More Sri Lankans are rejecting a meaty diet (waving a sad goodbye to deviled beef and chicken) and looking for alternative sources of protein that are healthier. Seafood is ideal of this, and hailing from an island nation there is no shortage of fresh seafood to be found!
Seafood doesn’t just mean fish curry – there is a much greater variety. Fish alone has dozens of types from the delicious pink salmon to the chewy tuna. Prawns are great steamed or grilled and crab meat can be mixed into just about anything (my personal favourite is rice, but it’s amazing as a soup base too). Squid is delicious and goes well with many vegetables, and if you are feeling fancy then oysters are available too. Steam, grill, bake, roast – the possibilities are endless!
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin, in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It also comes naturally in a few foods.
After the body takes in vitamin D, it converts it to an active form by the liver and then the kidneys. The body must have vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Too little vitamin D results in soft bones in children (rickets) and fragile, misshapen bones in adults (osteomalacia). We also need vitamin D for other important body functions.
Health benefits of Vitamin D
Promotes healthy bones
Vitamin D stimulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus into the body, both of which are essential for maintaining bone health.
Vitamin d may help with weight loss
FGetting adequate amounts of vitamin D has been linked to the ability to lose more weight. In a study by the University of Cambridge, subjects who took calcium and vitamin D supplements daily lost more weight than those who took a placebo pill. The research suggested that the extra calcium and vitamin D worked as appetite suppressants. In a Journal of Women’s Health Study, women with insufficient vitamin D levels were more susceptible to weight gain than those with adequate amounts. .
Vitamin D may reduce depression
In a Journal of Internal Medicine study, research showed that people with depression who received vitamin D supplements experienced an improvement in their symptoms.
Helps to regulate insulin levels
Help strengthen oral health
As vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium, it plays a crucial role in supporting oral health, lowering the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Promotes muscle health
Along with its bone-building abilities, vitamin D is also influential in strengthening muscles.
Improves immunity, along with the brain and nervous system
Vitamin D regulates the expression of genes that influence the immune system. This means that Vitamin D assists the body to attack and destroy bacteria, viruses, and infections.
Aids in reducing inflammation
It helps prevent diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis.
How can I tell if I am Vitamin D deficient?
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency includes fatigue and weakness, mood swings, depression, bone pain and stress fractures (tiny cracks in a bone). Lack of vitamin D lowers immunity making you prone to get sick more often. In addition, hair loss, fibromyalgia, obesity and muscle complications.
Causes of vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency may occur with time due to several reasons described below.
Vitamin D deficient diet
If you are on a strict vegan diet or suffer from dietary allergies, you may be at a risk for vitamin D deficiency as most of the natural sources of vitamin D are animal-based.
Limited exposure to sunlight
You may be at risk of vitamin D deficiency if your exposure to sunlight is limited as the body makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. Using sunscreen may affect vitamin D levels.
Having darker skin
The higher the levels of melanin, the less vitamin D the skin can absorb.
Studies have also shown that being obese is correlated with low vitamin D levels. Being overweight may affect the bioavailability of vitamin D.
Certain medical conditions
Medical conditions that affect the gut and digestion, such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease, can affect your intestine’s ability to absorb vitamin D from the food you eat.
The health of the liver and kidneys
Kidney and liver diseases may reduce the amount of an enzyme needed to change vitamin D to a form that is used in the body. Lack of this enzyme leads to an inadequate level of active vitamin D in the body.
As people age, their kidneys are less able to convert vitamin D to its active form, thus increasing their risk of vitamin D deficiency.
The environment you live in
Due to pollution particles in the air can block UVB rays and prevent them from reaching the skin.
How do you test for vitamin D deficiency?
The most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is by getting a blood test done. Best to consult your doctor prior to taking the test.
What are the sources of vitamin D?
You can get vitamin D in a variety of ways. These include: Being exposed to the sun. So short walk or simply standing in a sunny area. Through foods, such as fish, red meat, liver, egg yolks and fortified foods such breakfast cereals Start a daily vitamin D supplement