Vitamin D has many important functions in the body. These include working with calcium in your body to help build & maintain strong bones, and regulating the immune system. This particular role becomes very important in the winter months due to the prevalence of colds and flu.
Most of our vitamin D is synthesized via sun exposure through the skin; this equates to 10-20 minutes of summer sunlight daily for caucasian populations and 45 minutes of sunlight for asian populations. However as the UK is in the northern hemisphere where there is less sun exposure, the correct level of vitamin D is difficult to maintain in the winter months.
Figures show that up to a quarter of the UK population has low levels of vitamin D in their blood. In severe cases deficiency can cause rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Other symptoms of deficiency can be joint pain or stiffness, backache, tooth decay, muscle cramps and hair loss. It is also linked to peridontal disease, psoriasis, depression and fibromyalgia. A blood test will show any deficiency – an amount of > 50 nmol/L is considered adequate for bone and overall health in healthy individuals.
So what should you do in the winter months where adequate sun exposure is lacking? The best dietary sources of vitamin D are oily fish such as herrings and mackerel, eggs and cheddar cheese. Try our recipe below for a vitamin D rich snack.
However, only 10% of your vitamin D comes from your diet so it is impossible to get all that you require from your diet alone. Daily supplementation with Vitamin D3 is the best option and this preparation comes in droplet or capsule form.
If you feel that you may be deficient in Vitamin D or need advice please contact Ashlins on 020 8520 5268 to make an appointment with Lisa. Free 10 minute consultations are available.
400g of smoked mackerel (the un-peppered kind)
200g of ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon of natural yoghurt
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste.
Place all the above ingredients into a food processor and mix until a paste is formed. The pate is best served with crudités such as carrots and cucumber, on jacket potatoes or oat cakes.