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A Case for More Vitamin D

Wearing SPF may block some of the sun’s vitamin D—that’s why supplementing is key.

Going off birth control may affect more than your fertility—if the contraceptive has estrogen, your vitamin D levels could drop, suggests a recent study. Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences took blood samples from women ages 23 to 34 and found that those who weren’t using birth control or were using a form without estrogen had vitamin D levels that were 20 percent lower than women taking estrogen-based pills. “We don’t yet have an explanation for the findings, so further research is needed,” says lead study author, Quaker Harmon, M.D., Ph.D. If you’ve stopped birth control to get pregnant, ask your ob-gyn to check your levels. Vitamin D is integral to the development of a baby’s bones and teeth, so it’s important that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive get enough. The recommended daily value is 600 IU for all healthy women, but many experts say that’s too little. Be sure to discuss dosing with your doctor.

A Healthy Dinner—in Minutes!

When the kids are chowing down on chicken fingers and you want more sophisticated fare, reach for an EatingWell frozen entrée. Our sister magazine’s new line includes eight guilt-free takes on comfort foods, including Vermont Cheddar Mac & Cheese made with whole-grain cavatappi and Creamy Pesto Chicken made with 9-grain orzo. Each dish has fewer than 350 calories, at least 13 grams of protein, and 1 cup of veggies. $3.49 to $4.49; available at most large supermarkets

Your Fitness Resolution, Take Two

If you rang in 2017 with the goal to exercise more but haven’t followed through, you can get back on track with these tips from health-motivation expert Kelly Morrow-Baez, Ph.D.

  • Go slow at first. “Our mind is designed to steer us away from pain, so if you do too much too fast and it hurts, you’re less likely to stick with it,” says Dr. Morrow-Baez. Start by power walking for ten minutes a day. Once that becomes easy, try jogging for half the time.
  • Be introspective. Ask “why” you want this change. Your odds of success are higher if it’s tied to an emotion, like sadness, rather than an idea that can vanish when your resolve wanes, says Dr. Morrow-Baez. If you’re upset you haven’t knocked off the baby weight, use that as motivation to keep going.
  • Stay on schedule. Learning to say “no” to others (including your kids!) can help you say “yes” to your workout plans more often.