Bloating, swelling and gut problems have often been associated with poor diet (too much salt, not enough water), but a new study from the British Medical Journal reveals that the solution, as well as the problem, has been right in front of us all along: vitamin D.
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Within the 12-week study, researchers found that 82 percent of participants with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)—a chronic functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder that plagues 10–15 percent of westerners—weren’t getting enough vitamin D, and even those who were taking a probiotic regularly still experienced some digestive discomfort if they weren’t getting enough of the vitamin.
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So how do we get more of it? A few ways. First, consider swapping in some vitamin-rich foods. Fatty fish (think salmon, mackerel, tuna), eggs, natural grains, and portobello mushrooms are all great sources. Secondly, step outside! The sun is another great source of this must-have vitamin, and according to New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD, all it takes is five minutes of non-sunscreen sun exposure to produce enough vitamin D. Anything more than five minutes, however, should be coupled with a sunscreen that will help you reap the benefits while shielding against damage.