May 03, 2020
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin because we synthesise it in our body when sunlight comes into contact with our skin. We have known for a long time that we need vitamin D to help maintain healthy bones, but in recent years we have also found that vitamin D has an important role to play in supporting our immune system. There is great concern that people just aren’t getting enough exposure to sunshine to manufacture their own vitamin D, which is especially concerning for those that are vulnerable or older in years, as their bodies desperately need a plentiful supply of this vitamin to remain strong.
We can find some vitamin D in oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel, eggs, liver and other offal, fortified margarines, fortified breakfast cereals and full fat milk – as well as our Nourish Drinks. So if you’re cooking for someone who can’t get outside much, or you want to supplement the amount of vitamin D in your diet, try including these ingredients when you cook. It can be as simple as scrambled eggs or as indulgent as a smoked salmon brunch. An economical childhood favourite of mine was mashed sardines on warm buttered toast with thinly sliced tomatoes and red onion on top. My mum also used to make smoked mackerel sandwiches dipped in beaten egg, then pan fried in butter – kind of a cross between eggy bread and a mackerel pate sandwich. Scrumptious! Now I almost always have a packet of smoked mackerel in the fridge.
Despite all these delicious dishes, our climate and lifestyle mean it’s virtually impossible to get the recommended amount of vitamin D, which is why we recommend taking a daily vitamin D supplement (10mcg for adults).
Covid-19 and vitamin D
A side effect of lockdown is a greater risk that we become deficient in vitamin D. Its role in preventing respiratory infections and improving immune response is especially important now and could be crucial if you are infected with Covid-19. As part of its Covid-19 response, Public Health England is now urging us to take vitamin D supplement daily during the ‘stay at home’ period.