When was the last time you ran after a bus or chased through the crowd to board a metro on your way to work? When did you last get to sit by the balcony at leisure and bask in the morning sun without having to worry about missing a Zoom call? These might seem like non-threatening changes in your life, compared to the other major changes imposed by the incessant lockdowns owing to the pandemic, but they could have a long-term adverse effect on the body and mind in the form of a Vitamin D deficiency.
Forced to stay indoors, people have become lethargic, put on weight, and developed various Vitamin deficiencies. With bare minimum exposure to sunlight, the main source of Vitamin D, we are risking our bone health and immune system. Vitamin D helps the body to function well by making the bones healthy, and strengthening the immune system; it is also known to prevent cancers, says celebrity nutritionist and founder of 'Fat To Slim', Sikha A. Sharma.
She explains the vitamin D deficiency in detail:
Importance of Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a vital role in our body by keeping one away from health issues like heart diseases, hypertension, diabetes, bacterial infections, immunity disorder, rapid-ageing, some types of cancers and multiple sclerosis.
Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency
Initially, Vitamin D deficiency does not show any notable symptoms, but acute deficiency may cause muscle cramps, backache, fatigue and depression and sleep disorder among several other disorders.
Getting enough Vitamin D when homebound
- Sun exposure is the best source of Vitamin D. One must try to soak in the early morning at least twice a week for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- There are various food items rich in vitamin D like -- cod liver oil, coriander, orange, yoghurt, cheese, garlic, dark chocolate, black mustard seeds, mushrooms, turmeric, and Kashmiri garlic -- which can help one boost their immunity naturally.
- One can also take Vitamin D supplements available at medical stores, however, it is advisable to consult a physician before consuming medical supplements.
Consumption of Vitamin D rich foods
Have two cloves of garlic or 4-5 cloves of Kashmiri garlic early in the morning on an empty stomach, and after dinner.
A tiny bit of dark chocolate once a day is also a good source of Vitamin D.
Having mushrooms once a week will help balance vitamin D levels in one's body. One should try and include bajra or ragi roti in meals as well, to quicken the process of upping the vitamin level.
Consumption of black mustard seeds and half a tablespoon of turmeric powder are helpful to boost vitamin D levels.
Can too much Vitamin D be harmful?
Strangely enough, one cannot get too much Vitamin D from the sun but can overdo the supplements causing various problems. Vitamin D toxicity is, thankfully, quite rare but it can lead to hypercalcemia symptoms of which are: nausea, increased thirst and urination, and poor appetite.
Fret not, and try to lead a more natural way of life by eating seasonal foods and home-cooked meals, and being active in day-to-day life. These simple practices will keep the body and mind fit.