Spring has arrived, and the sun is starting to stay out longer. This may not only make us happier, but it may also make us healthier. Our bodies make vitamin D, known as the “sunshine vitamin”, when the natural light hits our skin. Vitamin D promotes the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and helps deposit these two minerals in bones and teeth making them stronger. Research suggests that vitamin D may not only be good for bone health, but also for other diseases, including heart disease and different types of cancers.
The current recommended amount of vitamin D per day is 400 IU (International Units) for infants up to 12 months, 600 IU for children and adults up to 70 years old, and 800 IU for those 71 and older. 600 IU is equivalent to five cups of milk! Obviously, there are other sources besides milk and the sun to get vitamin D: Canned salmon and sardines, liver, and egg yolks contain vitamin D, and some fortified breakfast cereals and orange juice also contain the vitamin, but in smaller amounts.
Try to get your vitamin D from food sources before taking supplements. However, if you feel that you are not getting enough or you have any of the risk factors for vitamin D deficiency, you may benefit from a supplement. First, talk with your doctor about testing for vitamin D deficiency, and if a supplement is right for you.
Simple Salmon Sliders (Printable PDF)
1 can (14.75 ounces) salmon
1 egg, slightly beaten
½ cup breadcrumbs
Zest of ½ lime
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon low-sodium soy sauce
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 whole wheat slider buns
Spray indoor grill or non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Heat to medium heat. In a medium bowl, combine salmon, egg, breadcrumbs, lime peel zest, mustard, ginger, cilantro, low-sodium soy sauce, and salt and pepper, if desired. Using clean hands, form mixture into 6 salmon patties. Grill (or cook in a skillet) on medium heat for 4 minutes on each side. Top with grilled pineapple rings, avocado, goat cheese, or tartar sauce and pair with a whole wheat bun.
Yield: 3 servings, 2 sliders each
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 430 calories, 13 grams fat, 1190 milligrams sodium, 44 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 41 grams protein
Source: National Institutes of Health, Vitamin D