Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin,’ and vitamin D deficiency just might be the largest deficiency in America. In the heart of winter, our vitamin D levels tend to decrease even further due to lack of sun exposure. What exactly is vitamin D? The definition of a vitamin is a group of organic compounds required by our body but cannot be made by the body.
Vitamin D is technically not even a vitamin, since through sun exposure, our bodies can produce vitamin D. Once in the body, vitamin D is converted to the active hormone, calcitriol, which is used in important functions throughout the body for bone health, emotional and hormonal balance, even heart health and immune function.
If you have noticed weak soft bones, or chronic weakened immune system you may be experiencing low vitamin D levels. Other warning signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency may include bacterial overgrowth, emotional highs and lows such as depression and anxiety, as well as hormonal imbalances.
Just how do you ensure you are getting enough vitamin D? There are actually very few sources of vitamin D in the diet. Wild caught salmon or fatty fish is the main food source and this easy quick cooking Salmon Marsala from my new men’s health cookbook, Guy’s Guide To Eating Well: A Man’s Cookbook for Health and Wellness is a delicious dose! Another impressive vitamin D rich food that is full of gourmet flavor yet super simple to make is my 5-ingredient recipe for Salmon with Spinach Feta Stuffing from Eating Well To Fight Arthritis.
Mushrooms and fortified milk and dairy also contain some but in minimal amounts. Sunshine is the number 1 source of vitamin D for most people. When UV light from the sun comes in contact with skin, it stimulates the production of vitamin D in the body. Insufficient sunlight is the main cause of vitamin D deficiency. Fair skin individuals should aim for 20 to 30 minutes per day and dark skin tones may need up to an hour.
Check with your doctor first, but high-quality supplements may be necessary to achieve your optimal vitamin D intake. It is important to remember to take vitamin D with a fat source such as avocado or almond butter to increase absorption because it is a fat-soluble vitamin.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
- 4 (4-ounce) skinless salmon fillets
- 1/3 cup Marsala wine
- 3/4 cup fat-free chicken broth
- 3 teaspoons cornstarch
- In large nonstick skillet, heat oil and sauté onion, garlic, and mushrooms until tender.
- Add salmon to skillet, cooking 4 minutes, turn onto other side. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix together wine, broth and cornstarch.
- When salmon is almost done, add wine mixture to the salmon. Stir gently, as mixture thickens quickly.
- Nutrition Nugget: Omega 3 fatty acids play an important role in our health, from reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke, lowering cholesterol, to reducing joint pain from inflammation. We must get omega 3 fatty acids through diet as they are not made in the body and salmon is a rich source.