Vitamin D plays an important role in a healthy immune system. Research has shown that people with sufficient vitamin D levels suffer from fewer infections than their counterparts with lower levels of this otherwise essential nutrient. With that said, it's estimated that nearly half of the U.S. population suffers from a vitamin D deficiency, meaning they don't get enough of this nutrient. If you're among this crowd, you should consider the following tips to increase your vitamin D intake.
Eat More Fatty Fish
Including more fatty fish in your diet will boost your body's vitamin D levels. Fatty fish -- tuna, salmon, mackerel, etc. -- is an excellent source of vitamin D. It contains naturally occurring vitamin D that can boost your body's levels of this nutrient. You don't have to fatty fish on a daily basis. Rather, eating it just one or two times a week is often enough to make a meaningful impact on your body's vitamin D levels.
Eat More Eggs
In addition to fatty fish, eggs are an excellent source of vitamin D. Whether scrambled, sunny side up or boiled, eggs will provide your body with a substantial about of vitamin D. In fact, a single egg contains about 44 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D. By adding more eggs to your diet, you can protect against vitamin D deficiency that would otherwise take a toll on your body's immune system.
Soak Up the Sun
You don't have to rely strictly on food sources for vitamin D; you can get vitamin D from the sun as well. Vitamin D, in fact, is known as the "sunshine vitamin" because it's produced by the human body naturally in response to sunlight. Sunlight doesn't actually contain vitamin D. Rather, your body will produce its own vitamin D in response to sunlight.
Depending on your skin type, spending about 15 to 25 minutes outdoors should provide your body with a sufficient amount of vitamin D. Keep in mind, though, that prolonged exposure to sunlight can damage your skin. It accelerates the speed at which your skin ages while increasing the risk of sunburn in the process. Therefore, you should limit the amount of time you spend outdoors to no more than 25 minutes. And if you're going to stay outside for a longer period, wear sunscreen to protect your skin from damage.
Don't let your body's immune system suffer because of low vitamin D levels. When vitamin D levels drop, your body's immune system will be less effective at fighting off infections. The good news is that you can increase your vitamin D levels in several ways. Eating more fatty fish, eating more eggs and soaking up the sun are just a few easy ways to boost your vitamin D levels and, therefore, lower your risk of infections.