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January 7, 2011

HF – What's the Deal with D?

Healthy Foods

What’s the Deal with D?

by Leanne Ely, CNC

There has been a lot of hype in the news lately about vitamin D deficiencies. Because our lifestyles keep us out of the sun most of the time (remember, our primary source of vitamin D is the sun) and when we are in the sun, we lather on the sunscreen to block those rays. Add to that the lack of sun during the winter months, it’s possible to be deficient in D.

Deficiency Symptoms:

Many people have no symptoms of vitamin D deficiency until complications are present. The symptoms are often mild and difficult to detect. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include bone pain, stooped posture, muscle cramps, weakness and tingling, and a loss of height. A simple blood test can tell you if you’re low in vitamin D as well.

Why Knowing Matters:

Current research suggests that vitamin D deficiency may be linked to the development of osteoporosis, hypertension, depression, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and an increased risk of cancer–yikes!

To combat deficiencies, eating foods high in vitamin D is critical, here are a few to put on your grocery list this week–

  • Fish – One of the best sources for vitamin D. Namely wild salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna. Fish that feed on plankton such as herring and catfish are also good sources.
  • Shiitake & Button Mushrooms – These little fungi love to suck up the little sunlight that they get and therefore are high in vitamin D. These are also high in B vitamins. Look for mushrooms that have been dried in the sun for the best results.
  • Cod Liver Oil – If you can stomach the smell and taste of this stuff it’s well worth it. One teaspoon has a full daily dose of vitamin D.
  • Eggs – Free range, organic, and from a local farm are the best.
  • Supplements – Of course there is always the vitamin supplements. I order from www.SwansonVitamins.com all the time.
  • Sunshine – Ok so it’s not a food but this is still one of the best ways to get your daily dose of D. Weather permitting, get outside and walk, skate, ski, hike, shovel, or just enjoy the winter months by soaking up a few of those wintry sun rays. Just use common sense and don’t stay out there all day long, you can still burn even if it’s cold outside!

A diet rich in vitamin D can help prevent many complications that come from normal wear and tear on our bodies.

So the next time you visit your doctor be sure and ask for a current blood work up that includes your vitamin panel and see where you stand. Knowledge is power.

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