All about Vitamin D!

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Why do we need Vitamin D? 

Vitamin D is what you need to keep your bones healthy. It also keeps your muscles and teeth strong and in good condition. Along with other vitamins and minerals it supports your immune system to avoid colds and flu, and helps your body to absorb calcium. Extreme lack of Vitamin D can result in serious conditions like diabetes, respiratory diseases and even rickets. So you see it’s essential to get enough Vitamin D!   

Let the sunshine in

The best way to get Vitamin D is by exposing your skin to the sunshine.  Experts advise regular, short periods of sun during the summer months, without using sunscreen which blocks UVB rays. There is no official recommendation for how much time to spend in the sun, but probably around 15 minutes without sunscreen is fine for most children. After that you should cover up, and use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 to avoid burning. 

But we all know that between November and March the sun in UK can’t be relied on to shine! So lack of sunshine contributes to Vitamin D deficiency. So does your skin type and how old you are. As you age, your ability to absorb Vitamin D is reduced by 75%.

So you can see how important it to make sure you and your family are getting enough Vitamin D. Rather than rely on the sunshine, it’s recommended that you top up your levels of Vitamin D through your diet. 

At risk groups

Some people are more at risk of being low in Vitamin D including pregnant and breastfreeding women, people with dark skin, including people from African, African-Caribbean and South Asian backgrounds, babies (unless they are drinking formula milk), children aged under 5 and people over 65.

The elusive Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found in only a small number of foods. Oily fish like mackerel, tuna, sardines and salmon is a good source. So is red meat, dairy products like milk and yoghurt from grass-fed cows, eggs yolks, mushrooms that are grown in sunlight, and cod liver oil. Some breakfast spreads and cereals have added Vitamin D. All of these different foods can be eaten as part of a balanced diet, to make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D. 

The great news is that you can easily top up your intake of Vitamin D by drinking Sunny D. One 250ml glass of Sunny D contains half the recommended daily amount of Vitamin D that you need. That’s because they (health officials from Public Health England) say that children over the age of 1, and adults, need 10mg of Vitamin D per day. One glass of Sunny D contains 5mg of Vitamin D. So you can see that drinking a glass or two of refreshing delicious Sunny D is an easy way to make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D. 

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