Susie Burrell

‘your food, your body, your life’

Keeping an eye on your Vitamin D this Winter.

This is a sponsored post, brought to you by Tassal Salmon.

As we near the middle of Winter, you could be forgiven for feeling less than your best. It is pretty chilly out, the days are short and with plenty of us spending much more time indoors thanks to the impact of COVID, it can be hard to feel motivated. This time of year is also notorious for mood related issues, with up to 30% of Australian adults testing with low Vitamin D levels, a vitamin that plays a crucial role in the regulation of mood. So if you have not been feeling your best in recent weeks, have a history of low Vitamin D levels and/or are spending a considerable amount of time inside at the moment, here is everything you need to know about getting enough Vitamin D. 

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which is produced in the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D plays a large number of roles in the body including in helping calcium be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract to support the growth and maintenance of our bones, and also acts to control calcium levels in the blood. The biggest issue with low levels of Vitamin D over time is that it puts our bone health at considerable risk. Low Vitamin D results in high bone turnover, reduced bone density and an increased risk of fractures over time, especially in older people. On a daily basis low Vitamin D levels are linked to low mood, feelings of fatigue, joint and muscle pain and muscle weakness. During the Winter months, low Vitamin D levels become increasingly common as few of us get the amount of sunlight we need on a daily basis to maintain optimal levels throughout the Winter months. 

The other issue with getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D is that we get Vitamin D from a very small number of foods – egg yolks, oily fish including sardines and salmon, fortified milks and some types of mushrooms and for some of us who do not eat much fish, or who skip eggs or dairy it is highly likely we are not getting enough. For this reason, bumping up our intake of omega 3 and Vitamin D rich Tassal salmon and including it in our diets at least 2-3 times each week is a powerful way to significantly increase our dietary intake of Vitamin D. 

It is also extremely important to remember that sunshine is the primary source of Vitamin D for most people. Vitamin D is produced in the body when our skin cells are exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) light that we get from the sun. So when the rays are out, make a concerted effort to get out into them, for at least 10-15 minutes at a time. 

Most importantly, especially if you have not been feeling 100%, the first thing to do at this time of year is to have your Vitamin D levels checked via a blood test. Signs and symptoms of low Vitamin D include fatigue, muscle soreness, mood swings and low immunity. Next boost up your oral intake of Vitamin D with fortified milk, plenty of nutrient rich eggs and oily fish such as Tassal salmon or sardines at least 2-3 times each week. Finally if your levels are low or diagnosed as such, start some oral Vitamin D supplements daily to get your levels within normal range ASAP. 

Recipe: Breakfast Super Stack

Serves 1

Ingredients

1 egg 

1 large flat mushroom

1 Tassal Salmon Bacon Rasher

1 slice wholegrain or Sourdough

Handful baby spinach

Method

1. Heat BBQ hotplate and grill. Cook egg, mushroom and bacon to your liking.

2. Place bread on plate and top with spinach, mushroom, bacon and egg. Season with salt and pepper.