Sun and UVB rays give us vitamin D, a vital nutrient for our overall health. The body makes vitamin D when the skin is directly exposed to the sun. That is why it is often called the “sunshine” vitamin.
**While this is important stuff, and I urge you to read on, you can first skip to the bottom for some of my favorite vitamin D rich food dishes and recipes. Not to disappoint!**
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Calcium and phosphate are two minerals that are essential for normal bone formation. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis in adults or rickets in children.
It was once believed that the only way to get vitamin D was from the sun. Many doctors believed, and there are still a handful that do, that 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, a few time as week, would give us the vitamin D we need.
We get this exposure, however, by going about our daily lives – in and out of the house, driving in the car, etc. and not by basking in the sun. So, most people meet at least some of their vitamin D needs this way. The rest of our need can be fulfilled by many of the foods we eat, such as fish and dairy.
According to both the American Academy of Dermatology and American Cancer Society, the risk of deliberate, unprotected sun exposure, even for 10 minutes, outweigh the benefits. Instead, incorporate some of the following Vitamin D rich foods into your diet. Have your doctor test your levels at your next physical. Supplements can be prescribed, if necessary.
Dairy: cheese, milk, yogurt, eggs, butter, cream, etc.
Fatty Fish: Tuna, salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, caviar (black and red), etc.
Meats: Pork, beef liver (yuck)
Other fortified foods: many cereals, juices, soy milk, tofu (read labels)
**Ok, good to know, but a bit boring, right? So, I need to add a few gems here, something to get us all excited. When I think of oysters, the first thing that comes to mind are the insane Pan Fried Oysters with Garlic Thyme Butter at Elm Street Oyster House. Go, have them and a half price bottle of wine on Sundays. If you can’t get to Elm Street, try this recipe from my beloved, Ina Garten, I never met an Ina recipe I didn’t love. This one is for Caviar Dip. Bon appetit.