Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Remember those old milk commercials? A scrawny kid gets tired of being the littlest guy on the team. So he chugs a glass of milk. And voila, he's bigger and stronger. "Milk. It does a body good."

And it's true. Drinking milk is good for your bones, body, and health. But it's not going to supercharge your growth. However, it does contain vitamin D, which your body needs to build strong bones, teeth, and muscles. That's important for everyone, from little kids who are still growing to seniors enjoying their retirement years.

So is milk to best source of vitamin D? No. It's also found in fish, fortified cereals and drinks, tofu, dairy products, eggs, and soy. But even if you ate a ton of these foods, you probably wouldn't be getting the amount of vitamin D you need for best health.

Officials from Public Health England recently announced new vitamin D recommendations that suggest most people should take a vitamin D supplement, in addition to eating vitamin D-rich foods. Researchers found that people an estimated one in five people living in the northern hemisphere have low vitamin D levels.

Why? Food choices are certainly a factor. But it's not the only reason. Lack of sun exposure is another. In fact, when your skin is exposed to sunlight it produces vitamin D. But if you live in the northern hemisphere or spend most of your time indoors, you're not getting the sun exposure you need to naturally produce enough vitamin D.

Adults need at least 600 to 800 IU/day of vitamin D for best health, according to the National Institutes of Health. Your diet, a vitamin D supplement, and sun exposure can help you do that. And it's important. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to bone pain, muscle weakness, high blood pressure, and depression. It's even been linked to heart disease, certain types of cancer, and mental health problems.

If you think you're not getting enough vitamin D in your diet, ask your doctor about a simple blood test to measure your vitamin D levels. A vitamin D supplement, sun exposure, and vitamin D-rich foods may be just what you need. And you find plenty of options to choose from on our Portion Control menu like Breaded Fish & Alfredo Spinach Sauce, Sweet Potatoes & Cauliflower, Breakfast Scramble with Asparagus and Hash Browns, Cheese Manicotti & Vegetable Alredo, Four Season Vegetables & Broccoli, and many others.