Vitamin D is vital to your body and is the only vitamin used constantly by every cell. Amongst its many functions are its role in boosting your immune system, optimising bone health and helping to regulate your mood. You get vitamin D from sunshine and food (a couple of months supply can be stored in the liver). However, only Brits south of Bristol can get vitamin D from the sun and even then only from April to September.
Getting vitamin D from food is vitally important in the winter months. The BEST foods are oily fish (sardines, salmon, mackerel, tuna) and egg yolks. Fatty meat also contains some vitamin D but should not be eaten too often.
Equally important is to make sure you eat correctly for the season. You see the body converts vitamin D several times in a series of chemical reactions before it is truly useful. The message of exactly how much to convert is conveyed by your diet. In summer, if the sun is out, we tend to eat lots of cooling food (salads and the like), which tells our kidneys that it’s warm and sunny, so no need to convert too much vitamin D as it’s in rich supply.
In winter, we should be eating warming foods, which tell the body to convert much more vitamin D to a useable form. However, in these days of the supermarket lots of us continue to eat summer foods in the winter months and the body gets confused into thinking it’s still warm and sunny!
Finally, it is possible to supplement D but make sure it’s good quality; it’s vitamin D3 and remember it is only a supplement and should never replace vitamin D from natural sources.
CORE MESSAGE: EAT SEASONAL, WARMING FOODS AND COOK TRADITIONAL WINTER DISHES.