Winter is the season of colds and flu and we’ve even begun to expect to be affected by either or both during the winter months.
It’s quite often the aches and pains that get to us and make us feel worse. In fact, those aches and pains can be quite debilitating and they keep us in bed.
Amazingly during the summer, we feel remarkedly better, the extreme opposite of winter. Sunlight makes people feel better and they smile more whereas winter people feel more down and less likely to smile.
Besides the sunlight, there is something else that happens in summer and not in winter. When the sun is high in the sky our bodies make lots of vitamin D through absorption through our skin. In the winter even when the sun does shine we don’t get the vitamin D that we need and that’s because the sun is not high enough in the sky for the vitamin D process.
When the sun is too low in the sky your shadow is longer than you are tall. This is me, my shadow is much longer than I am tall. Look at how long my legs are…
The first point to make here is, don’t let this be a reason not to go outside, getting daily fresh air is really important.
You can take vitamin D supplements, but for me, I find them synthetic and also not the easiest for our bodies to digest and extract the vitamin D. When we go with nature’s way everything we need comes in the right proportions.
We can help our vitamin D uptake by choosing food that is rich in it. Following is a list of foods that can help and seeing as you have to eat any way you may as well eat foods that will help your body along with nourishing you and satisfying your appetite.
Note: you don’t have to eat them all, choose the ones you enjoy
Fish which is high in fat such as salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna and even high can be a fantastic source of vitamin D. If you are struggling to reach your daily recommended intake of vitamin D, a 3-ounce salmon fillet contains well over half of the Institute of Medicine’s dietary allowance. WIth 450 international units (IU’s) of vitamin D, it gives you a good start on the recommended intake of 600 IUs.
Fish is also an essential part of any diet looking to increase omega-3 fatty acids and makes a great addition to many meals.
Not just an abundant source of calcium, regularly consuming milk will help you get closer to meeting your daily recommended intake of vitamin D. With 104 IU’s in every 250mL serving, A glass of milk each morning or even just with your cereal will give you a good start to the day. The vitamin D in the milk aids in the absorption of calcium so the nutrients you do consume will not go to waste. If you happen to be intolerant to lactose you can supplement it for the next option to get the right amount of vitamin D.
- Soy Milk
If milk and other dairy products don’t agree with your digestive system, soy beverages and in particular soy milk will make a great substitute. While soy milk may not contain as many IU’s as dairy milk, the 87 IU’s in every 250mL is a great step towards meeting your daily requirements. If consuming soy milk on its own is not your thing, including it with a cup of coffee can be a great way to work it into your diet and consume it regularly. If you are switching from dairy milk to soy, the taste can take some time to get used to but in time you will barely notice the difference.
- Egg Yolk
Containing an abundance of protein and great for a healthy snack, egg yolk also provides a boost to your daily vitamin D intake. With 32 IU’s in each egg yolk, breakfast alone will have you off to a great start to keeping your body rich in vitamin D as well as calcium. Combining your morning eggs with a glass of milk will have you well on track to having the right amount of Vitamin in the morning alone so this all-star breakfast will leave you feeling both satisfied and much stronger throughout the day.
- Fortified Orange Juice
With so few foods containing abundant amounts of vitamin D, efforts have gone towards dissolving the nutrient in beverages such as orange juice. Once again this one is great for those who are unable to consume dairy products as many commercial fortified orange juices also contain calcium. This is another great way to boost both calcium and vitamin D intake in the morning with 50 IU in every 125mL of orange juice. Fortified orange juice is available from most supermarkets are clearly marked on the label that they contain both calcium and vitamin D.
I’m not a fan of fruit juice, I left this in the list in case there are those who don’t like dairy or soy products.
- Fortified Rice
Particularly common in developing countries, fortified rice allows for a cheap way to consume many vitamins and minerals that might not be otherwise available. With rice being the dominant crop in over half the global population, fortification projects have gone a long way to getting much-needed nutrients to impoverished communities. While fortified rice is more commonly consumed in developing countries, it can still be available in more affluent nations however there are far more efficient foods with a higher IU count for vitamin D.
- Fortified Margarine
If you are looking to get a vitamin D boost in your morning toast or with a sandwich, fortified margarine might be the choice for you. With 51 IU’s in every 10 mL fortified margarine can be an easy and simple way to consume the right amount of vitamin D at any time of the day. Fortified margarine has become standard in many countries around the world with many food standards opting for a minimum amount of vitamin D before the food is available for purchase. Not all margarine contains milk products with the main ingredients being vegetable oil and water so some brands may be suitable for those who are lactose intolerant.
I’m not a fan of margarine, opting for butter every time which contains 40 – 60 IU’s of vitamin D
- Canned Fish
Not only does canned fish make a great snack anytime during the day it can also make up the main meal for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Canned fish can vary widely in the IU count of the vitamin D within. With salmon containing the highest count at 557 IU in every 75g (approximately 1 can), which comes close to meeting the entire recommended intake for adults, all the way down to low fat canned tuna containing a mere 36 IU. The higher the fat count of the fish the higher the amount of vitamin D.
These last 3 are quite low on the vitamin D scale but can be used to help you get to your target on 600 IU’s per day.
- Beef Liver
While liver has been known to harbour a wealth of vitamins and minerals compared to some of the other foods on this list it does not stack up as well. With around 16 IU in every 100 grams of raw beef, it still makes for a great addition to dinner at the end of a day if you are still looking to make up that daily recommendation of 600 IUs. Don’t let this discourage you though, beef liver contains many more vitamins which will keep you healthy in many other areas of your well being which is why it still makes a worthy addition to this list.
Cheese can be used in just about anything and not only tastes amazing but can help you towards you vitamin D targets. Containing 6 IUs per 1 ounce serving, cheese makes a great addition to any dish you are eating to keep up your daily intake of vitamin D. While it may seem low in comparison, cheese is nothing something you would want to consume too much of so it makes sense to just have a mere 1 ounce serving with another piece of food containing a much higher amount of vitamin D just to top it off and make sure you are consuming multiple sources of the vitamin.
- Fortified Yogurt
With just 6 ounces of fortified yoghurt, you are able to consume approximately 80 IU of vitamin D. Once again, being fortified, yoghurt does not naturally contain a high amount of vitamin D which is why it is added during the process which doesn’t make it any less a perfect way to meet your daily intake. Yogurt may also be consumed during any meal of the day whether breakfast, a light snack, lunch or even as a dessert following dinner. Giving you plenty of opportunities to make up your daily intake if your other meals weren’t as high in the necessary nutrient.
So if you’re wondering what to look out for that relate to low Vitamin D, here are some signs
- Getting Sick or Infected Often. …
- Fatigue and Tiredness. …
- Bone and Back Pain. …
- Depression. …
- Impaired Wound Healing. …
- Bone Loss. …
- Hair Loss. …
- Muscle Pain.
And check out this link for more details on what to look out for. But don’t panic you are okay, although changing your diet and nutrition sources may have more than an effect on your weight alone. Great food, great nutrients, great results and in areas you weren’t expecting.
May the rest of winter pass smoothly, quickly and cold and flu free