More and more research is showing just how important vitamin D is to your overall health.
The National Center for Health Statistics says more than one-third of Americans are Vitamin D deficient, and other research suggests that figure could be as high as 70%.
Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. It is available via diet, supplements and sunlight, which is why vitamin D is also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.”
Increased debate about the extended health benefits and required quantities of vitamin D prompted the Institute of Medicine to conduct a 24-month review on dietary reference intakes for vitamin D and calcium. Results validated the importance of vitamin D for its role in promoting bone growth and maintenance, and for the first time ever, the committee set a recommended intake level for vitamin D – 600 IU.
Vitamin D also is vital for the immune system, regulating inflammation, playing a role in cell growth and decreasing the risk for chronic diseases.
It seems that vitamin D deficiency makes us vulnerable to developing serious diseases over time. Maintaining a strong and vibrant immune system is something that should be practiced daily, not just when you are sick. Exercise, sunshine and a varied whole-foods diet are all effective daily tools for keeping your immune system in tip-top shape.
Vitamin D seems to be everywhere these days. In the grocery store you see food packages boasting that vitamin D can be found inside. A wide variety of brands of vitamin D supplements line the shelves in the pharmacy. And of course much can be found on the internet regarding the topic.
So how can you increase your intake of vitamin D? With mushrooms of course!
Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, but mushrooms are unique for being the only source in the produce aisle and one of the few non-fortified food sources. In fact, the Institute of Medicine recognizes mushrooms as the exception to the rule that plant foods don’t naturally contain vitamin D.
Who would ever think that you could enjoy something that awakens your palette with such an explosion, and it could still be good for you? Mushrooms!