With vitamin D being such a hot topic in the press at the moment it is easy to get confused. Should we be supplementing our diets or can we get enough vitamin D from food? And why is it so important? We’re here to help clear things up!
So what exactly is vitamin D and what does it do?
Nearly every tissue and cell in our body has a vitamin D receptor. Without vitamin D we cannot absorb calcium from our diet - and calcium is important for the development of bones, teeth and signalling between brain cells.
Low vitamin D levels in the body are also associated with increased loss of muscle strength, bone disorders, risk of cancers, lowered immunity, high blood pressure & the development of diabetes.
Vitamin D isn't a 'true' vitamin as you don't need food to get it. You can get Vitamin D from sunlight.
How can you get more vitamin D?
By following a healthy diet and eating the right foods you can increase your vitamin D levels. You can find vitamin D naturally in a number of foods, for example oily fish, red meat, mushrooms, liver & eggs. The NHS suggests, however, that it is difficult for us to get the recommended amount of vitamin D from food alone and that our main source of vitamin D is from the action of sunlight on our skin - something we certainly don’t get enough of here in the UK!
When we are lucky enough to have a period of sunshine if you’re stuck behind a window and think you’re getting vitamin D unfortunately this is not the case - glass blocks all UVB, preventing vitamin D from being made.
Don’t worry though, getting vitamin D from sunlight is easier than you think. Spending just 20 minutes riding your bike outside in the summer sun produces 100 times more vitamin D than government agencies say you would need, and once serum levels of vitamin D reach their limit any excess is inactivated by your body.
Should you be taking supplements?
Here at Mindful Chef we believe that the best way to get vitamin D is to get outdoors - spending 20 minutes in the sunshine will provide you with more than enough vitamin D. Try to supplement your diet in the winter with things like oily fish and adjust your lifestyle to promote vitamin D absorption. If you still aren't getting enough then we would advise taking a vitamin D supplement to complement a healthy lifestyle.
So as ever, we would recommend getting outdoors as much as possible and eating whole foods. One of our top recipes full of vitamin D is our baked salmon with crispy seaweed, poached egg and asparagus. If you’re looking for an excuse to get outdoors check out our top 3 workouts you can do anywhere and head outside!