What’s in Your Food?: Vitamin D

Vitamin D… That’s the stuff that comes from the sun, right? What many people don’t know is that a healthy vitamin D level can also be maintained through food.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. What does that mean? Fat-soluble vitamins get stored in fat molecules and that’s how they travel and are distributed in the body. So if you’re getting your dose of vitamin D, it’s best to take it with or after you’ve eaten something containing fat. Other fat-soluble vitamins are vitamin A, K, and E.

Let’s talk about the benefits of vitamin D. It can:

  • delay the aging process
  • stimulate cell death in some cancer cells
  • help prevent cancers such as kidney cancer, leukemia, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer
  • stimulate bone growth
  • aid in healing of broken or fractured bones
  • help prevent osteoporosis
  • alleviate migraines (if taken with calcium)
  • prevent tooth decay
  • alleviate asthma

A vitamin D deficiency can cause:

  • muscle pain
  • muscle weakness
  • hearing loss

Let’s go back to the part where vitamin D can help alleviate migraines, when taken with calcium. The absorption of calcium is increased with the presence of vitamin D. So this not only can help migraines, but can also help bones absorb calcium better, for stronger bones. Vitamin D also aids in the absorption of vitamin A.

So what prevents your body from absorbing vitamin D?

  • antacids
  • mineral oils (they bind to vitamin D and hinder its absorption)
  • alcohol (depletes your body of the vitamin D that is present)
  • magnesium (these vitamins compete, rather than work together)

As all things, vitamin D is good in moderation. Excessive vitamin D in the body can cause diarrhea (ew, who wants that?), muscle weakness, nausea, and excessive thirst.

Whew, that was a lot of lists. Let’s get to the important part already… where vitamin D is found in food!

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Salmon and avocado is a great combination for flavor. The vitamin D from the salmon and the fat from the avocado is a great combination for effective absorption of vitamin D in the body, since it’s a fat-soluble vitamin.

 

Vitamin D is found naturally in:

  • salmon
  • tuna
  • sardines
  • milk
  • eggs
  • cod liver oil
  • sunflower seeds
  • beef liver
  • some brands of yogurt
  • some brands of orange juice
  • basil

For more information of vitamin D and how much is in certain foods, check out this great article.

All is good in moderation, but knowing what’s in your food is important! Why is it healthy for you? What should you eat it?

Pretty soon, you’ll be all shaped up to kill in food trivia 😉

-K

 

Disclaimer: This blog does not provide medical advice, rather is simply an informational tool to broaden the readers understanding of various health topics. Seek the advice of a professional physician with questions regarding medical conditions or treatments. Relying on information read on this website is at your own risk.

What’s in Your Food?: Vitamin A

Let’s talk about Vitamin A. Did you know it’s also called retinol? Or that people with Celiac’s or Crohn’s Disease are often deficient in Vitamin A?

Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. This means many things. For example, foods that contain fat-soluble vitamins do not lose their nutritional value when cooked. Meaning, when you cook a carrot, the product has the same amount of Vitamin A before and after cooking. It also means, as it’s label, that this vitamin is soluble in fats – the vitamin is absorbed into fat molecules which helps the nutrients get absorbed into the body.

Being deficient in Vitamin A could lead to night blindness, or xerophthalmia. So if you ever wondered why they say carrots are good for your vision, it’s because carrots are high in Vitamin A, which promotes healthy vision.

There are loads of other heath benefits of Vitamin A. I could have you here all night if we talked about all of them, so I’ll stick to highlighting some main points. Besides healthy vision, Vitamin A can:

  • prevent abnormal blood clotting
  • protect the body from the air pollution toxins
  • help remove traces of lead from the body
  • aid in the protection of the body from toxic tobacco smoke
  • promote a regular appetite
  • relieve heartburn
  • resist against urinary tract infections
  • help those with AIDS
  • help prevent cancer of many types
  • stimulate the immune system
  • enhance white blood cell function
  • counteract insulin resistance
  • enhance memory
  • resist against the common cold
  • prevent bronchitis, respiratory tract infections, and pneumonia
  • aid in lactation (for the pregnant mama’s out there)
  • promote clear skin
  • alleviate male infertility
  • improve overall skin quality

I didn’t keep you all night, but that was a longer list than I anticipated. And it goes on, if you let it!

Now that we know there are many health benefits to Vitamin A, let’s talk about where it comes from. Sure, there are supplements in the form of pills. However, there are tons of great natural sources that Vitamin A comes from:

  • carrots
  • sweet potatoes
  • kale
  • spinach
  • apricots
  • broccoli
  • butter
  • eggs
  • pumpkins
  • cantaloupe
  • beef liver

Check out this awesome chart of plant-based sources of Vitamin A from Rebel Dietitian:

Top-Sources-of-Beta-Carotene-Plant-Based-Vitamin-A
From Rebel Dietitian

My goal in sharing the benefits of vitamins and minerals with you is to increase your knowledge of what is going in your body, and why these fruits or vegetables are good for you. Keep in mind, I am in no way a trained medical professional, simply just sharing with you what I have learned along the way.

It is important to know what you’re putting in your body, and that starts with what’s in your food.

As they say, you are what you eat!

-K

Disclaimer: This blog does not provide medical advice, rather is simply an informational tool to broaden the readers understanding of various health topics. Seek the advice of a professional physician with questions regarding medical conditions or treatments. Relying on information read on this website is at your own risk.