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Sunshine Vitamin May Prevent Heart Disease

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Vitamin D has been called "the sunshine vitamin" because the sun's rays are a primary source for it. Scientists used to believe that vitamin D only strengthened bones and prevented rickets, a disease which deforms bones. But new studies point to a vastly different conclusion. Vitamin D is significantly more important for good health than experts previously believed.

A study was conducted in Austria with 3,258 men and women, most of whom had heart disease. The study found that people are more likely to die if they also have low levels of the sunshine vitamin. During the study's eight years, blood was taken and analyzed every week. 737 people died, with more than half due to heart-related problems. Of this figure, 307 of the test subjects had the lowest levels of vitamin D. Only 103 people who died had the highest levels of the vitamin. The researchers looked at age, physical activity, and other factors. They concluded that people with insufficient levels of the sunshine vitamin were twice as likely to die.

People shouldn't begin popping pills and spending hours and hours in the sun, because both are harmful to good health. However, low levels of vitamin D have definitely been 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 guarantee enough vitamin D hasn't been endorsed yet. But milk, fatty fish, a multivitamin, 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 called "the sunshine vitamin" because...
  2. The study found that people are more likely to die if...
  3. The researchers looked at...
  4. People shouldn't begin popping pills and spending hours and hours in the sun, because...
  5. However, low levels of vitamin D have definitely been...

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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