Up to 70% of people lack enough Vitamin D to beat the winter blues

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - By this time in the season many people are sick and tired of the lingering winter weather, leaving them craving sunshine and some vitamin d. However, one local dietitian said this is no longer just a case of the winter blues, but rather people's vitamin d deficiency is a year-round problem. "A high percentage of people are deficient, we're not getting outside," said Dietitian Amanda Allen. "The Vitamin D Council put out that the estimated average intake, people aren't getting it." Allen said new studies show up to 70% of people are not getting enough vitamin d.

One way people can be proactive is adding certain foods to help their mood while we wait for Spring. "Of course milk, eggs or even mushrooms may help lift your mood," said Allen. Other foods rich in vitamin d include salmon, herring, sardines, cod liver oil or fish oil, tuna, oysters, shrimp, and egg yolks.

Allen also said people need to push themselves to get outside all year long, no matter the temperatures or a person's age. She said even just ten minutes a day or 30 minutes twice a week could do the trick. "If there's a sunny day take advantage of that," said Allen. "Go outside, go for a walk, go do something with your friends or your family."

Some signs of a vitamin d deficiency could include getting sick often, bone or back pain, depression, bone loss, hair loss and/or muscle pains. Allen said a simple vitamin d test could solve all this and get a smile back on your face.

The winter blues could mean you've been snacking a bit more than usual. Amanda Allen, the Dietitian with Springfield's HyVee, said that's not uncommon. "Whenever we are feeling stressed or depressed, even if we are maintaining a healthful diet, it's pretty normal to go straight to those empty calorie high and sugar foods," said Allen. "Which might feel great in the moment, but you're going to have that quick crash and sometimes that leads to you feeling even worse than what you did before."

Allen gives us a list of five things people can do to help get out of their funk.

1. Load up your grocery carts and plates with fruits and vegetables.
2. Add healthy fats to your diet, specifically Omega 3 Fatty Acids. "There are several studies linking Omega 3s to uplifting your moods," said Allen. "You can get that from fish, flax oil, chia seeds, and sources like that."
3. Treat yourself to some chocolate in moderation. "Dark Chocolate is the way to go," she said. "At least 70% cocoa, there are polyphenols that can uplift your mood."
4. Add vitamin d rich foods, especially while we wait for Spring's arrival.
5. Lastly, people need to listen to their gut. "It really has a large effect on how our whole system is working," said Allen of being conscious of your gut health. "Keeping in mind a healthful diet to help with gut health, but also prebiotoc and probiotoc foods and even talking to your doctor about possibly taking a probiotic supplement."