Although its name would convince you otherwise, vitamin D is, in fact, not a vitamin, but a steroid hormone. It is responsible for controlling calcium levels in the blood and therefore bone health, muscle function, nerve conduction and your overall physiological health.
While getting enough vitamin D is important all year round, it becomes even more so as you enter the winter months, where your vitamin D from natural sunlight is reduced. If you live in parts of the world with extended periods of darkness, prioritising your nutrition and lifestyle is key to preventing conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), otherwise known as winter depression.
Here’s what you can do:
- Eat your yolks: Yes, egg yolks are nutrition bombs and egg contains approximately 40 IU of vitamin D. The cholesterol in eggs has long been proven to be beneficial but just in case you need further clarification, two of our recommended readings are Cholesterol Clarity by Jimmy Moore and Eat The Yolks by Liz Wolfe.
- Cook with lard: Lard is extremely nutrient rich and a 1 tablespoon serve contains approximately 100 IU of vitamin D. Yes, you read that right – lard is also one of our richest dietary sources of vitamin D. Simply rotate with your cooking oil, coconut oil and grass fed butter.
- Add mushrooms: Light-exposed mushrooms naturally produce vitamin D and these are in fact the only food source that can supply our entire day’s intake in just one 100g serve. In Australia, vitamin D mushrooms are becoming available in supermarkets, or simply place your store-bought mushrooms in the midday sun for a couple of hours prior to using.
- Mix up your protein options: Including oily fish such as salmon offers many health benefits, including the provision of more than double your daily vitamin D requirement. Adding liver covers more micronutrients than fruit and vegetables and supplies 19 IU of vitamin D per 100g serve. As always, please choose grass fed proteins for both optimal nutrition and sustainable farming practices.
Nutrition should always be your number one priority, but the reality is that in the case of vitamin D, we only obtain approximately 10 per cent of our daily requirements from food. So please include the following as well;
- Aim for a minimum of 15 minutes of sunlight between the hours of 10am and 3pm. To ensure you are producing vitamin D, check your shadow. When it is much shorter than you, the sun’s rays are entering the atmosphere at the correct angle for your skin to utilize the UVB rays. In winter, you will notice that your shadow is much longer for most of the day, and this is when no amount of sun will be beneficial.
- Supplements. Speak to your Nutritionist or Naturopath first, but please consider a good quality practitioner only Vitamin D. A three-monthly blood test will assist in determining the necessity of this and your required dosage.