Get your hit of the sunshine vit


Hello sunshine! Surprised. Grateful. Farmer’s tan. Just some of the words that come to mind when I think of the present spell of, dare I say it, summer weather.

Often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is synthesised by the body when the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Due to our northerly latitude in Ireland, the sun’s rays are only strong enough from April through to July for our skin to be able to produce vitamin D. This, coupled with indoor jobs and increased use of sunscreen, means that, even in the summer months, the majority of the Irish population have inadequate levels of vitamin D. Therefore, it is important that we consume a diet rich in vitamin D to ensure our stores do not become depleted.

Vitamin D is required to help the body absorb calcium which is important for the maintenance of normal bones and teeth. Low levels of vitamin D can result in Rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults – both diseases of the bones. Furthermore, there’s growing evidence that low vitamin D status may linked to high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 1 Diabetes and some forms of cancer. 

With all this in mind, it is recommended that the general population in Ireland aim for a daily vitamin D intake of 10 micrograms (µg) per day.

What are the “Vitamin D foods”? Do they all have the same amount of vitamin D?

1 serving (150g) salmon 12 micrograms vitamin D
1 serving (150g) trout 15 micrograms vitamin D
1 serving (150g) mackerel 13 micrograms vitamin D
1 serving (150g) tuna 4.5 micrograms vitamin D
1 tin (100g) sardines 5 micrograms vitamin D
1 egg 1-2 micrograms vitamin D
1 serving (200ml) Avonmore Super Milk 4 micrograms vitamin D
1 serving (50g) Kellog’s Corn Flakes 2 micrograms vitamin D

Feeling alternative?

Monaghan Mushrooms have produced vitamin D mushrooms by exposing mushrooms to UV light which promotes natural vitamin D production. Note, the majority of commercially grown mushrooms do not contain vitamin D as standard growing conditions are devoid of UV light/sunlight.

If you don’t consume vitamin D rich foods on a regular basis then a vitamin D supplement might be a good idea. The best choice is a supplement that provides 5 micrograms (µg) of vitamin D3 per day which will allow for extra vitamin D from food. Speak to your pharmacist for advice on what supplement might be most suitable for you.

The truth of the matter is, low vitamin D status and vitamin D deficiency is widespread across Ireland. This summer, embrace the sun at every opportunity you can. Say adios to your boss at lunch time if that is what it takes!

Check out Drop Chef’s weekly menu for some dinners that will help boost your vitamin D intake. This week they have a delicious teriyaki salmon – the yummiest 12 micrograms of vitamin D I’ve ever had!

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