You’ve probably heard about how Vitamin D deficiency in the cold, dark months is more common than it is when you’re spending endless time outdoors in the Spring and Summer.
What you probably didn’t know, is that Vitamin D deficiency can cause health problems like weak and brittle bones in both children and adults – as it is the primary nutrient that helps in absorption of calcium.
Unfortunately, some Americans aren’t getting enough vitamin D in their diets on a regular basis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that up to 31 percent of African Americans in the U.S. lack sufficient amounts of vitamin D. While getting enough sun exposure is one way to go about it, including vitamin D-rich foods in your diet daily or taking a vitamin D supplement helps ensure you’re meeting your body’s needs without exposing yourself to sun damage.
How Much Do You Need?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 15 micrograms for adult men and women and 20 micrograms daily for older adults over age 70, notes the Office of Dietary Supplements. If your diet lacks sufficient amounts of vitamin D, consider a supplement containing vitamin D.
Because your body can store up excess vitamin D,y you should not exceed the tolerable upper intake level (maximum safe daily amount) which is 100 micrograms daily for all adults.
Vitamin D-Rich Foods
A variety of foods are rich in vitamin D. Dairy foods like cow’s milk and yogurt are excellent sources. Fish is also generally very rich in vitamin D. Drinking vitamin D-fortified orange juice, soy milk, or almond milk is another way to boost vitamin levels in your diet. Some breakfast cereals are good sources of vitamin D if they are fortified with this essential nutrient, but check the nutrition facts label to determine if vitamin D has been added. Egg yolks are also a good source of vitamin D.
What about Sunlight?
Exposing yourself to sunlight regularly is another way to meet your body’s daily vitamin D requirements because your body can convert it into the vitamin.
MedlinePlus notes that getting 10 or 15 minutes of sunshine three times per week on your face, arms, legs, or back without using sunscreen is all you really need. So it should be noted that cloudy days, sun exposure through a window, or sun exposure after applying sunscreen do not count as adequate sources. While sunlight does help your body meet daily vitamin D requirements, unprotected sun exposure without sunscreen can increase your risk for skin cancer as well.
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