Our bodies can obtain vitamin D from our diet and make it from sun exposure. Even with these two routes however, inadequate vitamin D is common. More concerning, being “D-ficient” may increase the risk of many chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, some cancers, multiple sclerosis, and even infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and the seasonal flu! For most people, the best way to get enough vitamin D is by taking a supplement, but the level in most multivitamins (400 IU) is too low. If the multivitamin you take does not have 1,000 IU of vitamin D, you may want to consider adding a separate vitamin D supplement, especially if you don’t spend much time in the sun. Some providers may even recommend up to 2000 IU of vitamin D per day for older adults to protect bones and prevent falls. Ask your provider what the recommended dose is for you! In addition to taking a vitamin D supplement, aim for vitamin D-rich foods including dairy products such as low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese (watch portion size!) and breakfast cereals (fortified with vitamin D). Fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are also great sources of vitamin D as well as being heart healthy. To get some sun exposure, take a 20-minute walk outside at lunchtime to soak in some rays…even the winter months can bring sunshine so, bundle up and enjoy!
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