Just look on your carton of milk (that includes your soy milk) and you’ll probably see a label that says “Vitamin D added.”  So, if it’s added, it must be important, right?  Turns out, vitamin D is essential for good health.

Vitamin D acts more like a hormone than a vitamin, helping protect you from disease and even modify your mood for the better.  Here are some perks that Vitamin D has to offer:

Paired With Milk For A Reason:  You’ll find your milk enriched with Vitamin D because it helps with the absorption of calcium; important for bone growth and remodeling.  In fact, if you don’t get enough vitamin D as a child, you might develop a condition called, “rickets,” a weakening and softening of the bones.  Vitamin D also protects your bones from getting too thin or brittle.  That means that it’s an important ingredient in preventing osteoporosis, a common problem, especially in older women, where their bones weaken and are more easily fractured or broken.

Less Inflammation, More Cells!:  Not only does vitamin D help lesson inflammation in your body, it also helps with cell proliferation, the process of cell growth via replicating its own parts.  Sounds crazy, but a cell must double up its pieces and then split apart to make another cell in your body.  All that dry, dead skin you just exfoliated off your face was replaced with new cells by this process.  Thank vitamin D for helping keep your skin smooth!  Also, it might be a good vitamin to increase your intake of should you suffer from acne or other inflammations of the skin.

Good Mental/Physical Health:  Not only has vitamin D been found to affect your mood positively, it also strengthens your immune system.  If you’re feeling blue or fighting off a cold, a little extra dose of vitamin D along with your usual remedies might be just the thing to push you towards feeling better.

The good news is that this important vitamin is easy to find.  Your body converts sunshine into vitamin D, so adding a fifteen minutes more of sunshine into your daily routine could really help a lot.  As we mentioned before, milk and soymilk are often enriched with vitamin D, as are margarine and some cereals (check the label to know for sure).  Canned, oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, tuna fish, and sardines also contain vitamin D.  So does liver, egg yolks, and (surprisingly) Swiss cheese.  Of course there are always vitamin D supplements for all the picky eaters.  Either way, there are many options in getting this important vitamin in your diet!

Have you ever taken a vitamin D supplement or lingered in the sunshine for positive effects?  How did you find it changed your mood, skin health, and overall body health?

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