There's one simple thing you can do to dramatically reduce your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome all at once.

Get outside a little more.

Researchers examined data on 100,000 middle-aged and elderly people from 28 studies that looked at vitamin D levels along with these all-too-common conditions.

They found that people with the highest levels of vitamin D had a 33 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease, 55 percent lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, and 51 percent lower risk of metabolic syndrome, according to the study published in the journal Maturitas.

Most of us are badly deficient in this essential nutrient... largely because we've simply stopped getting the necessary sunlight that allows our bodies to manufacture it. So if you're making the changes needed for a healthier lifestyle, add some more time in the great outdoors to the list--your body needs the sun.

The researchers in this study recommend 30 minutes of sunshine twice a week--with no sunblock.

Let's take a moment to applaud these researchers--because that's a pretty gutsy recommendation in a time when everyone's being taught to shrink from the sun.

Of course, there are other ways to boost vitamin D. And one of the tastiest ones is to eat more fatty fish. One serving of wild, fresh salmon can give you up to 1,000 IU of the sunshine vitamin--in addition to plenty of omega-3 fatty acids. If you don't like seafood, get your fins on a fish oil supplement instead.

And just about everyone should be taking a vitamin D3 supplement. They're inexpensive and easy to find.