Why Vitamin D?

On dreary winter days, you may notice your mood and energy levels being a little down. This may be the result of a lack of sunlight, which is how your body synthesizes Vitamin D. According to Web MD,

Your body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). You also need vitamin D for other important body functions.

Vitamin D deficiency has now been linked to breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, depression, weight gain, and other maladies. These studies show that people with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower risk of disease, although they do not definitively prove that lack of vitamin D causes disease — or that vitamin D supplements would lower risk.

Very few foods are natural sources of vitamin D. Here are a few:

Shiitake and button mushrooms have vitamin D, although it is significantly less than you should be getting per day. For example, a serving of shiitake mushrooms has about a thirteenth of your daily value.

Fatty fish like salmon (especially wild-caught) and tuna are the best natural sources of vitamin D. A 3oz serving of Sockeye salmon has over 100% of your daily value. Cod liver oil, sardines, mackerel, and swordfish are also great sources (although, swordfish is often contaminated with high levels of mercury, so enjoy it in moderation and avoid it altogether if you’re pregnant).

Egg Yolks
Egg yolks get a bad rap for cholesterol content, but they’re not all bad. In addition to being a great source of protein and vital amino acids, a single egg yolk has 10% of your daily value of vitamin D. So, instead of discarding ALL the yolks for your egg white scramble, consider using one yolk (out of say, 3 or 4 eggs).

There are also several fortified sources of vitamin D. Milk products are often D fortified, because vitamin D aids in calcium absorption. Many breakfast cereals are also fortified, so one way to get your daily dose is to have a bowl of cereal in the morning!

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