Our bodies need vitamin D for many reasons. Vitamin D works with calcium and phosphorus to grow strong bones and teeth and controls calcium levels in our blood. It also gives a boost to our immune systems. Studies show that a lack of vitamin D is associated with autoimmune diseases and can impact our immune systems, leading to infection. As vitamin D supports the cells that fight disease, it helps your body regulate immune responses and has anti-inflammatory effects. The right levels of vitamin D can help prevent some chronic diseases, like cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Nearly half of Americans have low levels of vitamin D. Breast-fed infants, seniors, those with specific health issues, people with darker skin tones and those who spend little time outdoors tend to be at a higher risk of low levels of vitamin D.
Fortified foods like milk, juice, soy drinks, cheese and yogurts are the most common sources of vitamin D in our diets. Find out if a food or drink has vitamin D by looking for the word “fortified” on the label, or checking the ingredients for added vitamins.
Vitamin D is also found in fatty fishes, beef liver, egg yolks and mushrooms. You can even get vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” through the sun’s rays by standing in sunlight for about 15 minutes. Be careful, though, as too much unprotected time in the sun can be harmful. If you are going to spend more than 15 minutes in the sun, remember to put on some sunscreen.
Always talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement, as some may react with other drugs you may be taking. Your doctor may also need to first test your blood to check your vitamin D levels.
Don’t have a doctor? Log in to your member account at members.bcidaho.com, select Tools & Resources, then Find a Provider to choose one. You can also choose a doctor by calling the Blue Cross of Idaho Customer Service Department at the number on the back of your member ID card.
Ricotta and Yogurt Parfait
Are you looking to add more vitamin D to your diet? Try this yummy parfait for a no-cook breakfast that’s packed with vitamin D.
3/4 cup nonfat, vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 cup raspberries
1 tablespoon slivered almonds
1 teaspoon chia seeds
Mix the yogurt, ricotta and lemon zest in a bowl. Top the mixture off with raspberries, almonds and chia seeds.
Serving size: about 1-1/4 cups
Per serving: 272 calories; 9.6 g total fat; 3.4 g saturated fat; 24 mg cholesterol; 119 mg sodium; 398 mg potassium; 25.1 g carbohydrates; 5.1 g fiber; 14 g sugar; 21.7 g protein; 251 IU vitamin A; 9 mg vitamin C; 19 mcg folate; 385 mg calcium; 1 mg iron; 46 mg magnesium; 6 g added sugar
Exchanges: 1/2 fruit, 1 fat-free milk, 1 medium-fat meat, 1 fat
Posted: June 28, 2021