There are a number of readily available foods with vitamin d that will count towards our body's minimum recommended daily amount of 10mcg. However, the only foods that are naturally rich in vitamin d are fish and in particular, oily and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines and herring. Vitamin d is contained to a lesser extent in such things as eggs, liver and margarine as well as a number of fortified foods such as cereals and milk.

Sources of Vitamin d

However, important as these foods are, it is necessary to understand that our bodies get vitamin d in two different ways and that the first and best way comes from natural sunlight, this is why it is sometimes referred to as the 'Sunlight Vitamin'. The ultraviolet rays from the sun will automatically trigger a reaction in our skin and this is what allows our bodies to create this important vitamin naturally.

There are a number of variables that will determine how much vitamin d your body creates such as skin type and age. Younger, fairer skin tends to produce the most vitamin d in the shortest space of time. Nor is it necessary to spend hours in the sunshine to meet our daily needs. Anything from 5 minutes, if you have fair skin, to 20 minutes, if you skin is darker will be enough.

You don't have to strip of either, just by exposing your face and arms a couple of times a week, from late morning to mid-afternoon will be sufficient to enable your body do its stuff. In actual fact, we don't need vitamin d every day as it's what is known as a fat soluble vitamin which means that it can be stored by your body.

What is Vitamin d?

Vitamin d is important in that it helps our bodies to absorb calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth. It also helps regulate our heartbeat and helps our blood to clot. There is also evidence to suggest that it can help in reducing the risk from certain cancers, prostate, colon and breast for example. Our bodies also need more vitamin d as we get older.

Now sadly, not all of us live in a country or have a climate where the sun shines on a regular basis and of course, there are always those dark winter months when your vitamin d levels will naturally fall to their lowest levels. This is the time where eating a diet of foods rich in vitamin d becomes particularly important and it is also worth considering taking a dietary supplement, this can either be a specific vitamin d supplement or even a good multivitamin, to ensure that your body maintains a healthy level. It is also important to understand that too much vitamin d can create its own health problems, so as with any supplement it is important not to exceed the recommended dosage.

Vitamin d deficiency

If our bodies don't get enough vitamin d, in time this can lead to problems such as osteoporosis in adults and rickets in children as well as a condition called osteomalacia which causes weakness in the muscles and bones.

In this day and age, nobody should suffer from a lack of vitamin d. A little bit of sunshine a couple of times a week, a healthy diet containing foods with vitamin d i.e. some oily fish twice a week and if necessary a vitamin supplement will ensure that your body gets all that it needs.

Learn more about the benefits of vitamin d and discover more information about other important vitamins essential to your good health and wellbeing

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