Recent studies show that bone and teeth health, as well as breast, colon and immune system health, can be improved simply by making sure you get enough vitamin D.
Senior citizens, especially, can be affected by low levels of vitamin D. According to a study published in the Archives of International Medicine, an estimated 40-100 percent of older adults in the United States are deficient in vitamin D. As a result, they can experience declines in thinking, learning and memory, and may have an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease. Additionally, this deficiency has been linked to bone fractures and various chronic diseases.
Since it can be very difficult to take in enough vitamin D through diet alone, many health experts recommend an increase to the Recommended Daily Allowance for vitamin D, suggesting you get a minimum of 2,000 IUs each day.
And while your body will naturally produce vitamin D when exposed to sunshine, doctors recommend you use sunblock when you go out to protect yourself from skin cancer — which prevents absorption of the vitamin. In addition, the lack of sunshine in many locations or a person’s lack of mobility — and therefore inability to go outdoors — means that many people are at risk for vitamin D deficiency.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to get the vitamin D you need:
• Take a nutritional supplement, readily available at your local pharmacy or grocery store .
• Add one tablespoon of white cod liver oil or other fish liver oils to your diet daily.
• Use mushrooms in salads and soups.
• Drink beverages fortified with vitamin D, such as milk, orange juice and soy.
• Breakfast or snack on cereal fortified with vitamin D.
• Include several varieties of fish in your diet, especially salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines.