Health, Happiness & Vitamin D

Many of us know that swimming in or being near the ocean has an amazing effect on happiness and wellbeing but did you know it actually improves our health?

A study looking at beachside living showed that people living on the coast reported better health. Now while its possible to argue that often people living by the beach may be wealthier and have better access to healthcare, this study showed the greatest health benefits were for lower socio-economic groups.

Studies have shown seaside living to increase the feelings of happiness and wellbeing, reduce stress and encourage physical activity. Time on the beach is also beneficial for boosting your vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is essential for ‘switching on’ the immune system to fight invading pathogens. It is also essential for good mood and hormonal health.

Vitamin D deficiency (which I see every day in clinic) has been linked to worse outcomes in patients with pneumonia. Low vitamin D levels at birth appears to increase the risk of developing lower respiratory infections and wheezing in infancy and early childhood (all soon-to-be mummies should get tested in pregnancy!). Evidence also shows that vitamin D3 may be up to 800% more effective in preventing the flu than other treatments.

Support your vitamin D levels by spending 20-25 minutes unprotected in the sun daily (don’t get burnt!) and by consuming foods such as: sardines and oily fish, organic egg yolk and butter, moderate amounts of full-fat dairy products.

Now I’m off for a soft sand Bondi run in the sun on this amazing day – wish me luck!

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Belinda Kirkpatrick

Belinda Kirkpatrick is an expert Nutritionist and Naturopath in Sydney. She specialises in natural fertility, family and women's health care.
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