Monthly Archives: December 2018

Food Sources of Vitamin D

Natural foods rich in vitamin D.

Vitamin D is important to maintaining a healthy body. Vitamin D deficiency is rampant in our modern age for a variety of reasons. The main reasons include our indoor lifestyle and use of skin protectant.

Science is not infallible, we must change our thinking when new information is exposed, and this pertains to the importance of vitamin D. In this post I will describe what Vitamin D is, how it helps our bodies, symptoms of deficiency,  the recommended amounts to consume each day and the foods that you can eat to obtain your Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that we obtain from food or our environment via the sun, or supplements. Vitamin D is stored in the human liver and fat from exposure during the sunny periods, for utilization during the winter, less sunny season. We have circumvented this natural process by limiting our exposure to sun in the summer months with sunscreen, clothes and a lifestyle of avoiding the sun.

The dermatologists have scared us to the point of damage. Skin cancer is a concern, but so is vitamin D deficiency

What does vitamin D do in our bodies?

  • Regulates the immune system
  • Regulates neuromuscular function
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Required for bone strength
  • Regulates blood pressure
  • Decreases the risk for depression
  • Reduces risk for type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
  • May reduce risk for certain cancers

What are signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?

Classic signs are rickets (which is an old disease of the bone) and osteomlacia. This is related to the interaction of vitamin D and calcium for bone strength. Subtle bone pain and fatigue can be symptoms that are missed with a Vitamin D deficiency. We do know that low Vitamin D can result in osteoporosis. Additionally, there is some evidence that colon cancer, diabetes type 2, hypertension, glucose intolerance, and multiple sclerosis.

The medical conditions above demonstrate the broad array of physical effects from inadequate Vitamin D, and can seem nonspecific. However, a lab test can be a good place to start to identify your levels.

Who is at risk for vitamin D deficiency?

Certain people are at risk for Vitamin D deficiency and some of them include those who have indoor lifestyles, dark skinned people, infants who are nursed for a prolonged time. Additionally, men and women who have had gastric bypass or have inflammatory bowel disease appear to have limited ability to absorb it via their gut. Older adults are also at risk; this may be due to their tendency to be indoors. Medications can also put people at deficiency. It is known that steroids and certain cholesterol medicines as well as anti-epileptic medicine can interrupt the absorption and result in a deficiency.

What are the most common sources of vitamin D?         

Sun

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. It is synthesized in the skin, by a certain wavelength in the sun’s rays; wave length 290-320 nanometers, penetrates the skin and synthesized through a chemical process to previtamin D which then converts to vitamin D.

We know that sun is a source, but this article is about the food sources of Vitamin D. The food sources are limited, but let’s review them now.

Food

Vitamin D is not found naturally in many foods. Cow’s milk has been fortified with vitamin d for years.

Interestingly, the foods that are high in vitamin D are ones that are found in the sea. I always wondered why Eskimos who lived in the north- who had no sun for months, survived. Well, once again, God takes care of his humans. Blubber or muktuk, as its called by the Inuit/Eskimos of Alaska and Canada is high in vitamin C and vitamin D. Citrus is difficult to come by in the arctic, God is good.

 Ok, so we won’t be eating whale blubber, but we can eat wild caught salmon, wild caught mackerel, cod liver, tuna, and sardines.

The cow is a good source of vitamin D in the flesh and the calf liver. Egg yolks also have vitamin D. Dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D are also a good source, like cheese, or yoghurt made with the fortified milk.

Enhanced mushrooms have been developed to be an additional food source.

This is a table from a trusted website, National Institute of Health (see references) for food sources.

Food Sources
Food IUs per serving* Percent DV**
Cod liver oil, 1 table-
spoon
1,360 340
Swordfish, cooked, 3 ounces 566 142
Salmon (sockeye),
cooked, 3 ounces
447 112
Tuna fish, canned in water, drained,
3 ounces
154 39
Orange juice fortified with vitamin D, 1 cup 137 34
Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D-fortified, 1 cup 115-124 29-31
Yogurt, fortified with
20% of the DV for
vitamin D, 6 ounces
80 20
Margarine, fortified, 1 tablespoon 60 15
Sardines, canned in oil, drained,
2 sardines
46 12
Liver, beef, cooked, 3 ounces 42 11
Egg, 1 large (vitamin D is found in yolk) 41 10
Ready-to-eat cereal, fortified with 10% of the DV for vitamin D, 0.75-1 cup 40 10
Cheese, Swiss, 1 ounce 6 2

*1.

Recommended Numbers and Blood Levels

Recommended Daily Amounts of Vitamin D (RDA) varies depending on age and gender. Middle aged adults should be consuming 600 IU.

The lab value to aim for via a blood test for 25(OH)D is >30ng/ml.

This level should be the goal via sun, food and supplements.

Vitamin D research continues and its importance is becoming increasingly clear. To optimize your Vitamin D levels to reduce your risk for deficiency, ensure that you go outside for 20 minutes during the day without sunscreen, include food sources weekly, and take supplements to ensure that your levels are optimal.

You can go to your primary care provider to obtain a blood test, or you can go to my Ulta website and order it yourself and take the results to the doctor if they are abnormal.

Choosing healthy foods and staying active is paramount to reduce your risk for experiencing lifestyle related diseases. My book, Second Chance at Health-Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating can help you find the best eating plans and movement plans for you!

