How To Boost Your Vitamin D This Winter
With winter fast approaching and the days getting shorter and darker, now is the time to think about whether you’re getting enough vitamin D. Most of us know that our main source of Vitamin D is sunlight but many forget how important this powerful nutrient is to our bodies when winter rolls around. Jessica Andersson is here to shed some light on why it’s so important to add more Vitamin D to your diet…
Why do we need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D has powerful effects on several systems throughout your body. It helps to regulate kidney function, has been linked to increased lung and immune health and it is essential for strong bones, teeth and muscles.
According to national surveys in the UK, approximately 1 in 5 people have low vitamin D levels. This deficiency can cause tiredness, low mood and has also been linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder otherwise known as S.A.D which causes symptoms of depression throughout the winter months. Low levels of Vitamin D can also cause muscle pain and increase the risk of musculoskeletal health issues such as rickets.
How much Vitamin D should I aim to have each day?
The recommended daily amount is 10 micrograms (400IU) for those over the age of 11. This amount is hard to get through diet alone, which means it’s a good idea to consider taking a supplement during the winter months – especially if you’re vegan or vegetarian.
How do I know if I am getting enough Vitamin D?
Although vitamin D deficiency is common and can have a big impact on your quality of life, the symptoms are often very subtle so they can be hard to spot. Common symptoms include: muscle pain, fatigue, depression, getting ill regularly. And on the more extreme end of the scale: hair loss, bone pain and osteoporosis. If you think you might be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, it’s always a good idea to ask a healthcare professional for advice.
5 foods to help boost your Vitamin D
Not only is salmon delicious and full of healthy omega 3 fats, but a 140g portion also provides 10.9 micrograms of vitamin D. That’s your recommended daily intake taken care of in one delicious meal! Speaking of which, try our Sweet Chilli Salmon With Sesame Pak Choi for a simply scrumptious salmon supper.
Another flavourful fishy addition to our list of Vitamin D boosting foods, mackerel provides 11.9 micrograms of Vitamin D in a single 140g portion. That’s more than your recommended daily intake and so it definitely deserves a place on your dinner table. Try our 10 Minute Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree this week!
Not the heaviest hitter of the bunch, but still worth a mention, eggs are loaded with good fats, minerals, high-quality proteins and they also contain, you guessed it – Vitamin D! One egg (more specifically the yolk) provides about 1.8 micrograms of Vitamin D. If you’re looking for more ways to fit eggs into your diet our Crispy Pork Belly Ramen recipe with perfectly boiled eggs is one of our favourite winter warmers!
In case you needed further proof of how amazing mushrooms are (especially baked in the oven with a little garlic butter) here is that proof: mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D. Mind blown. Mushrooms synthesize vitamin D when exposed to UV light in much the same way humans do. For this reason, only mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light are a good source of Vitamin D. It is important to note that mushrooms produce Vitamin D2 which may not be as effective in boosting your health as the Vitamin D3 which animals produce. Still, mushrooms are a fantastic source of Vitamin D2. Some varieties contain up to 2,300 IU per 100-gram serving — well above your RDI. Get mushrooms on the menu this week with our Cheesy Mushroom Burger With Pickled Shallot Chips.
Some foods have vitamin D added to them. These ‘fortified’ foods include some kinds of margarine, breakfast cereals, bread, milk, orange juice and white flour. Check the label to be sure.
And there you have it! Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be ready to take on winter! If you’re looking for more ways to improve your health check out our blog on Food That Fights Off Flu (And The Winter Blues) or if you’re having trouble getting a good night’s rest, learn more about the link between diet and sleep in our blog Is What You Eat Affecting Your Sleep?