Editor’s Note: This website is not designed to, and should not be construed to, provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion or treatment to you or any other individual, and is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional care and treatment. Always consult a health professional about before trying out new home therapies or changing your diet.
A couple of years ago, I became unwell.
The winter arrived, and I felt depleted. Some days, I felt too tired to walk. I ached all over and became low. This is not normally like me. I am an outgoing person and love to get involved with the community—but I had become somewhat of a hermit. I withdrew into my home, and I was living in the dark 24/7.
I’d moved from the south to the north of England where the nights draw in earlier. On reflection, it was probably my body adjusting to the new cycle of night and day. My hair became very thin, and when I took a shower, it would fall out in handfuls.
I did some research—and discovered I could have a vitamin D deficiency. After visiting my doctor to test my blood, it was confirmed that my vitamin D levels were indeed low.
How do you know if your ailments are cyclical?
Sometimes we are so busy we fail to see that our general well-being holds a pattern within us. Instead, we grab some painkillers or skip a day from work hoping it will pass. But natural pain is telling us that we need to pay closer attention to our inner harmony. When I say “natural” I mean a pain that is not self-inflicted. This is when we should resort to self-remedy together with visiting a doctor. A balanced diet is essential for self-maintenance.
During the darker months, we are more prone to vitamin D deficiency. You are able to have your blood tested to see if your D levels are normal, and whether you need a supplement.
Vitamin D is best absorbed with plenty of natural daylight. Some recent studies show that over-protective parents who wrap their children’s skin up against sunlight, may actually be doing more harm than good. We need at least 20 minutes of natural light exposure per day.
With an increase in skin cancers caused by the sun’s harmful rays, we are caught between right and wrong. But provided we protect our skin with the correct sunscreen and stay in the shade—sunlight and daylight are essential for our well-being—albeit in small doses.
Vitamin D is essential for our skin and bones plus it aids our immune system.
If you are a vegan, you may lack in vitamin D and require a supplement during the darker cycles of nature. Avocado and broccoli are great sources but may not be enough during the winter.
Apart from daylight, here’s some foods vitamin can be found in :
• Cod liver oil (warning: cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A; too much may be bad for you)
• Tuna canned in water
• Sardines canned in oil
• Milk or yoghurt—regardless of whether it’s whole, non-fat, or reduced fat
• Beef or calf liver
• Egg yolks
If your vitamin D levels are adequate, other reasons for feeling low during winter can still be caused by lack of daylight. I recently purchased a day lamp. The lamp provides a vibrant room light, “tricking” us to believe the day is brighter. Day lamps are said to help aid winter blues and/or symptoms of ill health that seem increasingly prevalent during the darker season.
If you think you may suffer from depression or other mental illnesses or a lack of sleep during certain times of the year—visit a doctor and check your body’s cyclical nature as many ailments are affected by our surroundings and climate. We can discover our own personal needs for better health and avoid anti-depressants and other pharmaceutical products.
People with darker skin are more prone to vitamin D deficiency and winter blues. The further north we live the more prone we are to vitamin D deficiency. Darker skin needs more sunlight than Caucasian skin, in most cases.
Although a lack of Vitamin D is certainly not limited to skin colour alone. Other factors to consider are relocation to a place that has less daylight than you are used to.
Many foods that are seasonal to our region are not promoted strongly enough in our supermarkets. We become baffled and often greedy by the vast choices of cardboard-clad world foods.
I also believe that our heritage and culture are imperative to provide “soul food.” I am of Irish descent, and my family all tend to enjoy potatoes and Guinness. Two habitual pleasures of the Irish folk! I am a firm believer that we are what we eat. Making adjustments can improve our health before we need to resort to the pharmaceuticals of today.
We should enjoy our cultural instincts and healthy traditions of eating. What we truly yearn for is often what we need most. So let’s forget sugar and stimulants and go with nature. It will seldom let us down.
Balance, moderation, and common sense.
Author: Tiffany Harper
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy editor: Travis May
Social editor: Nicole Cameron