As we head into a dark and cold winter (for some of us, it feels like it's already here), we'll start missing out not only on the sunshine, but also the vitamin D it gives to our bodies.
"Our bodies need vitamin D to help absorb calcium and phosphorous to maintain strong bones and teeth," says registered dietitian dietitian Shauna Lindzon. "It can also protect us against infections by keeping our immune system healthy."
Not getting enough vitamin D can cause calcium and phosphorus levels in our blood to decrease, which basically removes the calcium from our bones, notes Health Canada. Children and adults from ages nine to 70 should have about 600 IU (or 15 mcg) of vitamin D in a day.
Typical foods with vitamin D include fatty fish and milk products. Lindzon recommends fatty fish as the best vitamin D option. For people who are vegan, she suggests taking a vitamin D supplement.
During these colder months, Lindzon says all Canadians should take vitamin D supplements or stock up on their vitamin D foods. But before you grab a supplement bottle, ask your doctor for a blood test first. "It is estimated that approximately 70 per cent of Canadians have a low level of vitamin D in their blood and will require supplementation to raise it," she notes.
To start, Lindzon has come up with a list of 12 everyday healthy foods that will give us that much-needed vitamin D boost in the winter: