The Scoop on Vitamin D
As cold and flu season approaches, peak immune system functioning is crucial to prevent illness. Research shows that vitamin D plays an essential role in immune health and protection against viral infections. Sun exposure is our primary source of vitamin D, so levels often drop significantly in winter due to diminished sunlight and increased indoor time. Use the following tips to ensure your body receives ample amounts of vitamin D this season!
Foods Rich in Vitamin D
To get vitamin D in the sun-starved winter months, eat foods fortified with or rich in vitamin D. The best sources are fatty fish like salmon, tuna or trout. Just a small 4-ounce serving of salmon offers 265% of our daily recommended allowance of this critically important vitamin. Eating 2.5 servings of salmon weekly provides all of the vitamin D we need. Tuna, which has a long shelf life, is also great for featuring in quick, easy meals, like our Open-Faced Cheddar Tuna Melt. Incorporating more fish into your diet gives you an extra dose of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which also boosts the immune system. For vegetarians or those who dislike fish, drinking three cups of fortified milk daily or adding more mushrooms, pork or yogurt to your diet increases vitamin D levels. Eggs and fortified foods like dairy products, cereals and orange juice are also good sources.
Vitamin D Supplements
If you have difficulty getting daily sun exposure or increasing your intake of vitamin D-rich foods, supplements are an effective way to get the necessary vitamin D. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, the recommended daily intake of vitamin D is 600 units for those 1-70 years of age and 800 units for those over 71. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning the body has a hard time getting rid of it if you take too much.
Consult with a qualified healthcare provider for personalized advice on what vitamin D supplements are best for you and more tips on maintaining a healthy balance of vitamin D all season long!