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The Surprising Benefits of The Sunshine Vitamin (AKA Vitamin D)

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The Surprising Benefits of The Sunshine Vitamin (AKA Vitamin D)

The Surprising Benefits of The Sunshine Vitamin (AKA Vitamin D)

By Lauren Williams

 

Vitamin D is getting a lot of time in the spotlight lately—and for a good reason. Best known for promoting bone health, this nutrient has also been linked to improving muscle strengthfighting depression, and preventing heart disease. Some studies have even shown vitamin D boosts immune system function, which helps your body fight off illnesses caused by viruses and bacteria.

 

There was also a study that showed people with high levels of vitamin D get a boost in their workout routines at the gym and people who go to the gym regularly are more likely to have high vitamin D levels.

 

Getting enough vitamin D can keep your hormone levels in check and may help enhance weight loss and decrease body fat too.

 

Unlike other nutrients, your body can actually make vitamin D. It does this when your bare skin is exposed to the sun. That’s why it’s sometimes referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.” Unfortunately, barriers like cloudy days and too much time indoors can get in the way of this process. This is especially true during cold, snowy winter months. The good news is your body can get part of its vitamin D fix through different foods.

 

VITAMIN D IN FORTIFIED FOODS

 

When you browse the cereal aisle at the grocery store, you’ve probably seen the term “fortified” on several of the boxes. Fortified foods have nutrients added to them—nutrients that the food doesn’t contain naturally. For example, milk is usually fortified with vitamin D, while fruit juices can be fortified with calcium.

 

Some other healthy foods fortified with vitamin D include:

       Whole-wheat breakfast cereals

       Instant oatmeal

       Fat-free and plant-based milk

       Yogurt

       Orange juice

 

ARE FORTIFIED FOODS HEALTHY?

 

The short answer is yes. Fortifying foods is a common practice in the United States. This process has almost completely eliminated several diseases caused by nutrient deficiencies. When choosing fortified foods, remember some of the nutrition guidelines your Farrell’s nutrition coach has shared. Avoid foods high in added sugar, choose low-fat or fat-free dairy products, and aim for foods made with whole grains.

 

CAN YOU GET VITAMIN D FROM WHOLE FOODS?

 

Unfortunately, there aren’t many foods that naturally contain vitamin D. In fact, mushrooms are the only food in the produce aisle that contains this nutrient. Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel are your best bets for natural sources of vitamin D. You can also get a small amount of this vitamin from beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks.

 

THE BEST WAY TO GET ENOUGH VITAMIN D

 

Since sunlight is the main way your body produces vitamin D, experts recommend catching some rays—in moderation. A good guideline is 15 minutes of midday sun exposure at least twice a week. (Pro tip: Standing in front of a window doesn’t count.) It’s also a good idea to eat a mix of foods that naturally contain some vitamin D and foods that have been fortified.

 

Here are some healthy combos to get you started:

       Savory oatmeal made with skim milk and topped with a fried egg and cheese

       Plain Greek yogurt with low-sugar, whole-grain granola

       Salmon with sauteed mushrooms and your favorite veggies

 

Vitamin D is extremely important for your overall health. Even if you follow a healthy diet, you may want to add supplementation like Farrell’s MultiNUTRA 48 to your nutritional regime. MultiNUTRA 48 provides 38% of your daily value of Vitamin D.

 

However, it’s also possible to have too much of a good thing.

 

Make sure you avoid excessive doses and consult your physician prior to using any supplements.


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