Recently, I touted the wonders of real salad dressing (no additives, no low-fat crap, just the real deal). Probably a number of you were wondering how I could dare suggest you consciously eat something that contained olive oil AND full-fat mayonnaise. The nerve!
Well, today I'm going to talk about something that won't up your calorie intake but that's really important to your health: vitamin D. (Did I just hear a sigh of relief from the weight-loss blogosphere?)
While surfing some of my favourite sites, I came across a New York Times article that's a must-read. The title, "Phys Ed: Can Vitamin D Improve Your Athletic Performance?", unfortunately does not convey the importance of this vitamin for everyone, not just athletes.
First of all, it's important to realize that many of us suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. It's the sunshine vitamin, so those of us living in temperate climates that have four real seasons, are more likely to suffer from a vitamin D deficiency, especially in the winter. But even if you live in Florida, southern California or Australia, you too may be at risk since we tend to stay inside when the sun is blazing down, either due to discomfort or fear of skin cancer (climate change, anyone?).
Vitamin D is essential for bone health. We always think of upping our calcium intake if we've been diagnosed with osteopenia or worse yet, osteoporosis, but Vitamin D is equally important. Unfortunately, it's difficult to get a sufficient amount out of food alone.
I was diagnosed with osteopenia a few years ago and started taking calcium supplements, but only found out a few months ago that I was lacking in Vitamin D. My doctor prescribed 1,000 IU per day but my acupuncturist suggested considerably more. After doing a bit of research on the safety of large doses of Vitamin D, I decided that I could go for 4,000 IU. My most recent blood test indicates that I now am at a normal level. I'm really looking forward to my next bone scan in January. I'm hoping for good news.
Update: Please read this article, that gives much more valuable information on vitamin D. Thank you, Jacqueline!