A typical Alberta winter involves five months of snow, cold and bad driving conditions. We sure got off easy this year!
It makes one wonder if it is the El Nino prediction of a mild winter coming true, or just mother nature choosing to give us a well-deserved break.
Either way, the early spring weather has spirits high and everyone talking about wanting to get outside and enjoy the longer days and warmer weather.
You can receive many health benefits by taking advantage of the early spring, one of them being getting out in the warmer sunshine for some natural Vitamin D.
Typically with living in a climate so far north of the equator, we receive very little natural Vitamin D during the winter months.
According to Dr. Richard Brouse, biochemist and nutritionist, Vitamin D, especially D3, is made from outdoor UVB sunlight and in humans from cholesterol. It is really a hormone that helps the liver and kidneys. Statin cholesterol lowering drugs reduce vitamin D.
Benefits of vitamin D are preventing and reversing age related cognitive decline such
as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. It also affects the immune system and those taking high amounts of Vitamin D have been found to have no plaque in their arteries, therefore, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
One tenth of all genes in the body have a receptor for Vitamin D and we have 2,000 genes.
Vitamin D can alledgedly prevent autism, asthma, obesity and beast cancer. Added benefits are extra energy, stronger immune system and reduced depression.
Brouse recommends getting your blood levels checked for Vitamin D with a goal to be not lower than 90ng/ml. Recommended daily intake is 1,200 IU for adults and teenagers, 2,000IU for seniors, 1,000 IU for toddlers and 600IU for infants.
Fruits and vegetables contain no vitamin D, and the vitamin D added to milk, is D2, not the kind the body needs for added protection, so supplementing the diet makes sense. However, a typical summer day is Alberta could give up to 10,000IU of vitamin D, so supplementing in the summer months is not usually necessary.
While you’re outside soaking up some warmer sun rays and natural Vitamin D, begin your outdoor exercise routine such as cycling, long walks and even rollerblading. Sit outside every chance you get and soak up the sun’s warmer rays before you need to worry about burning.
Consider doing a detoxifying cleanse. Add 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice, 1 tbsp. of maple syrup and a dash of cayenne pepper to a glass of water.
The lemon is a natural cleanser, the maple syrup balances the blood sugar and the cayenne pepper offers respiratory cleansing.
You can fast and drink as many glasses as you choose in a day, or simply add four or five glasses of the above mixture and juice fresh fruits and vegetables for your meals.
This offers a nice natural cleanse for the body. Try to do for a minimum seven days for full benefit.
Adding a gentle laxative or liver cleanser offers a deeper cleanse.
Spring is a great time to cleanse the body from the long season of inactivity and typically eating higher calorie foods.
Cleansing and increasing outdoor exercise in combination with some natural vitamin D will give your body a lift. Spring fever, here we come!
Lacombe freelance columnist Judy Holt is a wellness consultant and author of 1 Potato, 2 Potato, Couch Potato to You.