What are the Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Posted on: May 20, 2015

Get the Details on Vitamin D

By Agnes Lu

Adequate vitamin D is important to your overall health for several reasons. It is essential for Grilled salmon with lemon isolated on whitestrong bones as it helps the body absorb calcium. It’s also needed for muscle movement, necessary for your nervous system and important to your immune system. Recent research shows that vitamin D may be key to the prevention of a number of long-term health problems such as cancer, type II diabetes and hypertension.


How much vitamin D do I need?
The amount of vitamin D needed depends on your age:
Birth – 12 months:                       400 IU/day
Age 1 – 70:                                     600 IU/day
Age 71 and older:                         800 IU/day
Pregnant and breastfeeding:     600 IU/day

How do I get vitamin D?
You can absorb vitamin D in three ways: through the skin, from diet, and from supplements.

Your body can produce vitamin D when your skin is sufficiently exposed to direct sunlight; however, unless you live in the South or Southwest, you are unlikely to get enough sunlight throughout the winter for your body to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. Keep in mind, the American Academy of Dermatology does not recommend getting vitamin D from unprotected exposure to sunlight – which can increase your risk for skin cancer. Individuals with dark skin will absorb sunlight less efficiently.

There are a few foods that naturally contain vitamin D, and Americans get most of their vitamin D from fortified foods: milk, cereal, orange juice, and yogurt. If you’re looking for the natural sources of vitamin D, it can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel. In smaller amounts, it can be found in beef liver, cheese and egg yolks.

Am I at risk for vitamin D deficiency?
There are certain groups that have a higher risk of being vitamin D deficient:
• Breastfed infants
• Older adults
• Individuals with limited sun exposure
• Individuals with dark skin
• Individuals with inflammatory bowel disease and other conditions that cause fat malabsorption
If you think you might be vitamin D deficient, speak with your doctor.

Try these two salmon and egg dishes.

Lox, eggs and onions (Serves 4)

Modified from foodnetwork.com

1 large Spanish onion
1 tablespoons canola oil
3oz lox, chopped
8 eggs
Pinch of pepper

Cut the onion in half, then slice thinly. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over high heat, then saute the onions until lightly colored.
In a bowl, beat eggs with a fork, then add to the pan. When the eggs have set on the bottom, scramble in the lox and flip over.
Cook and scramble until just set.
Serve with fresh fruit or side salad for a complete breakfast or lunch.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 220 calories, 14.1 g fat, 3.4 g saturated fat, 975 mg sodium, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 19 g protein


Scandinavian Eggs Benedict with Yogurt Sauce

courtesy of Gooseberry Mooseberry http://www.gooseberrymooseberry.com/2012/04/scandinavian-eggs-benedict-with-yogurt.html
(Serves 2)

1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
1/8 tsp powdered turmeric
1 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tsp horseradish
A crackle of white pepper
2 whole wheat English muffins, halved and toasted
4 slices of smoked salmon
4 poached eggs
Optional: chopped chives for garnish

In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt and turmeric until yogurt turns a pale gold color.
Then stir in dill, lemon juice, horseradish, and pepperuntil combined. Leave it at room temperature for a few minutes as you cook the eggs. If you would like the sauce warmer, put it in the microwave for about 30 seconds.
Top each toasted English muffin half with a slice of smoked salmon, a poached egg and a dollop of yogurt sauce. Sprinkle with chopped chives for garnish.
Serve with fresh fruit or side salad for a complete breakfast or lunch.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 400 calories, 12 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 750 mg sodium, 51 g carbohydrates, 4.8 g fiber, 25 g protein

Editor’s Note: Agnes Lu, MS, RD, CDE, CDN