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Nutrition Nugget: Vitamin D

Nutrition Nugget: Vitamin D

by Sarah Whitson, RD

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found naturally in a few foods and is added to many other foods, and we can also get Vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and is good for our bones because it promotes bone growth. Without enough Vitamin D, our bones can become brittle, thin, or misshapen. Vitamin D is also anti-inflammatory and helps support immune health, muscle function, and brain activity. It also may help boost mood, increase weight loss, and fight certain diseases such as multiple sclerosis and heart disease.

Our skin makes Vitamin D in the presence of sunlight, but the amount can vary based on the time of day, season, and latitude you live in, as well as your skin pigmentation. Many people don’t get enough Vitamin D from the foods they eat, and with the rise of sunscreen use to protect from us skin cancer, many people are also not getting much Vitamin D from the sunlight. As we head into the winter months, it is important to ensure that we are not deficient in Vitamin D. Ask your doctor to run a blood test to check your Vitamin D levels. Supplements are available if needed.

Want to increase the Vitamin D in your diet? Go for foods where Vitamin D is naturally found, such as fatty fish (salmon, canned tuna, sardines), beef liver, egg yolks, or shrimp. Vitamin D is also fortified in many other foods, like milk, cereal, yogurt, and orange juice.

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