Vitamin D is receiving lots of good press at the moment and its benefits seem to be far-reaching. From its role in building strong bones to heart health and even the prevention of certain cancers, vitamin D has many positives. Unfortunately, in Ireland we have poor levels of this important vitamin, due mostly to the fact that we do not get enough sunlight to produce vitamin D on our skin. Often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’, vitamin D is converted into its active form when we stretch our arms and legs out in the sun for a few minutes on a bright sunny day.
 
However, lack of sunlight and more awareness of the importance of using sunblock now mean that our levels of Vitamin D are critically low. In fact, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland now recommends that we should all take a daily supplement to ensure we don’t run short.
 
Vitamin D occurs naturally in foods but some of them are not commonly eaten every day and so our intakes can be less than perfect.
 
Good sources of vitamin D include:
  • Oily fish – herrings, mackerel, sardines, salmon, trout
  • Eggs – the yolk contains vitamin D
  • Fortified foods – some brands of milk, spreadable margarines and breakfast cereals have added vitamin D so check the label.
If these are not foods you regularly choose, you may need to talk to your GP or practice nurse about taking a supplement that includes vitamin D.
 
 

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