The sunshine vitamin, aka vitamin D, is so-called because humans were meant to get what we need of it from the sun. Unfortunately, if you live north of the 37th parallel (essentially, north of Los Angeles), there’s not much vitamin D to be had from November to March.
Since vitamin D is important for preventing osteoporosis, heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (and rickets in children) and may actually slow the aging process, many of the denizens of parallels 38 through 90 (everyone living from north of LA to the North Pole) might need to supplement their vitamin D intake nutritionally.
While there aren’t many foods that contain vitamin D, there are a few you should be extra sure to include in your diet from late fall to the beginning of spring. Fatty fishes and seafood, mushrooms, eggs, some meats and fortified foods such as dairy and OJ should make frequent appearances on your cold-weather menu.
A quick word of caution: While most people in these areas (or even people closer to the equator who don’t get much sun) do need more vitamin D during these months, you should certainly consult a doctor about your personal vitamin D levels. Just have your doc do a blood test, which will tell you if you’re deficient, doing just fine or if you’re even getting more than you actually need (which is rare, but can be very dangerous, as it can negatively impact kidney function, heart function and even lead to very serious conditions like strokes, heart disease and dementia).
That’s why we don’t recommend you take your vitamin D in the form of a pill, which can build up in your body if you’re getting too much, especially if you take it in conjunction with a diet already high in sunshine vitamin-rich foods. The average person needs about 600 international units of vitamin D per day, though your doctor might recommend upping or lowering it if you’re levels are off.
But since most of us will need some source of vitamin D, we rounded up some vitamin D-licious recipes to add to your meal rotation. From carrot cake oatmeal breakfasts to cozy lunches of seafood chowder to dinners of orange-glazed salmon and even some weekend munchables for your weekly indoor (or not) tailgate, you can boost your vitamin D levels any time of day on any occasion.
Originally posted on StyleCaster.