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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 May 21, 2020

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

1. The Paleo Diet

The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

2. Whole30

The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

During the month you are eliminating:

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  • sugar
  • alcohol
  • legumes
  • grains
  • dairy
  • soy

Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

Finding Out How Food Impacts You

Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

3. The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

  • Fruits & vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Legumes & nuts
  • Replacing butter with olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Moderate amounts of red wine

Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

4. The Alkaline Diet

The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

The Big Takeaway:

Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

Reference

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