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6 Reasons Why Vitamin D Is So Important To Your Body

6 Reasons Why Vitamin D Is So Important To Your Body

If you have ever wondered why so many products — like milk and some cereals — are fortified with Vitamin D, this is because this vitamin can be hard to come by from regular food sources. This is unfortunate, because this vitamin is incredibly important for many health functions, including the health of your bones, muscles and teeth and even your immune system.  And if your body does not get this nutrient in sufficient amounts, there can be a wide range of health problems that follow, including those below:

1. Achy, Weak Muscles

Muscles rely on certain amounts of vitamin D in order to function properly. When the vitamin is not there, this can cause sore, achy and weak muscles. The is the kind of feeling you often get when you have a viral infection like the flu.  The pain can vary from fairly mild to severe and tends to get worse over time if the deficiency is not corrected.

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2. Headaches and Dizziness

These symptoms are common with high blood pressure, which is also a common complaint from those with vitamin D deficiency. High blood pressure, however, is often called a “silent killer” because, although it is a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes, some people have no warning signs at all.  However, if you are having headaches and dizziness and you suspect that your blood pressure may be high, you should definitely talk to your doctor.

3. Frequent Infections

If you notice that you struggle with frequent urinary infections or with respiratory problems like the cold or the flu, then chances are your immune system might not be as strong as it should be. One reason for this could be a lack of vitamin D, which is found in high concentration in immune system cells and is needed for them to function. In one study, it was found that children who had high levels of this nutrient in their system had less chance of acquiring a cold or the flu.

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4. Tummy Troubles

If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition like celiac disease or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or if you simply have problems with things like heartburn or constipation, vitamin D might slow down how fast your body can push through the food that you eat. There is a definite link between digestive problems like celiac and other condition.

5. Excessive Sweat

If you notice that you sweat excessively but that there is no obvious cause for it, such as a fever, warm day or strenuous workout, you should also report this to the doctor as well. There is actually no good explanation for why low vitamin D levels can cause this problem, but it has been pretty well-established in the medical literature, anyways.

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6. Feeling Blue

Another less well-known symptom of vitamin D is depression, with its symptoms of feeling sad, worthless or just plain blue.  However, the good news is that once vitamin D levels are restored, these problems will often disappear and you can return to normal life.

Bonus: How to Restore Low Levels of Vitamin D

If you suspect that you might be low on vitamin D, report this problem to your doctor: a simple blood test will answer the question as to whether or not a deficiency is causing the problem.  And the good news is that there are plenty of simple lifestyle changes you can make that can help you raise your low vitamin levels, including:

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  • Eating foods that are rich in vitamin D, either because they contain it naturally or they have been fortified. These include egg yolks, fatty fish like salmon and tuna, beef liver or some cheeses. Fortified dairy, cereals, juices or other fortified plant-based drinks (such almond milk).
  • Supplementing with vitamin D capsules.  Generally, it is recommended that adults under 70 need 600 IUs a day while those over 70 need 800 IUs. However, if a doctor it treating a patient for a deficiency — especially if it is severe — he or she might prescribe up to 4,000 IU’s daily until the problem is resolved.
  • Exposing yourself to sunlight is another excellent way to get vitamin D into your body.  If you are the kind of person who wears sunscreen all the time, this might see a bit hard at first. But if you can get an get 15 minutes’ worth of sun exposure for 3 times a week, this can really help you restore those levels.

In short, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common of vitamin deficiencies and there can be serious health consequences for this. The goods news, however, is that eating a diet rich in this nutrient and getting exposed to sunlight several times a week can often help restore those levels to normal!

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Brian Wu

Health Writer, Author

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Last Updated on December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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