8 intentional ways to get it during the winter

Taking care of yourself is a year-round job, and it changes with the seasons, especially during the winter. When you’re not spending as much time outside, you’ll be getting less vitamin D than your body needs.

To help you get through this chillier season, here are eight intentional ways to get more vitamin D in the winter without requiring more time outside in the freezing wind and snow.

Take a winter vacation

Everyone deserves a little time off. If you can take a vacation, don’t wait until your traditional summer beach trips or autumn hikes. You could travel to a warm winter location like Hawaii or the Caribbean to get vitamin D naturally by spending time in the sun.

Some destinations closer to the equator may also have their off-seasons during the northern winter months. You could get a sizable discount on your vacation just by treating yourself to a relaxing self-care trip. It all depends on where you go and when you travel. Research off-seasons in warm locations to find the perfect place for more sunlight exposure during a winter adventure.

Look for supplements

Supplements are another intentional way to get more vitamin D if you want to make an intense nutritional change. They come in numerous dosages and pill shapes, but you need to ensure that you’re getting the proper dose for your age. Many supplements have more vitamins and minerals than most people need. They’re great for malnourished people or those recovering from an illness, but getting too much of any vitamin can be a bad thing.

According to the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) Office of Dietary Supplements, the average adult needs 15 micrograms (mcgs) of vitamin D every day. Supplemental pills or oils could provide much more than that and cause a gradual buildup of vitamin D in your body. Excessive amounts will cause toxic calcium deposits in soft tissues.

Never take supplements without consulting your primary care physician, as they’ll know more about your medical needs than anyone at a health food store. Your doctor can point you towards more helpful ways of getting vitamin D, if supplements could interact with your current prescriptions or any pre-existing conditions or risk factors you have.

Find products rich in vitamin D

Food and beverage brands know that consumers are more focused on improving their health than in previous decades. Many make products infused with vitamin D that are available at your local grocery store. Check the labels to see which ones have an extra amount of this vitamin to ensure you’re getting exactly what you need.

Orange juice is a popular beverage that brands inject with extra vitamin D. You can also get this mineral from name-brand yogurts, tofu or protein bars that cater to consumers who want more vitamins in their diet.

Eat fortified foods

Some fortified foods will have extra amounts of natural vitamin D, and cow’s milk is an excellent example. It’s organic and it’s fortified before enduring the pasteurization process, so the vitamin D within it remains after it becomes safe to drink.

Getting your vitamin D from milk also directly correlates with its purpose. It stimulates the intestines to increase calcium absorption through the kidneys, when the calcium might otherwise go to waste. Milk has calcium as well, so your body will get two major health components from a single source.

Cook with egg yolks

Fried egg in pan with seasoning

Egg yolks are another food that has vitamin D. They’re an excellent way to eat a warm breakfast during cold winter mornings or add extra protein to custard-based ice creams. No matter how you want to eat egg yolks throughout the coldest months of the year, you’ll get additional vitamin D without stepping outside.

Invest in a UV lamp

Ultraviolet (UV) light isn’t great for your skin in massive doses (that’s why you should always wear sunscreen when you’re outside in the summer). It can burn your skin and trigger cancerous growths, but only when it comes in contact with your skin in excessive amounts.

On the other hand, UV light can improve your body’s vitamin D production and absorption process when it’s provided in small doses. A recent study found that people who sat under UV LED lightbulbs made 2.4 times more vitamin D in their bodies than those who sat in sunlight.

Consult your doctor if you’re unsure about investing in a UV lamp. People with sensitive skin, who take certain medications or have a history of skin cancer in their families may need to try other alternatives to remain safe and healthy.

Enjoy more seafood

If you don’t already eat seafood regularly, adjusting your diet to include it could help you get more vitamin D in the winter. Research shows that wild salmon has higher vitamin D levels than farmed salmon, so it’s an excellent resource for anyone who needs more of this essential mineral.

Add it to your salads for a light protein or switch out heavy winter meals like chili for broiled salmon filets. Salmon is easy to cook, as well as being a healthy alternative to comparable protein sources, so once you start consuming it, you won’t miss a beat in your routine while getting used to the added vitamin D.

Switch your breakfast cereal

Look at the labels the next time you walk down the cereal aisle at your grocery store. Any brand that fortifies its product will advertise that fact on its packaging. Fortified cereals use the same foundational ingredients as non-fortified foods, but they also include added vitamins and minerals.

Fortified cereals will likely have more vitamin D than their regular counterparts. Eating these is a budget-friendly way to get more of this nutrient without adding costly supplements or name-brand products to your diet. Compare the options available where you live to decide which flavours you’ll enjoy each morning while increasing your vitamin D intake.

Stay warm—and healthy

Don’t worry about spending more time outside when you’re tired of snowball fights and sledding, as you don’t need to get all of your vitamin D from the sun. You can also receive it from these resources above, by adjusting your daily habits. Talk with your doctor about increasing your dose through activities like dietary changes or UV light exposure to ensure your safety while improving your health.

Medical disclaimer: This page is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice offered by physicians. Please refer to the full text of our medical disclaimer.

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