Reference:

1. Vitamin D for Health Professionals/Fact Sheet. Retrieved from: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/

10 Things to do Every Day in 2019

New Year’s resolutions are in the planning stages for most people. Even for those of us who don’t typically make “official” resolutions it might be a good idea to consider these suggestions.

Perhaps 2018 was the best year that you ever had and you hope that 2019 will bring as much joy. Perhaps your 2018 was worse than bad and you can’t wait to see it in your rear view mirror. Or perhaps, 2018 was just a “meh”year. Regardless, 2018 is over. Keep those good memories, discard the past, and take wisdom into your 2019.

Here is a list of ten things to do daily (and the why’s) in 2019 for health, wealth, prosperity and joy.

  1.  Be thankful: being thankful for what you have, and for what you desire. The act of being thankful tells your body that it is a fact, and often the universe acts accordingly.
  2. Be generous: decide to give a certain percentage of your money away. There is a force that works in this world that is antithetical to selfishness. When we give we get. Period.
  3. Walk more: the benefits of walking physically, emotionally and spiritually are hard to underestimate. If you walk outside with a friend or spouse, this can be a time to catch up or a time to just “be” together”. Sun and fresh air are good for the soul. Aim for 10 K steps per day.
  4. Pray: prayer will change your life and others. Petitioning prayer is the act of commissioning a higher being to act on your behalf or another’s. This helps you AND the person being prayed for. Sometimes this is all we can do, and it IS powerful.
  5. Write in a journal. Writing in a private journal can keep your dreams alive. It can keep your anxieties at bay and when re-reading the future it can be interesting to read.
  6. Eat an apple a day. Eating an apple a day is good for digestion, skin, teeth and overall health. The smallest ones are the proper serving size. My favorites are Macintosh and granny smith.
  7. Greet your spouse and children with a smile and enthusiasm when you see them at the end of the day. A positive greeting and a smile will set the stage for a pleasant evening. When my children would come home one by one I would say to them, “How is my favorite 8th grader?Or “I am so glad to see my favorite youngest child”.  Think about how your family dog greets you when he sees you…with unadulterated joy…just because you are you…give that feeling to someone else.
  8. Dock your electronic devices and/or only use for business purposes. Limiting screen time will improve your sleep, your posture and your mood.
  9. Eat more vegetables. Ensure that you eat vegetables at each meal. This helps ensure that you get the vitamins and fiber that your body needs to be healthy. Frozen fruits and vegetables are just fine to eat if you can’t keep fresh on hand.
  10. Keep a tidy home. Make your bed every day. Order improves your mood, your mind and your emotions.
  11. Laugh more. Laughing improves the amount of good feeling hormones, and who does not want to feel good. Your body does not know the difference between a fake laugh or a real laugh. Try it…fake laughing turns into real laughing within seconds.

This list is not a magic list, but they work…so maybe it is a magic list.

If we fail to plan then we plan to fail. Make 2019 a crazy joyful and peaceful year. You are in control of you, only you can take steps to be happy and healthy where you are.

If you found this post helpful, please like and share.

If you want help to learn to love active living and clean eating, order my book called Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating. It is a short, easy to read guide to regaining your health, even if you are on medicines.

Benefits of Vitamin C

Fruit is high in Vitamin C

With the cold and flu season being in full swing, there are many actions that you can take to keep yourself and your family healthy. Taking vitamin C is one of these actions.

 In this post I will describe what vitamin C is, the benefits of taking vitamin C, how and when to take it and for how long.

What is Vitamin C

Vitamin C or ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin, which means that there is less likelihood of an adverse reaction from taking too much. This vitamin is found naturally in foods as well as easily found in over the counter supplements. Vitamin C is a sour tasting vitamin but is easily tolerated by most. It is an essential vitamin, which means that we do not make it in our bodies, but must get it from an external source.

Vitamin C is necessary for many important body functions, from protein synthesis (think healing), neurotransmitters production (think brain health)and is a powerful antioxidant.

The Benefits of Taking Vitamin C

There are many benefits of taking the proper amounts of vitamin C, and there is still scientific research being done.

The benefits of vitamin C include:

  1. Improves the immune system
  2. Shortens the duration of the common cold
  3. Improves healing
  4. Cancer prevention
  5. Reduces risk of cardiovascular disease
  6. Decreases risk for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts

Recommended Dosages

 As with every oral supplement/medication it is important to take the proper amount for the benefits intended.

For a healthy adult without any chronic health conditions, the recommended daily amount is 90 mg per day for men and 75 mg per day forwomen. Smokers require an additional 35 mg per day.

When to take vitamin C

Take Vitamin C supplement daily if you do not eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C. To decrease the duration and severity of the common cold one study in 2007 indicated that short term use of high dose vitamin C (2000mg in divided doses) was useful. 

Take higher dose Vitamin C for 5-7 days. I recommend increasing your intake when your first notice a cold coming on. Take 2000 mg with 8 ounces of water in divided doses throughout the day.

Vitamin C definitely has benefits when used appropriately, just like everything else.

Stay healthy this winter by:

-avoiding sick people

-washing your hands with soap and water frequently

-eating plenty of fruits and vegetables

-exercising  and getting plenty of rest.

If you want to read a fantastic, easy to read book on how to improve your health, order my book, Second Chance at Health: Learn to Love Active Living and Clean Eating!

References:

Vitamin C. Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-HealthProfessional/ 

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