After a nice long weekend, I thought it would be important to stress the benefits of going outside.  Living in South Florida, we usually take the 9 months of sunshine for granted.  Of all the benevolent aspects that arise from spending time outside, I want to focus on just one today: vitamin D.

Vitamin D, sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin,” serves numerous purposes in the body.  Its various compounds (D1, D2, and D3) can affect up to 2,000 genes in the human body.  Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which means that it is stored, and further utilized, in the presence of fat.

Probably the most important function that vitamin D serves is the regulation and absorption of Calcium.  Calcium is essential to normal functioning of the muscles and helps to keep our bones strong.  Without a healthy amount of vitamin D, the Calcium wouldn’t be available for the aforementioned uses.  Furthermore, low amounts of vitamin D could put one at risk for osteoporosis and other bone related diseases.  Vitamin D also plays a vital role in your immune system.  It helps ward off heart disease, the flu, and even some forms of cancer.

After learning about the benefits, it’s clear that vitamin D is a necessary part of a healthy life.  How do you obtain it?  That’s the best part.  Simply being outside 10 minutes a day will provide you with vitamin D.  Additionally, you may obtain it from supplements and certain foods including: milk, shrimp, egg yolk, and salmon.

So next time you have a long weekend, or when you’re watching TV during the day, be sure to get some sun in order to reap the benefits of this great vitamin.