I can think of about a million reasons to get outside and bask in the sunlight every day -- but if you're looking for one of your own, how about this: It can slash your risk of a stroke.

The latest research shines some light on stroke risk, with one new study finding that people who live in the nation's sunniest climates have a 60 percent lower risk of stroke than those who live up north.

The one exception to the rule: The so-called "stroke belt" of the south, where obesity and diabetes -- both big-time stroke risk factors of their own -- are higher than they are in the rest of the country.

In other words, all the sun in Georgia won't undo the ravages of a double-extra-large waistline.

But if you're slim, trim and living in Minnesota or Maine, you don't have to lower your latitude to lower your stroke risk -- because you can harness the real power of sunlight anywhere on earth.

All you need is some vitamin D, as another new study shows again how the sunshine vitamin is the real reason for that lower stroke risk.

In this one, researchers found that people who had the highest intake of D were 11 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those with the lowest.

If that sounds a little... well... unimpressive, that's because the new study didn't offer a real look at D levels. Instead, the researchers used food frequency questionnaires.

Most people don't get the bulk of their D from food anyway.

Once you look at real levels of D, you see real benefits -- with other studies showing that low D can boost your stroke risk by up to 50 percent.

If that's not enough of a benefit, other studies have shown that vitamin D can help protect your heart, bones and brain and slash your risk of colds, the flu, diabetes, allergies and even cancer.

You can let your body make its own D by stepping out into the sunlight, but unless you live in a warmer climate don't count on that alone. Everything from your clothing to the seasonal angle of the earth can impede D production -- so take a supplement to make sure you get what you need.