Blue skies, sun shining, cool nights and warm days-perfection is currently available on the Tablelands! With all this sunshine it’s the ideal time to top up the old vitamin D levels. Vitamin D, aka the ‘Sunshine vitamin’, is incredibly important to us. It’s synthesised on the skin by sunlight but there are only a few foods that contain the sunshine vitamin and not in great enough quantities to ignore the action of sunlight. The sunshine vitamin is necessary for the absorption of calcium so it’s indispensable to our bones. Rickets is not as common as it once was, but it is a prolonged vitamin D deficiency that causes it. Vitamin D deficiency has been named and shamed as contributing to a variety of conditions including osteoporosis, depression, anxiety, diabetes, weight gain, asthma and low immunity…that’s quite a list!
I’m sure that’s brought up plenty of questions so here come some answers! You’re more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency if you are vegan (more on that in a minute), have limited exposure to sun, impaired digestive function, have darker skin or the frail and/or elderly. That’s the short list but you get the idea.
As mentioned, there are some foods that contain vitamin D. These are butter, milk, egg yolks, cod liver oil and sprouted seeds. This is why vegans are at a greater risk of vitamin D deficiency. But vegans don’t need to miss out! Plant based sources include mushrooms and tofu. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D. There are also supplements. And of course, sunlight! Sunlight is the most important source of vitamin D.
And the big question is always how to get enough sunlight without risking skin cancer. I consulted the Cancer Council for this, and it turns out that we only need a few minutes of sunlight a day up here on the FNQ tablelands. Opt for times outside peak UV levels which are usually before 10am and after 3pm. Take your shirt off! The skin is a massive organ and the more you expose to sunlight the more vitamin D is made.
So, grab your morning cuppa, show some skin and bask in the morning sun to warm up and strengthen your bones the passive, lizard-inspired way!
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