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Your Winter BFF, Vitamin D

It was my dermatologist who introduced me to my Verlilux sunlamp.  At an annual check up, I confessed that I spent about 20 minutes a week at a tanning salon during the winter months.  Don’t worry, I wasn’t a Snookie wannabe; I just loved the feeling of the warmth and sunlight that contrasted with the outside wintry gloom.  To reiterate my love for the sun, my high school friends called me Tanna (Tan + Anna).  Luckily, after my appointment, I adopted my doctor’s tips and rid myself of that horrible nickname. Here are some ways to get a happier, healthier winter you by getting your recommended dose of vitamin D, all without the tanning bed.

1. Vitamin D supplement
This one’s a no-brainer.  Vitamin D supplements are available alone or you can take a women’s multivitamin that will also contain your daily requirement of vitamin D. My tip is to try the multivitamin and get all of your recommended vitamins, not just D.

2. Light therapy lamps
Many lights and lamps are on the market nowadays to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, a depressed mood due to a lack of natural sunlight. Light therapy lamps, like the Verilux lamp, mimic the rays of the sun to energize you and provide your body with natural daylight that may not be produced outside. These lamps don’t contain UV rays and are not intended for tanning. Instead, just plug one in on your desk and do your work there.

3. Eat up!
Many yummy staple foods are also high in vitamin D. Salmon, milk and eggs are major sources, as well as mushrooms. Here’s your excuse to go treat yourself to a mushroom omelette at Le Peep! If you are a vegetarian or vegan, spinach and kale are some greens with high levels of vitamin D.

4. Got milk?
Fortified milk is also a great source of vitamin D.  However, not all dairy counts.  Unfortunately, your celebratory post-finals Andy’s will not fill your vitamin D needs.  Milk is easy to slip into your day even if you don’t love to drink it.  Add some to your cereal, smoothies, or even in a tea latte.

Although Evanston winters can get rough with heavy workloads and icky weather, take care of yourself and get your vitamin D to stay energized and focused. The winter blues are a thing of the past with your new BFF, vitamin D!

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Anna Schapiro

Northwestern

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