Does your lifestyle boast a healthy work-life balance?
For some, or dare I say most, we’re spending a lot of our waking hours in the workplace, scraping through the daily grind. And if you’re lucky enough, you might get a one or two week reprieve each year.
This unhealthy lifestyle – largely indoors – continues to take its toll on public health from different angles. Some alarming new research published in the British Journal of Nutrition has concluded that 1 in 3 people are now vitamin D deficient, a deficiency which leads to poor bone and muscle health, especially later in life. The study was a large systematic review which looked at almost 200 vitamin D studies from 44 different countries.
Considering our bodies can quite simply obtain vitamin D from the sun, it seems our office lifestyles continue to burden our physical health just as much as our mental health.
The Time to Shine
Given our aging population and the almost four-fold increase in hip fracture rates due to osteoporosis since 1990, International Osteoporosis Foundation CEO Judy Stenmark stated, “…public health officials must address the impact of inadequate vitamin D status on fracture risk and overall health in their ageing populations as well as on children and adolescents.”
And now with winter around the corner, exposure to sunlight becomes even more infrequent. Those at risk often don’t even get the opportunity to see the sun, let alone the time to laze in a deck-chair soaking up the rays. Subsequently, and ironically, this is when vitamin D supplements get their time to shine.
But rather than relying on laboratory-made supplements (some of which may be bad for your health) to solve life’s troubles, we can instead turn to these three nutritious foods to get a natural, healthy vitamin D fix:
The power of mushrooms is no secret: they’re not quite a fruit nor vegetable, have their own unique taste known as umami and boast the muscle of the amino acid ergothioneine.
Now there’s new research out of Sydney University which has found 3 or 4 small mushrooms (about 100g) are in fact able to generate enough vitamin D for the average person’s daily requirements.
So what’s the catch, you ask? Well, just like humans, the mushrooms simply need exposure to sunlight to generate vitamin D2 – the most bioavailable form of vitamin D.
Most store-bought mushrooms are grown in the dark, and thus don’t contain much vitamin D at time of purchase. To solve this issue, just let your mushrooms bask in the sunlight (or light from a UV light bulb) for 2-3 hours and voila! You’ve got yourself a natural, effective vitamin D “supplement.”
Best part of all, exposure to UV light doesn’t affect the texture or taste.
Salmon is another very rich source of vitamin D, but it’s not entirely that black and white. Despite being much fattier, farmed salmon usually contains far fewer omega-3s and other vitamins than wild-caught varieties — and that includes far less vitamin D. Farmed salmon are often fed antibiotics too.
So when choosing your salmon, it’s certainly worth the money to go for wild-caught varieties over farmed whenever possible.
Much the same as salmon, eggs can be a very rich source of vitamin D, but it’s dependant on where those eggs came from. Studies have shown that eggs of pasture raised hens with a natural diet of grasses and bugs have 4-6 times the amount of vitamin D than eggs from caged hens.
That’s a huge difference. In fact, caged hens produce eggs that are nutritionally inferior in almost every aspect. So it’s pretty obvious what the best choice here is for both you and the chickens.
It’s now more crucial than ever in our cubicle-driven lives to consider what foods make it onto our fork, and just how that food was raised. Choose the right foods from the right places and you’ll boast healthy bones, from dawn til dusk.