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Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin

by Montclarion Feature
Sunlight is the easiest way for the body to absorb Vitamin D.

Sunlight is the easiest way for the body to absorb Vitamin D.
Photo courtesy of abbyladybug (Flickr)

Vitamin D, also known as “the sunshine vitamin,” is essential for a healthy body. Vitamin D maintains strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium and phosphorus and helps regulate blood pressure. Recent claims have been made that vitamin D can also help protect against certain cancers and other chronic conditions.

Vitamin D is unique compared to other vitamins because our skin has the ability to make it from the sun. A 15-minute sun exposure to the face and arms about three times a week is generally recommended to produce the vitamin D needed in the body.

However, in the cold winter months, very few of us are receiving that level of exposure as a result of being bundled up in coats and scarves. Luckily, we can also reach our vitamin D through a variety of healthful foods.

This winter, I encourage you to add some of the following to your diet to ensure a healthy Vitamin D intake.

1. Salmon
Not only is salmon filled with protein and essential omega-3s, it also packs a vitamin D punch. Just half of a sockeye salmon fillet contains enough vitamin D for the entire day.

2. Tuna
One serving of light canned tuna contains 25 percent of the daily recommended value of vitamin D. Try a tasty tuna salad on whole grain bread for lunch for both a vitamin D and protein-packed meal.
3. Milk
Milk and other fortified dairy products (yogurt, cheese — specifically ricotta) offer a fair amount of vitamin D. Just one glass of 1 percent milk offers approximatley 33 percent of the daily need while providing calcium — vitamin D’s partner-in-crime when it comes to maintaining strong bones.

4. Mushrooms
While it may seem like an unlikely source, one cup of chanterelle mushrooms contains about 20 percent of your daily vitamin D needs. Although the amount varies across types of mushrooms, adding some to your next stir-fry is a delicious way to add some important nutrition to your diet.

5. Eggs
Though egg whites are gaining popularity, it is the egg yolk that is packed with important nutrients, including vitamin D. One of the most versatile foods, eggs aren’t just for breakfast. A hardboiled egg to top a salad is a great way to sneak some vitamin D in at lunch.

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