Focus on wellness: Why is vitamin D important?

Vitamin D. We know we need it, and that many foods are "fortified" with it—and that our bodies create it when we go out in the sun. So why do we need to be concerned about vitamin D deficiencies?

Not getting enough vitamin D can result in fatigue, bone pain, muscle weakness, frequent falls, or bone fractures—all of which can affect your general well-being and your ability to perform every day at your best. In its severest form, vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets (bone weakening in children) or osteomalacia (bone softening in adults).

In addition to good bone health, there is ongoing research suggesting that getting the recommended daily amount of vitamin D can prevent certain cancers, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes.

Among those most at risk for vitamin D deficiency are people with 9-to-5 desk jobs, those who are overweight, people with dark skin, the elderly, and breastfeeding infants.

Here's some advice from HR about how to make sure that you and your loved ones are getting what you need.

  • Foods fortified with vitamin D will say so on their label. Good sources are cereals, milk, orange juice, and yogurt. Foods with naturally occurring vitamin D are egg yolks, sardines, beef liver, Swiss cheese, and fatty fish such as salmon and tuna.

  • Our bodies generate vitamin D after exposure to the sun. National Institutes of Health guidelines suggest that up to 30 minutes of sun exposure to the face, arms, legs, or back without sunscreen between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice a week will produce sufficient vitamin D. Of course, use caution when soaking up the rays and never stay outside in sunlight without sunscreen for too long.

  • The recommended daily allowance for everyone up to age 70 is 600IU. Consult your doctor if you have concerns about not getting enough vitamin D.

Fun in the sun this summer will help you get some vitamin D. But you can boost your intake with this recipe for seared salmon with mushroom and asparagus rice pilaf.

Seared Salmon Fillets with Mushroom and Asparagus Rice Pilaf
Serves: 4
Serving size: 1 fillet and 1 cup pilaf

4 4-ounce salmon fillets
Cooking spray
Juice of 1 lemon
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup of brown rice
2 1/2 cups of sodium-free chicken stock
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 8-ounce container of button mushrooms, diced
1 bundle of asparagus (about 15 sprigs), cut into half-inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a sauté pan with cooking spray, heat on medium. Sauté onion, mushrooms, and asparagus for 3–5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add rice, chicken stock, and cooked vegetables to a 9-by-11 baking pan, cover with tinfoil. Cook in oven for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, lightly spray salmon filets with cooking spray. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and thyme.

Place salmon skin side up on oven-safe sauté pan over medium high heat. Cook until golden sear on salmon, approximately 2–3 minutes. Flip filets; cover pan and place in oven for 10–15 minutes, until cooked all the way through.

Allow salmon to rest, away from heat, for 3–5 minutes before serving.

Posted in Health+Well-Being

Tagged hr newswire