Feature Series Part 1: I have some great contributions from health & wellness folks as part of this feature series for Well and the City; where they could share their own personal experiences in the health and wellness world. Below is Feature Part 1: from my amazing friend Phoebe. She is currently in school to become a Nurse Midwife. Thanks for your Vitamin D tips Phoebe!!
As we wrap up March and reflect on the past month, you know that it is the worst month of them all (sorry Pisces/Aries, no offense!). If you are anything like me, born and raised in glorious New England, you have experienced the hopeful signs of spring here or there, but there is no denying the raw, dark, damp weather everywhere. So as we emerge from winter and head into another long month with little sun it is SO important to remember our friend Vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps with muscle function, as well as with building a strong, healthy immune system. But maybe more importantly, Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphorous, which are critical nutrients for building and maintaining strong bones! You can double up on the milk, cheese, and yogurt all you want, but without the Vitamin D, those nutrients aren’t living up to their full potential! So ladies, listen up, as we are 4 times more likely than men to be diagnosed with osteoporosis: around ages 25-30 we reach our peak bone mass, which basically means we have filled our calcium savings accounts for the future. Now, although we can no longer add calcium to that account, we can replace what we lose each day. But remember, we can’t do it alone, we need Vitamin D to make it work. So in the savings account analogy, Vitamin D is your PIN code, you’re not putting anything in that account without it!
So now that you know how important little old Vitamin D is, I bet you are wondering how to get it? Few of us have the luxury of basking in the sun for 30 minutes between the hours of 10 and 3, and therefore are missing out on optimal (and free!) doses of Vitamin D. Especially this time of year. So that leaves dietary consumption and vitamin supplementation.
Foods to eat:
- Fatty fish: Salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and eel
- Fortified milk and orange juice
- Egg YOLKS (don’t ditch them!)
- Some fortified whole grain cereals
- Cod liver oil (packs a hefty dose, so if you are already taking a daily supplement, you are probably in good shape!)
**Some foods like spinach and beets can suppress calcium absorption, so space ‘em out!
If these items are not part of your diet, and you don’t see them ever becoming a part of it, a daily supplement might be the best thing for you! As always, it is best to consult your physician on what the best dose is for you. A recommended dietary allowance is usually around 500 units, but supplement dosing will vary.
So remember, while it is important to eat healthy, it is equally important to eat smart. Be sure to give your body what it wants, but also what it needs. Because stronger bones, is a stronger you!