A Guide to Vitamin D for Muslim Women
Vitamin D is the only one in the vast group of vitamins which isn’t available in any food that we eat on a regular basis. Vitamin D is obtained by sunlight on the skin. With all of the media coverage about the dangers of too much sun and sunburns, (which, as Muslim women we didn’t have to worry about, right?) there was never much emphasis on just how essential it is that the skin be exposed to sunlight in order for the body to receive the daily recommended amount.
So just what does this vitamin D do for us? Why is it so important? Well, vitamin D helps to control how much calcium your body absorbs from the foods you eat. Most of the calcium gets directed towards teeth and bones to make them strong. However, our body also needs calcium to send messages to the nerves and muscles, such as the heart muscles, so it functions properly. This is where the D vitamin steps up to the job of ensuring there is always enough calcium in the blood in order for these tasks to be performed.
Vitamin D has other jobs as well. It plays a large role in keeping the immune system functioning properly, and research is starting to show that it may be a contributing factor in the reduction of cancer risks; particularly colon cancer.
So yes, vitamin D is very important. In reality, the amount of time that most people have to spend in the sun to receive a sufficient dose of the D vitamin is extremely small, and just a few minutes a day will be sufficient and not have any adverse effects from the amount of ultra-violet light received.
There’s only one problem. How are Muslim women wearing salwar kameez and hajib most, if not all of the time, supposed to get enough vitamin D to stay healthy? Even though for most people it only takes a few minutes a day, we don’t get enough sun on our faces alone to even reach that small amount.
Even though the majority of vitamin D is received by the body through exposure to sunlight, we do have other alternatives. Some people will choose to go to a tanning salon, since they can have privacy in their booth, and no need to worry about anyone seeing them in any immodest way. If you choose this method, it’s very important to supplement your diet with antioxidants. Some recommended ones are astaxanthin and Berry Green, both which can be found at your local health food store.
Neglecting to do this could result in you suffering from tissue damage due to burning. However, if you boost your levels of antioxidants, your skin will be healthier and adapt to the ultraviolet rays without burning.
Another option you may want to consider is taking vitamin D supplements. These can be purchased at your local pharmacy, and you don’t need a prescription for them. If you’re unsure of the different types on the shelf, simply ask your pharmacist to come and help you choose the one which is best suited to your needs.
If neither of these two choices are a fit for you, the next best alternative for you to get enough vitamin D in your diet is to take a tablespoon of cod liver oil every day. It might not sound like the most tasteful alternative, but amazingly enough cod liver oil is almost tasteless. You can even find mint or orange flavored cod liver oil at your local health food store. This might make it a little easier for you. But remember, it’s still oil, and might take some time to get used to the texture. It’s definitely worth it in the long run however, as it boosts your vitamin D levels as well as help to fight against some chronic diseases.
Finding sources of vitamin D can provide you with healthier bones, tissues and blood. You’ll be giving yourself a fighting chance towards the prevention of cancer, depression and gum disease. You’ll find that any wounds you have will heal quicker, and your mood will be that much better too!