Most of us need no excuse to get out in the sunshine, but here’s a good one anyway: The action of the sun on the skin provides a natural source of vitamin D, which is vital for all of us. Vitamin D produces one of the hormones required to help maintain healthy bones, teeth, and gums.
Okay, I hear you say, but what do I do in the depths of a British winter? Well first of all let’s take a look at those most at risk from vitamin D deficiency:
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Children under 5 years of age.
- Adults aged 65 or over.
- Anyone who has little or no exposure to the sun.
- People with darker skin, such as those of African, African-Caribbean, or south Asian origin.
Apart from healthy amounts of sunshine (not too much of course, and remember the sunscreen) the key to eliminating vitamin D deficiency is diet. A number of foods are rich in vitamin D:
- Oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
- Fortified fat spreads.
- Fortified breakfast cereals.
And, of course, there are supplements should you be particularly at risk.
Maintaining your vitamin D level will help you to keep your teeth and gums in good shape, and, when the sun is shining, it can be great fun. So get outside and soak up the rays!