Get a dose of the sunshine vitamin

Popularly known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin ‘D’ belongs to the fat-soluble family of vitamins. Exposure to direct sunlight on our body triggers the production of vitamin D naturally and the nutrient is also found in a few animal sources of food. The bioactive of this vitamin are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3.

While it is a known fact that vitamin D is essential for a healthy bone development and upkeep, it also helps in regulating blood pressure and prevents diabetics. Research shows that vitamin D has an important role in preventing depression and heart disease.

Deficiency

Indians aren’t getting enough exposure to sunlight with the changes in living habits. Many avoid exposure to sunlight with sunscreen lotions and cover the entire body while stepping out. And 90% of the time is either spent indoors or in air-conditioned workspaces increasing the chances of deficiency.

According to latest surveys and reports, over 60% of Indians suffer from vitamin D deficiency and the majority of them are unaware of this and do not understand the importance of this vitamin for good health. Also, Indian diet does not contain sources of vitamin D, unlike in the western countries that have vitamin-D fortified foods like cereals, egg, milk, curds apart from regular meat products.

Apart from more exposure to natural sunlight, it is also essential to include food sources that are rich in vitamin D. But in India, many vegetarians don’t get a proper dietary input of this vital vitamin from regular food sources. Moreover, with the rise of the vegan community that shuns milk and its by-products the threat of vitamin D deficiency is quite high.

(The author is a nutrition researcher & lifestyle/anti-ageing consultant)

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Get a dose of the sunshine vitamin

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