Eat your Sunshine – Getting Vitamin D Year-Round | By: Jaime Slavin
Summer has come and gone, leaving us with sun-kissed memories. With cozier yet colder days ahead, it is important to think about our health, particularly our immunity. Vitamin D, affectionately known as the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’, is essential to our immune system. As November rolls around and we lose even more sunlight due to daylight savings, it is vital for our physical and mental health that we get our Vitamin D in other ways. Physically, Vitamin D assists in the maintenance of strong bones as well as overall immune support. Mentally, Vitamin D has been linked to reducing low moods and mild depression, as well as improving cognitive function.
Thankfully, we do not need to solely rely on the sun for our daily dose of Vitamin D. While the list is not too long, there are food sources that can help us reap in the beneficial boost of Vitamin D.
Wild Sockeye Salmon is an excellent source of Vitamin D. Consuming 2 ½ ounces of this nutritious fish gives you 530-699 IU of Vitamin D. Sockeye salmon eaten freshly cooked or canned will give you a generous dose of Vitamin D. Look for wild salmon (to avoid farmed fish) and opt for sustainably sourced to protect our waterways so we can continue to have a sustainable resource of this exceptional Vitamin D food.
Egg yolks are a good source of Vitamin D. While they are not nearly as high as salmon (and other fatty fish), they are an easy and convenient way to get some Vitamin D in your life. Many people forgo the yolk, and solely eat the whites of eggs. Embrace the yolk for its many nutritious properties and make sure to select organic, farm fresh (if available) and/or free range.
Sundried Mushrooms are a fascinating and unexpected food that contains Vitamin D due to mushrooms ability to soak up tons of sunshine. If you can get your hands on sundried mushrooms (button, shiitake, cremini) they are delicious when rehydrated and cooked in your favourite risotto or pasta dish. Alternatively, you can buy sundried raw, organic mushroom powder to add into your favourite smoothies or during these colder months: into your hot chocolate!! Mushrooms are a great Vitamin D alternative for vegans and those who have allergies to eggs or fish.
Vitamin D supplements are a great way to substantially increase your vitamin D intake. While I typically suggest food first before opting for a vitamin supplement. If you suspect your levels are low, ask your doctor to test your vitamin D levels. If your blood levels are low, talk with your health care provider about Vitamin D supplements. My favourite is by St. Francis: liquid Vitamin D-for-all. Do not self prescribe supplements, as there are potential risks with over supplementation.
Honourable mentions go to cod liver oil and high-quality fortified dairy or dairy alternatives (look for organic milk sources, preferably goat and sheep milk and/or organic dairy free milk alternatives)
Jaime Slavin, Nutritionist/Dietitian, BASc., MPH., RD.
When food and nutrition intermingle, a sequence of events occur. Our senses awaken to a world in which our taste buds are satiated and our body thrives. This is my plan for you, as I invite you to see how pleasurable and nourishing food can harmoniously co-exist.
She is a nutritionist, registered dietitian, food educator, and an advocate for your health and well-being. Visit: JaimeSlavin.com