In today’s world, people are busy, busy, busy. Often, one of the first area’s of their life to suffer is their diets. What many people don’t know, is how detrimental not eating right can be to their overall health. Take vitamin D, for instance. Not much was known about this vitamin until recently. Previously what was common knowledge was that vitamin D was called the “Sunshine Vitamin”, and our bodies could produce it by spending a few minutes a day in the sun. But recent studies have shown that there are more benefits to this sunny vitamin than once thought, and more importantly, a deficiency can wreak havoc in multiple areas, including fertility. The best way to ensure that you are getting enough of this vitamin, and all the other vitamins and minerals, is to consult with a registered dietitian. I work out of the Syracuse area CNY Healing Arts. Not only do we provide nutritional counseling, but yoga, massage, acupuncture and skin care (among other things). We provide a whole body experience!
Now, back to that vitamin D…Vitamin D is necessary for a variety of reasons, including calcium absorption, a healthy immune system and making sure a fetus grows properly. The best way to get vitamin D is through the sunlight. However, with the risk of skin cancer it is not safe to over-expose yourself. 5-10 minutes is all that is needed daily. But what can you do in the winter, or a rainy day? Make sure you are getting vitamin D from food sources as well as from sunlight. Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, and mackerel) are great sources. And, it is safe to have a 4-ounce serving 3 times a week. You can also eat fortified yogurt and drink fortified orange juice, milk and soy milk. Another option is to take a vitamin supplement twice a day-preferably one with at least 400 IU’s of vitamin D and 500 mg of calcium (vitamin D and calcium work together so your body can absorb them properly).
So if you are not pregnant or planning on getting pregnant, vitamin D is still necessary for decreasing the risk of fractures, decreasing the risk of depression, and for calcium absorption. If you are a woman who is trying to get pregnant or is pregnant, make sure you are getting enough vitamin D. It is extremely important for strengthening the fetal immune system, helping the lungs to mature and developing the nervous system. Your baby will thank you.
Heather Neely, RD, CDN