Vitamin D- The Magic Pill For Your Mental Health!
Vitamin D has gotten a lot of attention this past year, and for good reason! This little vitamin is critical for our health, in more ways than one. I’m sure you’ve heard about how great this little wonder is for our physical health- but I’ve learned through personal experience just how crucial this simple vitamin is for our mental health as well!
This past year I was actually diagnosed with Postpartum Anxiety/Depression. When doing my bloodwork, the doctor realized that my Vitamin D was severely low, and actually prescribed me with a special pill to take weekly, with 50,000 units of Vitamin D! A daily supplement only has 2,000 units, so this was definitely not your average over-the-counter medicine. And after a couple weeks of taking the pill, it was pretty incredible to feel the difference this simple vitamin had on my body! I had more energy, I felt more hopeful; I actually learned from my doctor that being deficient in Vitamin D can cause depression, which is why they like to do blood work when checking mental health conditions. It is so critical for our mental health in addition to our physical health!
While there are some foods that help you get some extra Vitamin D, nothing replaces the ultimate source of Vitamin D- the sun! Which makes sense for my condition- last summer I was inside constantly with a baby on oxygen, and I really didn’t get outside very much. After a summer and winter spent inside, it’s no wonder my Vitamin D was so lacking!
After experiencing the fatigue and depression that comes with being low in Vitamin D, I am now very much an advocate for getting outside several times a week, no matter the circumstances! There are some foods you can add to your diet to help supplement, but the sun is absolutely your best bet at making sure your body (and mind!) stays healthy. Our skin only makes Vitamin D when in direct contact with its rays, so sitting by a window doesn’t cut it. Bundle up and get outside! It’s recommended to get outside for about 20 minute intervals a few times a week- so make it a goal to walk outside at least every other day! Especially after this past year- many of us probably spent more time indoors than usual with quarantines, so make sure you’re getting your Vitamin D this winter!
Here are some ideas to get you outside:
- Read a book on the porch- physical limitations don’t have to limit your sun exposure! Just bring a blanket and some hot chocolate to keep warm!
- Walk around the block- even drop off some goodies to a neighbor in need!
- Walk around your backyard- start planning projects for the upcoming year while you’re at it!
- Find a local trail you can visit so you don’t get bored of the same walk.
- Go to a local pond and feed the ducks
- Go hiking if possible- many trails may be covered in snow, but there’s always ways to get up the mountains!
- Go skiing or snowboarding- embrace the snow!
- Go for a drive and roll down the windows- you can blast the heater at the same time if you need to!
- Salmon and other fatty fish (such as herring or sardines)
- Canned tuna
- Egg yolks (don’t just eat egg whites all the time!)
- Fortified foods such as certain milks, cereals, etc (check the labels)
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