The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D health benefits
Thanks to a host of new research on the many health benefits of Vitamin D, the Institute of Medicine raised the suggested daily dose from 200 IU to 600 IU.
Vitamin D has proved to interact with genes inside our cells to regulate abnormal cell growth. This means that Vitamin D is directly involved in protecting the body from a variety of cancers including breast, colon, uterine and prostate among others. This powerhouse vitamin is also indispensable for bone health, as it promotes the absorption of calcium by the bones and helps to defend the body against osteoporosis.
Low Vitamin D levels put the body at risk for many chronic illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, auto-immune disorders and mood disorders. Considering its impressive health benefits, it is concerning that such a large percentage of the population is Vitamin D deficient.
How to boost your daily dose of Vitamin D
Looking for some simple ways to boost your daily dose? Try some of these ideas!
Let the sunshine in. Exposure to sunlight is one of the quickest and easiest ways to improve your intake of Vitamin D. When your skin is exposed to the sun, it produces a hormone we call Vitamin D. Just 15-20 minutes a day is plenty, so don’t overdo it! You don’t want to put yourself at risk for skin cancer by overexposure.
Get fishy. The foods with the highest amount of Vitamin D are fish. Sockeye salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, catfish and sardines and chock full of this super vitamin. A single serving of mackerel will give you 90% of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin D.
Mushroom power. Mushrooms are another rich source of Vitamin D. Dried shitake and button mushrooms have the highest amounts of Vitamin D. “Mushrooms contain a compound called ergosterol that gets converted to vitamin D when exposed to UVB light,” explains Tara McHugh, Ph.D., research leader at the Western Regional Research Center of the Agricultural Research Service. A single serving of sun-dried mushrooms has 100% of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D.
Crack an egg. Eggs are another natural source of Vitamin D. Eating 2 eggs with give you 10% of your recommended daily dose. Free range eggs have the highest nutritional value and are the richest source of Vitamin D.
Get fortified. There are a variety of healthy foods that are fortified with Vitamin D including milk, yogurt, cheese and cereals. Make sure to read labels to find out how much Vitamin D you will consume per serving. A single serving of Cheerios with milk contains 25% of the daily recommended amount of Vitamin D.
Don’t forget to supplement. If your diet falls short on Vitamin D, you can always add a Vitamin D supplement to boost your intake. In fact, a regular multivitamin is a good addition to every healthy diet.