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Sunshine Vitamin May Prevent Heart Disease

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Vitamin D has been labeled "the sunshine vitamin" because the sun's rays are a primary source. Scientists once believed that vitamin D had little purpose save to strengthen bones or prevent rickets, a disease which deforms bones. But new studies which have added to the existing body of information point to a vastly different conclusion. Vitamin D proves significantly more vital for good health than ever imagined.

A study conducted in Austria with 3,258 men and women, most of whom had heart disease, were more prone to die if they also had low levels of the sunshine vitamin in their blood. Through the course of the study's eight years, in which blood was tested and analyzed weekly, more than half of the 737 people died from heart-related complications. Of this figure, 307 of the deceased had the lowest levels of vitamin D. Conversely, only 103 people died who had the highest levels of the vitamin. The researchers then adjusted this three-to-one figure according to age, physical activity, and other factors, to conclude the following: people with insufficient levels of vitamin D were twice as likely to die.

People shouldn't begin popping pills, nor should they spend hours and hours in the sun. Both are detrimental to good health. However, low levels of vitamin D have now been indisputably linked to high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. There is also a connection between levels of vitamin D and some forms of cancer. In fact, some scientists believe that the vitamin could hinder the formation of tumors.

A set of guidelines to ensure an adequate amount of vitamin D has yet to be endorsed. But generally, milk, fatty fish, a multi-vitamin, or ten minutes in the sun each day should lead to good health and prevent heart disease until a recommendation becomes available.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Rank It!: What has the greatest health benefits? Rank the choices in order. Remember to support your decisions!

  1. exercise
  2. a class of wine every day
  3. multivitamins
  4. eight hours of sleep every night
  5. a stress-free life

Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.

  1. Vitamin D has been labeled "the sunshine vitamin" because...
  2. But new studies which have added to the existing body of information...
  3. Of this figure, 307 of the deceased had...
  4. Conversely, only 103 people died who had...
  5. In fact, some scientists believe that the vitamin could...

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. How healthy are you? What do you do to stay healthy?
  2. Do you think vitamin D and some sunshine is enough to prevent heart disease? Why/not?
  3. How important is good health? What guidelines would you set to stay healthy? Please explain.
  4. Will you make any lifestyle changes based on this article? Why/not?
  5. Have you ever made any lifestyle changes based on an article or TV program? Why/not?

Google Search: Type "sunshine vitamin" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:

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