When we are in the gym, it is our muscles that we are trying to get stronger. Then we eat certain foods that help our muscles get stronger too. Our bones are often a forgotten backing vocalist to the lead singer that is our muscles. Let’s not forget it is our skeleton that supports us throughout the day. Building an impressive muscular physique becomes much more challenging if we do not have to bone structure to support it.
That is where vitamin D comes in. All vitamins and minerals have different functions that help our bodies in some particular way. What vitamin D does is regulates calcium and phosphate in the body, which in turn ensures we maintain strong bone health. Of course this is all provided we acquire enough vitamin D throughout the day.
So where is the issue? Well most of the vitamins that we need can be found in a whole range of foods. Vitamin D is a little bit harder to get through our diet, simply because in comparison to the other vitamins, there are very few dietary sources of this vitamin.
There is no need to panic just yet. You are probably aware that most of the vitamin D that we need comes from our exposure to sunlight. So a great way to get more vitamin D is obviously getting more sun. That does present its own problem in that we are all too aware of the negative effects that over-exposure to the sun can cause, including sunburn and skin cancer. As always, if you are looking to expose yourself to direct sunlight, you need to take the necessary precautions.
But so many people around the world are classed as being deficient in vitamin D. This can lead to a softening of the bones, known as osteomalacia in adults, or rickets, in children. It is important to stress that this is quite rare, especially in the developed world, but that doesn’t mean that it should be treated with any less seriousness.
You will remember that I said there are very few dietary sources of vitamin D, not none. Luckily there are foods that we eat on a daily basis that can provide us with a much needed vitamin D boost.
- Oily Fish – Whether it is fresh salmon or tinned sardines, well-oiled fish is an effective source of vitamin D. Add this to the fact that you are getting important omega 3 fatty-acids and there really is no reason that we all shouldn’t be trying to incorporate these fish into our diets.
- Egg Yolk – I have spoken previously about the incredible nutrient profile of the egg yolk, so it is no surprise to find that it is an excellent source of vitamin D. Just remember though that too many eggs can lead to heightened levels of cholesterol that we would much rather avoid.
- Fortified Foods – The word fortified simply means to boost/improve the nutritive value of a food by adding vitamins. So any food fortified with vitamin D is ideal. Traditionally, the most common foods/drink to find that are fortified with vitamin D are milk, cereals and orange juice, which when you put them all together makes a rather nice breakfast meal!
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms act just like humans when it comes to vitamin D. Exposure to sunlight means that more vitamin D is produced. The problem is that most mushrooms tend to be grown in the dark. However, certain types of mushroom, portobello for example, are purposefully exposed to UV light by some companies to deliver a more nutrient-rich mushroom.
And of course there is always the option to use supplements. As always, I will recommend to try and get all the nutrients that you need without using supplementation but they are always available should you need them.
So if you know that you are lacking some vitamin D, or you simply feel like your bones are not strong enough, don’t worry! There are plenty of things that you can be doing.