Dietitian Janine Albers explains the benefits of Vitamin D in your diet
With winter still droning on, it's very likely most of us are missing the sunshine. But the sun's rays aren't the only thing we're missing, we're losing out on Vitamin D.
"In the winter were not out in the sun and even if we were out of the sun in the wintertime it's not going to do a lot of converting that Vitamin D in the skin so it's important especially for us during those winter months to get adequate Vitamin D." Said Janine Albers, an Avera dietitian at the 26th and Sycamore Hyvee Store.
So instead of laying out for a tan in these cold temperatures you can easily ensure you're getting some Vitamin D from your food choices.
"You find it naturally it eggs. Eggs will have some Vitamin D, salmon will have some Vitamin D." Said Albers.
You can find Vitamin D in just about any of your seafood choices, but just like calcium and other essential minerals, Vitamin D has been fortified into other nutritious products. Most can be found in the dairy aisle.
"We have the fortification of the milk, some yogurts will contain Vitamin D, not all of them so you want make sure you look to see the one that you're getting contains Vitamin D." Said Albers
The daily recommended amount of Vitamin D is 600 international units which is about 6 glasses of milk. If you're allergic or just don't like milk, Vitamin D is also fortified into orange juice, soy milk, and almond milk. Also most cereals are now fortified as well, just make sure you check the label.
"So this one has 25% which would be the same as a glass of milk." Said Albers.
Just like the others, Vitamin D can be supplemented through nutraceuticals. Vitamin D pills and even drops can be bought over the counter. Even with a Vitamin D rich diet, pharmacist Karen Hoffman says there's no harm in supplementing.
"I don't think that's enough for what people need. They're recommending 3000 to 5000 units a day for people so most people aren't getting that in their diet and so they do need to take it in a supplement form if they're not spending enough time in the sun." Said Hoffman.
Vitamin D was first prescribed to prevent osteoporosis and promote bone health, but research shows that isn't the only benefit.
"Vitamin D regulates over 200 genes in our bodies so we know it's important for more than bone health they're doing research on its benefits in regards to our health and it's prevention of certain cancers, auto-immune diseases so we know it's important for various functions in our bodies." Said Albers.
Before you start your own Vitamin D regimen be sure to check with your doctor to discuss what's best for you. Whether it's by a daily pill, or making the right choices in the grocery aisles, getting enough Vitamin D will ensure you're at your healthiest while wait for the snow to melt and the summer sun to arrive.
"It can't hurt you to take Vitamin D, it can only help you." Said Hoffman.
Vitamin D has also shown to boost your immune system so during the cold and flu season it's just as important to add to your diet as it's cousin, Vitamin C. For more information about Vitamin D just call 877-AT-AVERA.
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