I bet you have all heard of Vitamin D, but did you know that it is a fat-soluble vitamin that can actually be made by the human body (rather than relying on food sources alone)!? Vitamin D may just be one of the most important vitamins for optimal health, but sadly many Americans are Vitmain D deficient. Read on to learn more about the great health benefits of Vitamin D and how to easily increase your intake in a tasty way.
This week’s Nutrients by the Alphabet: Vitamin D
That’s right, in this new series – Nutrients by the Alphabet – you will learn all about important nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants), their health benefits, and easy and delicious ways to get more of the good stuff with a fun recipe to try each week (courtesy of my awesome student-intern from Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School – Shelby Persechino)!
So, what are the health benefits of Vitamin D?
Vitamin D contributes to bone health by playing a role in calcium absorption into the bones. Vitamin D also is partially responsible for maintaining phosphorous levels. Vitamin D enhances our immune system by protecting against the development of autoimmune conditions and common colds. Vitamin D protects against cancer because of its role in the cell life cycle and its ability to block excess estrogen. Not only does Vitamin D protect against cancer, but it also helps fight heart disease since it is involved in regulating blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. Vitamin D can increase insulin sensitivity and decrease inflammation, which contributes to the prevention and management of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. During pregnancy, meeting the RDA of Vitamin D can prevent the development of preeclampsia and food allergies. Having enough Vitamin D in your body can improve our mood, help with concentration, learning and memory, and facilitates hormone regulation. Now doesn’t everyone want more Vitamin D in their life?
So, how much Vitamin D do you need daily and where can you find it?
As previously mentioned, our body can actually make Vitamin D! How cool is that!? Our body gets Vitamin D from the sun and converts sunshine into chemicals that are used by the body. Crazy part is most Americans have a deficiency in Vitamin D. The RDA for Vitamin D is 600 IU / day for adults up to the age of 70, then it is increased to 800 IU/ day for those over 70 years old. The best way to get Vitamin D is from the sun, but you can also consume foods like mushrooms, eggs, salmon, halibut, sardines, tuna, raw milk, eel, carp fish, etc.
Looking for a Thanksgiving dish that is high in Vitamin D and the whole family will love? Here is a gluten free and vegan Green Bean Casserole recipe from “The Pretty Bee”.
Now that’s a perfect, delicious, Vitamin D-rich Thanksgiving dish!
Happy Thanksgiving and have a wonderful week!