Eating to boost your vitamin D level
Wednesday 26 September 2012
When the sun is nowhere to be seen, you can top up your vitamin D intake with your food choices...
We’ve all heard that sunlight is the best source of vitamin D – you may even have heard it referred to as ‘the sunshine vitamin.’ So with the current dull weather and distinct lack of sunshine, it could be a good idea to make sure your diet is full of foods to ensure you have sufficient levels.
Knowing where to begin can seem difficult, but subtle changes to your day-to-day eating pattern could make a big difference to your health and wellbeing. Vitamin D is essential for bone health, aids fertility and it has even been linked to lowering the risk of mental health problems in children. Apparently, those with the highest levels of the ‘sunshine vitamin’ have a 10 per cent lower risk of developing the mental health problem.
Here are some key sources of the wonder vitamin:
These include mackerel and tuna. Oily fish is great for keeping your hair, skin and nails in tip-top condition. Taking cod liver oil capsules is a great way to boost your intake of vitamin D if you don’t like the taste of fish.
Eggs are a good source of iron, as well as vitamin D. Have your eggs with a glass of orange juice (or other vitamin C source) to increase iron absorption.
Dairy products such as yoghurt are a great source of vitamin D. Dairy products can also be high in fat though, if you are watching your calorie intake.
Fortified fat spreads
Certain spreads are fortified with vitamin D, making it easier to increase your intake.
It may also be a good idea to introduce a vitamin supplement into your daily diet.
If you’re lacking vitamin D, symptoms are usually subtle – unless in extreme cases – and can range from pain, fatigue, muscle weakness, depression and hormonal imbalances. Vitamin D is essential because it regulates calcium and phosphorous in the blood. It also plays a role in preventing and treating illness.
Not only that, but some studies have indicated that vitamin D can be associated with weight loss. For instance, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that overweight people lose more weight when their vitamin D levels are given a boost. Thirty eight obese men and women were placed on a diet programme and those whose vitamin D levels were increased lost more weight than those who simply stuck to the diet plan.
If you suspect your levels of vitamin D are low, you could ask your GP for a blood test, as well as increasing your levels of vitamin D through the above food choices. In the meantime, we’ve got our fingers crossed the sun will come out again soon. Roll on, spring!