Thursday, February 19, 2009

Change One Thing Challenge: Down with D

So we tried sleeping more and adding meditation to our daily routines, now it's time for a new challenge. This time we thought we'd venture into the kitchen and explore our daily diets. Nope we're not turning into Iron Chefs or performing quickfire challenges a la Top Chef, but we're planning to pay more attention to the vitamins and minerals we're feeding our systems, specifically vitamin D.

Why? Because we're living among a D-deficient population and recent studies show that it's hurting our health. And the downfall is that it's a hard vitamin to get--we can pick up the daily recommended amount from sunlight soaking into the skin, but for those of us piling on the layers in the winter, living above 35 degrees latitude, we miss out all winter. Vitamin D helps calcium absorb into the body and maintain the proper levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood stream. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and breast and colon cancer while staving off depression by stimulating serotonin production and keeping muscle function in check.

After a winter bundled up in Chicago I'm beginning to think that a lack of vitamin D might be contributing to my lethargic bouts. I'm not exactly planning any trips to the Caribbean any time soon, so sparking my system through sunlight is out. Time to turn to the grocery store to stock my shelves with D-fortified foods--with few ways to naturally find D in foods, some products are fortified with it. Some top choices: salmon, sardines, tuna (canned in oil), milk, fortified cereal, fortified orange juice, egg yolk, cheeses and yogurt. The Department of Agriculture states that an adequate intake value for vitamin D for people up to 50 years old is 200 IUs, a number that even several of these recommended foods don't approach in a single serving.

I have a fridge stocked with milk, yogurt and eggs, and a medicine cabinet with a stash of Gummy Vites multivitamins--and 100 percent of the D daily value--as a fail-safe. Time to check those D levels. Who's with us? Ready, set, go! Photo grabbed from iprole at stock.xchng. Posted by Kate

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