Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Why are you deficient in Vitamin D?

Is it not ironical that most of us are deficient in the only vitamin in the world that is available for free? The Internet is flooded with articles about the risks of Vitamin D deficiency and ways to increase Vitamin D levels in your body.

Let’s identify the root cause and figure out the reasons why are we becoming deficient, even when some of us live in places that have more than 300 days of sunshine in a year.  The obvious answer is that we are not exposed to sunlight as much as we need to be. This is a no brainer and anyone can guess this. However, insufficient exposure to the sun is not the only reason for the Vitamin D deficiency epidemic.

  1. Even when we are exposed to sunlight, we tend to use sunscreens. Thanks to cosmetics industry and our society, we are more conscious about our beauty and complexion than our health.
  2. We don’t consume sufficient amount of good fats. Since Vitamin D is fat soluble, good fats are essential to absorb the vitamin D from the sunlight. French fries and burgers don’t count as good fats. On the contrary, cheap refined oils like canola, corn, soybean oil etc are proven to be detrimental to health. Since such products are marketed and packaged well, we tend to fall for those products. What is needed is consumption of good fats like ghee , cold pressed traditional  oils like coconut, sesame, mustard and groundnut.

  3. In our goal of becoming ‘health conscious’, we follow what our personal trainers and newspapers say, ‘Eat only egg white and not the yolk’. In fact, some of the items deemed to be villains like egg yolks, butter and ghee actually contain the much-needed Vitamin D.
  4. Our unhealthy eating habits causes Bloating, indigestion, constipation and other digestion issues which leads to Vitamin B12 deficiency which subsequently results in Vitamin D deficiency as well.
  5. We are not eating our greens. All green leafy vegetables are rich in Vitamin K. Deficiency in Vitamin K leads to Vitamin D deficiency . Also, anaemia or iron deficiency can lead to Vitamin D deficiency as Iron Is needed to activate enzymes for Vitamin D activation. Drinking green smoothies? Read this.
  6. Most people who are deficient in Vitamin D are actually deficient in Magnesium.

    Magnesium and Vitamin D are ‘Made for Each Other‘ and one cannot function without the other .

    Read this to know about Magnesium and how to improve your Magnesium intake. 

What Doesn’t work?

  1. I get sufficient sunlight when I am in my car and at my desk (in the comfort of Air condition):  Sorry , but glass blocks all the UV- B rays that is needed to absorb Vitamin D.
  2. 20 minutes of sunshine is enough for me : That depends on your skin colour. Dark skinned people (like me and most Indians) are created that way to ensure we can live safely in places with lots of sunshine. Looking at this the other way, if your skin colour is dark, you NEED to spend more time in the sun to absorb Vitamin D.
  3. I am having Vitamin D fortified milk, orange juice and cereals: The Vitamin D in milk and cereals are in negligible amounts. Furthermore, most of it is synthetic and might aggravate health issues
  4. I am taking Vitamin D supplements – Even scientists don’t know what the ideal amount of Vitamin D supplement should one take to avoid toxicity, leading to calcification of arteries, kidney stones etc. Since it is only fat soluble, consumption of higher amounts tends to get accumulated in the body.

 

When we are deficient in a Vitamin, supplementing just that vitamin will not help. We need to understand that unlike a mechanical body like a car, where we can fill in oils and fuels whenever needed,  there is a delicate balance of nutrients needed for human body to function optimally.   Focusing only on weight loss and trying out fancy diets posted in social media and magazines will only hamper the delicate balance.

 

Does this post echo what you go through? Let us know by leaving a comment.

 

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Lifestyle, Uncategorized

Significance of Thiruvathira- In This Era

Was Thiruvathira only meant to get an ideal husband and to increase the longevity of the marriage or was there more health aspects to it which none told us?

Thiruvathira reminds most of us of only an art form, not a festival or celebration. A festival for ladies that originated at a time when there was no other form of entertainment, it had it’s own dance and involved bathing in ponds/river and eating special cuisine. Thiruvathira is celebrated during the full moon  of Dhanu/Margazhi month ( Dec 15th- Jan 15th) which also happens to be the longest full moon night. The moon rays at this time of the year are believed to be beneficial for the pineal glands , hormones and for meditation.

Women folk don’t eat rice on this day and have wheat, millets, fruits and other food.  In addition to these, a special dish called puzhukku ( a curry with lentils , all local and seasonal tubers such as yams, sweet potato, koorka, chembu /taro root etc is made. Apart from this, a koova kali (kind of halwa) is made out of arrow-root, jaggery ghee and coconut. In some communities, it is also made out of rice, jaggery , ghee and moong. Remember the winter essential diet?

All these foods are in sync with the season – Winter.

To make it more appealing to the current generation, this can be called as a comprehensive wellness program that  increases physical activity in an enjoyable form like dance, swings, swimming/bathing in ponds/rivers, early morning walks to temple and completes your micronutrient profile by including lots of seasonal and local vegetables, includes ghee and jaggery which are essential for winter. These dishes also have the perfect amount of starch/carbs in the form of tubers and are superfoods for hormonal balance  and fertility.

The medicinal flowers (dasapushpam) used are for aroma therapy and the betel leaf chewing increases iron and calcium stores in the body,  improves digestive & reproductive health and metabolism, and is also an aphrodisiac .

Why to go and spend money in resorts and spas when such festivals are celebrated which takes seasonal  nutritional food, physical activities, spirituality and much more into account?

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