It is also in maintaining healthy skin conditions.
For women, skincare is also another beauty concern that must be taken seriously. Many beauty products are famous for having vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, retinol, and collagen as components. But little do people know that vitamin D is also an essential nutrient for skin health. Vitamin D has shown to have photoprotective qualities that keep your skin safe from the sun's UV rays. This sunshine vitamin also contributes to faster wound healing and skin cell regeneration, aiding your immune cells to respond immediately in case of pathogen invasion in wounds and abrasions.
6. It also boosts the phosphate levels in your body.
Women, especially those aged 40 and above, are susceptible to bone and muscle problems as an after-effect of both aging and menopause. However, calcium is not enough to regulate bone and muscle growth and development. You also need phosphate, the second most abundant mineral in the body, because this nutrient is vital in strengthening your bones and teeth and helping muscles contract properly. Some studies have also shown how vitamin-D deficiency affects your body's phosphate levels. Hence, to regulate this mineral's intestinal absorption, you need vitamin D, which you can get in your everyday diet.
Hunting for Vitamin D: Where Can You Obtain Vitamin D?
Now that you have known how vitamin D is essential to women let's search for the top and natural sources of vitamin D.
Vitamin D, better known as the "sunshine vitamin," is produced when sunlight hits the vitamin-D receptors on your skin. Thus, sunlight exposure is vital to avoid vitamin-D deficiency. It would be best to go out and bask in the sun in the early morning to evade the sweltering heat of the sun. It will also mitigate the chances of developing skin cancer.
2. Fatty fishes
Your daily food consumption also matters when it comes to vitamin-D consumption. But don't worry, for the seas can provide you a substantial amount of fatty fishes like salmons, sardines, tuna, mackerel, and herring. These fishes are abundant with nutrients that are healthy for your heart, hair, and skin, such as omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, and of course, vitamin D.
Vegans and people on a low-calorie diet can also obtain enough vitamin D from mushrooms. These fleshy vegetables are also abundant in other essential minerals, such as selenium and zinc, as well as antioxidants. But take note that not all mushrooms are edible. Hence, if you want to enrich your diet with vitamin D, opt to eat maitake, shiitake, chanterelle, or enoki mushrooms, which are all safe for consumption. The vitamin D from these mushrooms can stabilize blood pressure and strengthen your immune system.
4. Fortified Dairy Products
Dairy products that you can purchase in supermarkets, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt, are enriched with vitamin D for your body to digest calcium faster and easier. You can buy these in supermarkets, but make sure to check the list of ingredients to guarantee its vitamin-D content.
5. Egg Yolks
If you'd like to get a considerable amount of proteins and vitamin D, you may need to start prioritizing eggs in your diet. The egg's yolk (or the yellow part inside the egg) is very nutritious and rich in vitamin D. However, try to consume too many egg yolks because their high-cholesterol content can put your heart at risk. Hence, eat egg yolks moderately to prevent an increase in your cholesterol levels.
Fortify Your Diet and Beauty Regimen with Vitamin D.
Most people would neglect their vitamin D levels, affecting their physical appearance and making them vulnerable to infections and diseases. Hence, it is crucial to be meticulous with what you eat and drink. Women should consider and prioritize the vitamin-D levels in their diet, lifestyle and beauty regimen. Hence, don't forget to get your daily dose of sunshine every day. Also, choose and use skin and hair growth products supplemented with vitamin D to fight free radicals and aging signs' adverse effects. By relying on the sunshine vitamin, you can enjoy the feeling of looking youthful for a long time.
Vitamin D is Essential in Hair Growth.
Your hair needs an enormous amount of vitamins to grow long and strong. Therefore, fortify your current diet by consuming vitamin supplements for hair growth every day. It would also be best to use some hair growth products with ingredients rich in vitamin D to protect your locks against thinning hair and hair loss problems.