The nights are drawing in and the temperature's cooling - autumn is on the way, and with it the need to start thinking about our health in the cooler months. I will be talking about different things that we need to consider as autumn approaches, but today I wanted to highlight vitamin D.
Vitamin D is required for many reactions in the body, but is especially supportive of bone health. Vitamin D deficiency is thought to be a factor in many chronic diseases.
Our bodies make vitamin D by the action of the sun on our skin. This summer we have experienced unprecedented amounts of sunshine, and hopefully we have been able to enjoy the sun with our skin exposed to ensure optimal levels of vitamin D. Now that the skies are greyer and the sun less strong, it is a good idea to make sure our vitamin D levels are maintained.
A supplement is the obvious choice, and if this is the path you choose to go down then you should aim for a vitamin D3 supplement which is the active form our body needs.
Food sources of vitamin D include oily fish (salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel, herring), milk, eggs, liver and cottage cheese. All of these are animal-based so vegans should consider supplementation.
One little trick I have learned for increasing vitamin D intake is to put your mushrooms upside-down on a sunny windowsill for a couple of hours in the middle of the day - the sun's rays can increase the vitamin D content of the mushrooms to many more times than your recommended daily intake!