For many of us, the winter months mean lots of snow, shorter days, and a whole lot of time spent indoors. While that’s good news for couch potatoes, it’s bad news for anyone looking to stay active and healthy. And it’s especially bad news if you’re already low in vitamin D, also known as the Sunshine Vitamin because your skin actually manufactures it when exposed to the sun.
A recent NPR story had the author, a mom, wondering if she needed to be concerned that her child is getting so little sunlight this winter. Indeed, between day care and naptime, it’s probably not a lot for most toddlers. It’s believed that, worldwide, a billion people are vitamin D-deficient. That’s important because vitamin D is needed for a host of critical health issues, from building strong bones to lowering the risk of heart disease, some cancers, multiple sclerosis and other chronic diseases.
Unfortunately, there are very few food sources of vitamin D (that you won’t have a hard time choking down, that is). It can be found in certain seafood, vitamin-fortified cereals, mushrooms and soy, as well as in egg yolks, beef liver and cod liver oil. Luckily, most dairy is fortified with vitamin D, which means you can also find it in our kefir! That’s good news for all you hibernators out there, considering that the sun is currently too low in the sky to stimulate your bare skin to manufacture vitamin D. (And besides, who’s going outside with bare skin these days?!) Sure, you could take a supplement, but supplements don’t taste as delicious as kefir, which supplies 25 percent of your daily D needs in a single cup. Take a look at the chart below to figure out how much vitamin D you need, then drink up.
Check out the recommended daily intake of vitamin D from various organizations:
Learn more about the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, and steps you can take to make sure you get your daily needs, visit the Vitamin D Council here.