Did you know vitamin D isn’t a vitamin at all? That’s right, it’s a hormone that requires other vitamins to metabolize. Vitamin D’s best friend is calcium. Vitamin D can’t metabolize without calcium and vice versa. We are seeing more and more research strengthening the credibility of the belief that together, this dynamic duo can prevent cancer, manage or prevent type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.
The Benefits Of Vitamin D
There are two types of vitamin D: D2 and D3. D2 is a manmade product, typically found in packaged or modified foods and supplements and can be quite difficult for our bodies to absorb. D3 on the other hand is naturally found in animal and plant-based products. It is the higher quality between the two and is much easier for our bodies to process.
As is the case with most prepackaged goods, there is a high probability that those vitamins and nutrients are manmade and far less useful in being absorbed by bodies.
When incorporated into your diet properly, the benefits of vitamin D can result in:
- Bone health
- Immune system
- Blood sugar level management
- Heart health
- Hormone balance
- Mood regulation
- Concentration and memory
- Radiant skin
Without proper amounts of metabolized vitamin D, it is common to experience things like:
- Weak or sensitive bones
- Sore muscles
- Poor immune health/frequent sickness
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Abnormal insulin levels
- Acne, eczema, psoriasis, or other types of dermal breakouts
On average adults should receive 400-800 UI or 10-20 micrograms of vitamin D per day. The number only climbs higher depending on an individual’s deficiency.
A plethora of things could contribute to a vitamin D deficiency. If you eat organic produce naturally rich in vitamin D and spend 15 minutes outside every day, there is a good chance your vitamin D levels are better than most. Having a darker complexion, wearing too much or low-quality sunscreen, or low-quality supplements can all contribute to a deficiency. Additionally, be mindful of inflammation and health conditions like Crohn’s and celiac diseases that negatively affect vitamin D’s ability to penetrate vital organs.
Foods To Metabolize Vitamin D
- Organic Dark Leafy Greens. Inorganic produce is sprayed with harmful pesticides that can do more damage than the deficiency itself. In addition to their copious calcium contents, foods like spinach, kale, and arugula are high in vitamin K, potassium, magnesium, iron, and other nutrients that support your heart, memory, weight management, and immune system.
- Wild-Caught Fish. Fresh catches like mackerel, salmon, and sardines are excellent sources of healthy fats, phosphorus, iron, zinc, magnesium, and other minerals. The ocean. Be sure to avoid farm-raised fish. They are raised on unnatural diets of corn and other fattening consumable substances lacking many nutrients, much less the nutrients their bodies are made for. We’re not just what we eat, but what our food is eating as well.
- Nuts And Seeds. Try almonds, cashews, and pistachios and explore making flours and crunchy snack medleys out of them. Seeds like chia, hemp, and flax can easily be added to other dishes as tasteless, unsuspecting agents bringing their A-game to our bodies’ fight for their health! They can also expand in certain environments and act as thickening agents like chia seeds do in chia pudding. Nuts and seeds contain unsaturated fats, loads of antioxidants, fiber, and plenty of nutrients that aid in cholesterol and weight management, prevention of diabetes, cancer, inflammation, and memory loss, as well as supporting brain health, and gut health.