We are entering many people’s favorite time of the year – Summer! Summer brings fireworks, barbeques, and one of our body’s favorite things, vitamin D. Many people do not necessarily look forward to the hottest season of the year for this reason, but they should, because vitamin D is a super important nutrient for our body. Unfortunately, most of the population, especially those that live in colder climates (such as New England), are deficient.
Vitamin D has many functions. It helps the body absorb calcium, making it an important contributor to bone growth and maintenance. It also lowers inflammation and supports the immune system. The average, healthy adult needs 15 micrograms, but speak with a health care provider about your personal needs.
Vitamin D is a unique vitamin, because it is not in many foods, so our primary source is from the sun. Now that the weather is turning warmer, try to spend at least 20 minutes outside each day to get your daily dose of vitamin D. Since this is not possible year-round, some products, such as orange juice and milk are regularly fortified with it to lower the prevalence of deficiency. Additionally, vitamin D is found naturally in some fish, mushrooms, egg yolk, and beef liver. If those don’t sound appetizing, you may want to consider a vitamin D supplement. There are plenty on the market, and I encourage you to speak to your doctor about which one may be right for you. In the meantime, get outside and soak in the sunshine!
By Grace Stott, UNH Masters Student and UVAC Nutrition Intern