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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Vitamin D - do You get enough Vitamin D?

One of the things I love the most about blogging is all the learning I receive. I had intended to do a quick post on Vitamin D and I have been reading all sorts of different posts explaining how important this one vitamin is.

Health Benefits of Vitamin D

There are many reasons to stock up on foods containing vitamin D. Health benefits of the vitamin include:
  • The prevention of chronic diseases such as many forms of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension.
  • The protection and lubrication of your bones, teeth and hair.
  • The regulation of cellular growth and healthy cell activity
  • Overall reduction of the inflammatory response, a condition known to cause many chronic diseases, from cancer to diabetes to obesity.
  • Protection against adult osteoporosis
  • Reduction in the risk of breast cancer in perimenopausal women
  • Significant reduction in the occurrence of prostate cancer in African-American men 
  • Did you also know that when your vitamin D levels are low it increases your chance of catching a cold or flu virus? Vitamin D plays a huge role in maintaining a healthy immune system. 

Best Source of Vitamin D
So, now that you know how important vitamin D is you may be wondering just HOW to go about getting you some? The best way is through exposure to the sun. Ten minutes for fair skinned people to as much as an hour and a half of sunlight two or three times a week for darker skinned people should be sufficient to produce adequate vitamin D.  
You see, normally, our body takes in Vitamin D in the form of sun-synthesis through the skin. But in our modern times, where many of us spend countless hours inside our actual exposure to the sun is limited. This fact may be a principle cause of many ailments, including depression. For this reason, it is extremely important to have a diet high in Vitamin D.

Which foods naturally contain Vitamin D?

Surprisingly few foods contain vitamin D -- unless it's added to the food. That's because your body is built to get vitamin D through your skin (from sunlight) rather than through your mouth (by food). But once your body has enough, it doesn't matter whether you got it through your skin or through your stomach.
There are three vitamin D super foods:
  • Sockeye Salmon (especially wild-caught)
  • Mackerel (especially wild-caught; eat up to 12 ounces a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are low in mercury)
  • Shiitake mushrooms
Other food sources of vitamin D include:
  • Cod liver oil (warning: cod liver oil is rich in vitamin A; too much may be bad for you)
  • Tuna canned in water
  • Herring
  • Catfish
  • Sardines canned in oil
  • shellfish
  • Beef or calf liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese
There are many foods fortified with vitamin D but I wanted to high light the naturally occurring ones! 

All of this information because I cooked beef liver today for the very first time.  Yes, and while it wasn't a huge success it wasn't the failure I expected.

I decided to share that adventure with you in a separate post on liver - this one is getting LONG!

So tell me - what is your favorite way to prepare Vitamin D rich foods?

How do you get more sunshine?
(I drive with the sunroof open and my windows down and my shirt hiked up over my belly (when no one else is in the car) in order to get some easy rays.)

Linked to Mrs. Jenny Matlock's AlphabeThursdays and Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday.


    1. Thanks for the "D" word information! I really only thought about Vitamin D in our fortified milk. It's nice to know some other sources. (But I do think I will skip the liver):)

    2. Thanks goodness for cheese. Otherwise my family wouldn't be getting enough Vitamine D according to your list. Scary, yeah?
      Thanks for that good information!

    3. That's one of the reasons I spent 2 weeks in Egypt taking sunshine ! While here in Belgium fall has started and winter is coming !

    4. That was very helpful, thank you for sharing this excellent information.

    5. something else to know... ORGANIC Cage Free Eggs (where the chickens actually see sunlight and roam around?) have SIX times more vitamin D than regular eggs. And not likely to carry disease, either!

    6. In Texas we get plenty of sun and therefore lots of Vitamin D! Also take it as a supplement with calcium! Both very important for women! Great info...thanks for this Letter 'D' post!

    7. I need to add some more of these foods into our diet. Thanks for the list.

    8. I take a vitamin D supplement every day because I have some annoying bone loss in my spine (it's tough to get old), but thanks for the reminder!



    9. Alison - liver, I think is a food you need to learn to like. At least I hope I learn!
      Stef - there are lots of fortified foods and I bet your kids get out in the sun too!

    10. I take vitamin D daily ... and i love letting the sun in ... but liver ... dont get me started ...

    11. RMW - taking the supplements is wonderful - and I am sure getting outside at your beautiful home helps too! It does sometimes stink to get older!

    12. I started taking 1,000 mg. per day a few months ago because I don't spend time in the sun.


    13. I live in Arizona. I get lots of sunshine vitamin D every single day, just running errands! I love it!

    14. Oh my! Thanks for all the info about Vitamin D! I live in Florida and love to get Vitamin D from the sunshine! I am now following you on GFC. Stop by the farm and follow back when you get a chance!

    15. This is so timely for me because my mom has osteoporosis, and needs more vit D. However, the doctors have her completely convinced that she can only get it from a pill. I can't even get her to sit outside for ten minutes a day. I'll be printing this out. Thanks you, sweets.

    16. Cheese, of course. But then again, I live in AZ. So it's not hard for me.
      Thanks for the encouraging words about impending grandmotherhood.

    17. Great post!

      I struggle with this in the winter when it's so endlessly dark here. I didn't know liver was a good source of vitamin D, so maybe I'll have to eat it more often!

    18. I didn't realize there was so many natural food sources of vitamin D. We get a lot of sunshine here but I do take a liquid soluble vitamin D every single morning in combination with other supplements.

      I can tell when I skip it for sure!

      Thanks for this informative stop on Alphabe-Thursday.

      You surprised me with a lot of valuable information.

      Thank you for linking.


    19. A couple of months ago, I visited a friend and we ate liver cooked in a sweet and sour sauce. It was beautiful!

    20. H- that sounds delicious. I am all about eating it in different ways!