It’s that time of year again. Last week, the clocks went forward, the nights got longer, and it finally started to feel like winter in the UK. As much as we’re all for cosy fires and the odd pumpkin spiced latte, there’s always part of us that yearns for the summer months. That’s because the sun makes us feel good - and this isn’t in our heads, it’s part of our human DNA. Vitamin D, which we absorb from the sunlight, has a multitude of mental and physical health benefits, and as it turns out, is essential to us year-round.
So we’ve teamed up with our good friends at punchy, aka Liquid Sunshine. punchy are premium, low-calorie soft drinks mixed with feel good flavours, all-natural ingredients and a splash of vitamin D, to help you catch the sun all year round.
Our modern lifestyles are more inside-bound than ever, with Brits reported to spend 90% of their time indoors. Mix this with a lack of sunshine for six months of the year, and it’s no surprise that approximately 20% of the population in the UK have a vitamin D deficiency. In fact, between late September and early March, the NHS actually advises all UK-dwellers (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) to take a daily vitamin D supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D.
Good question. Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body, both of which are essential for the production of energy, muscle and nerve function, bone growth and healthy teeth (in other words - pretty important). Vitamin D is also a vital part of regular immune function, contributes to a higher metabolism and helps to reduce inflammation.
And that’s not all! Vitamin D is thought to help prevent a number of illnesses and diseases, helping contribute to optimum health all year round!
Low vitamin D levels have been previously linked to multiple sclerosis (MS), heart diseases such as hypertension, heart failure, and stroke, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. It makes sense, then, that this has led to a general opinion that recommended vitamin D levels can help reduce the risk of such illnesses.
Besides the physical benefits, vitamin D also contributes to better mental health. Let us paint you a picture - you’re on holiday, relaxing on a sunny beach, perhaps sipping on a delicious low-calorie soft drink of your choice (did somebody say punchy?), and you start to feel your cares drift away. Well, this isn’t all just because you’re not at work. Vitamin D has been shown to reduce negative emotions - and this is effective when taken in natural food or supplement form too, so you can benefit from this whilst also saving on flights.
Vitamin D has even been linked to supporting weight loss. While there is various research surrounding this, and nothing to say that vitamin D intake can necessarily cause weight loss, there certainly appears to be a connection between weight and the sunshine vitamin.
So how do we make sure we’re getting our vitamin D intake in the winter months?
While we certainly recommend following NHS guidance and taking a vitamin D supplement in the winter months, there are also plenty of edible sources of vitamin D which you can add to your diet in order to make sure you’re well supplied with vitamin D:
- Egg yolks
- Oily fish (such as sardines, salmon or canned tuna)
- Cod liver oil
- Fortified drinks (such as orange juice or milk)
- Fortified foods (such as yoghurt)
- UV-grown mushrooms
- punchy drinks - every can of punchy is charged with 200 IU vitamin D (50% of your recommended daily intake) - just enough to give a balanced diet an extra boost.
What about kids?
Vitamin D is just as vital to our little ones as it is to us adults (remember when we said it’s important for muscle, nerve and bone development?). While kids at school age may naturally spend a little more time playing outdoors, it’s actually recommended for little ones to take vitamin D supplements year-round. See below for the recommended advice to make sure your little ones are getting the vitamin D they D-serve from day one:
The Department of Health and Social Care recommends that babies from birth to 1 year of age should have a daily supplement containing 8.5 to 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year if they are breastfed or formula-fed and are having less than 500ml (about a pint) of infant formula a day, as infant formula is already fortified with vitamin D.
Children aged 1 to 4 years old should be given a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout the year.
Here’s to feeling sun-stoppable every day! 🌞
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