With the arrival of colder months in Toronto, we’re beginning to see much less sun. The days grow shorter, the sun's angle in the sky lowers, and colder temperatures encourage us to stay indoors. As a result, our exposure to sunlight, the natural trigger for vitamin D production in the skin, decreases. While this shift happens gradually, it can have a profound impact on our health more than we realize. In this blog, we’ll delve into things to consider during the winter months to minimize the impact of the change of season on our bodies and wellbeing.
The Role of Vitamin D in our Bodies
Vitamin D, often referred to as the "sunshine vitamin," is an unsung hero of our well-being. Canada’s Ministry of Health recommends that adults under 51 years of age intake 400 IU daily (via a supplement or from diet). For those 51 and older, the recommended intake is a 400 IU supplement in addition to regularly eating foods that contain Vitamin D. This fat-soluble vitamin is critical to our body’s functioning for several reasons.
- Bone and Muscle Health: Vitamin D facilitates calcium absorption, which is essential for strong bones and muscles.
- Immune Support: It's a key player in supporting the immune system, helping our bodies fend off infections and diseases.
- Mood Elevation: Some research suggests that adequate vitamin D levels can positively impact mood and alleviate symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
- Heart Health: Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D is associated with a lower risk of heart diseases.
- Overall Well-being: Vitamin D plays a role in reducing inflammation, enhancing cognitive function, and supporting healthy weight management.
Nurturing Your Vitamin D Levels in Winter
- Chase the Sun: Embrace every opportunity to soak up the sun's rays, even during short walks. These moments of natural sunlight exposure can make a difference.
- Foods Rich in Vitamin D: Incorporate vitamin D-rich foods into your winter diet. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and tuna are excellent sources. In Canada, many of our dairy products and cereals are fortified with Vitamin D to help Canadians get their recommended doses of Vitamin D.
- Supplements: Consult with a healthcare professional to determine if vitamin D supplements are necessary for your individual needs. They can recommend the right dosage for you.
- Mushroom Magic: Certain mushrooms, such as shiitake and maitake, contain a small amount of vitamin D. Including these umami-boosters in your winter recipes can be a delicious way to supplement your intake!
- Egg-cellent Choices: Egg yolks are another source of vitamin D. Some people worry that eating eggs will increase their cholesterol levels. However, it’s important to note that egg yolks contain HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol, which is the ‘good’ kind. Don't hesitate to include them in your winter cooking!
As the season unfolds, it's important to be mindful of this vital nutrient and explore various avenues to maintain our Vitamin D levels. Whether it's through your dietary choices, brief outdoor excursions, or guidance from a healthcare professional, your well-being is worth the investment. If you’re looking for a way to incorporate more Vitamin D into your diet, check out Mi BOWL Meals. Several of our menu options contain ingredients that are rich in Vitamin D, including salmon, steak, eggs, and mushrooms.