When you think of Vitamin D, your first thoughts would be getting nutrients from the sun, absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and nutrients for the bone. Recent studies have shown that basking in the sun and getting your fix of Vitamin D does not only help your bones and give you a great tan but also beneficial in preventing heart diseases!
MENDING A “BROKEN HEART”
A five-year study led by Dr. Klaus Witte from the Leeds School of Medicine and Consultant Cardiologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust proved that daily doses of vitamin D3 showed improvements of the heart with patients with chronic heart failure.
160 patients from Leeds were part of this research, where half the participants took Vitamin D3 every day for a year while the other half took a placebo. The research showed that those who took vitamin D3 showed an improvement in the heart’s pumping ability while those who took the placebo showed no change in heart function. 1
A study from Ohio University also showed that vitamin D3 helped salvage the damage in the endothelial cells (endothelial cells line the inside of every blood vessel in the body. They form a one-cell-thick layer called the endothelium, which is also found on the inner walls of the heart chambers and lymphatic vessels, which carry excess blood plasma around the body 2 ), which a common feature of several heart diseases. 3
This research demonstrates that vitamin D3 can significantly restore damage to the circulatory system caused by various diseases, including atherosclerosis (cholesterol causing a blockage in arteries), diabetes, hypertension, and obesity thereby reducing the risk of a heart attack 1 and dysfunctional cardiac endothelium that may occur after a heart attack. 3
YOUR SOURCE (AND RECIPE!) TO THE “SUNSHINE SUPPLEMENT”
Vitamin D2 is found in some foods and a lot of multivitamin formulas. But it’s less active than D3, which is the form of vitamin D your skin manufactures with exposure to UV light (sunshine). Try the recipes below with a few foods and supplements you can receive Vitamin D from!
Sunshine promotes vitamin D synthesis from cholesterol in the skin. A pan-India study has revealed that the best time to be exposed to the sun is between 11 am and 1 pm since the wavelength of ultraviolet B (UVB) rays is 290-320nm during this period which is essential for skin to make vitamin D. 4Experts also say going outside for 10 minutes in the midday sun with no sunscreen will give you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 IU (international units) of the vitamin. 5
2: Cod Liver: 1 tsp., 440 IU 6
Cod liver oil was used for health reasons centuries ago in Europe to increase immunity. Apart from Vitamin D, the cod liver also has anti-inflammatory properties as well as Vitamin A and omega 3-fatty acids. 7Try out the Flambéed Cod Liver recipe that Martha Stewart learned from the First Lady of Iceland (2013-2016), Dorrit Moussaieff.
3: Salmon: 3 ounces, 400 IU
Not only is Salmon good for vitamin D, but it is also a lean protein, which is great for the diet. Baked Salmon Dijon is a great recipe to add to your dinner rotation, especially for all mustard lovers!
4: Tuna: 3 ounces, 228 IU
Apart from vitamin D, tuna is a great source of iron and potassium and is also good for weight loss because of its low fat and high protein nutrients. Include this comfort food Tuna and Rigatoni Casserole recipe for your meals. Instead of rigatoni, you could also add “zoodles” for an even healthier meal!
5: Orange Juice: 1 cup, 137 IU 8
A glass of OJ is a daily staple in many homes. So if you’ve been having orange juice, you’ve been getting your daily dose of vitamin D! If you’re not a big fan of orange juice, make a Mango-Strawberry Smoothieout of it or a bowl of fresh oranges does just the same! P.S. The smoothie recipe is also a great recipe to control diabetes (type 2)!
6: Almond milk: 8 ounces, 100 IU
In addition to a great source of vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, and protein are also found in almond milk. You can buy almond milk from a store or try and make your own Almond Milk at home! 1 cup of raw fortified milk also contains 98 IU of Vitamin D. For those who dislike almond milk can try the recipe with plain milk too!
7: Yogurt: 6 ounces, 100-98 IU
Yogurt is a convenient and healthy snack. Not only is it a good source of Vitamin D, but also one of the best foods to get your probiotics from. Plain yogurt is great, to change it up try cooking up a meal with a Middle Eastern Salad recipe!
8: Egg Yolks: 1 egg, 41 IU
Egg yolks have been given a bad rep because many believe you get high levels of “bad cholesterol”. But omitting egg yolks from your diet also means you lose on getting zinc, selenium, immune-boosting minerals, and of course, Vitamin D. Add a little bit of egg yolk in your life and try some of the recipes for Life on the Sunny Side!
9: Mushrooms: 1 cup, 400 IU to 40 IU
Though mushrooms don’t have a very high source of Vitamin D, some types of mushrooms are treated with UV light, which allows more Vitamin D to produce. Always check the nutrients on the packaging as it varies from mushroom to mushroom. However, there is no harm in adding a Veggie Stuffed Portobellorecipe to your week!
In addition to sunlight, adding any two foods from above in your daily diet is a great way to getting Vitamin D in your system. You can also try supplement pills such as Setu’s Beat It if you feel you may not be getting Vitamin D from natural nutrients. Vitamin D is also important for the immune system, muscle function, cardiovascular function, respiratory system, and brain development. 9