Issue 16 • August 2013Recipes

The Sunshine Vitamin

If you think you are getting enough vitamin D from your diet alone, chances are you are wrong. Recent studies suggest that adults and children are not getting adequate intake of vitamin D in their diet. Modern lifestyles and increases in the use of sunscreen means that much of the population does not provide their bodies sun exposure, and sunshine is essential to produce vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is obtained through sunlight exposure, food, and other dietary supplements. Vitamin D plays an important role in calcium absorption, sustaining phosphorus and calcium levels in the blood, bone health, inflammation, gene expression, neuromuscular and immune function, and the variation of cell growth.

There are two forms of vitamin D: D2 and D3. Both forms of vitamin D are converted in the liver to calcidiol and is converted in the kidneys to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol). Vitamin D3 is more commonly used because it is the biologically active form of vitamin D.

More current research suggest that vitamin D can also play a very important role in the prevention of several diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, heart disease, several types of cancers, Parkinson’s, dementia, hypertension, diabetes, and obesity.

Vitamin D deficiency may be more common than we assumed. Certain auto-immune diseases, such as lupus, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis have shown vitamin D deficiencies. It is known that Vitamin D affects the function and amount of T-cells, T-helper lymphocytes, and B-cells. These cells play an important role in the immune system. T-cells help maintain the immune systems health, T-helper lymphocytes are white blood cells that assist other white blood cells in the immune system, and B-cells make antibodies that fight off attacks on the immune system. It is because of this association that doctors decided to research the link between vitamin D deficiencies and auto-immune diseases. Another study that was published in November 2001 in The Lancet followed children born in Finland in 1966 for 30 years. The children that received supplemental vitamin D during the first year of life had a lower risk for developing type 1 diabetes, and those with vitamin D deficiency during first year of life had a significantly high risk of developing type 1 diabetes. Although there is suggestive evidence that vitamin D supplementation may help prevent disease and cancer, there are not any studies that suggest giving large doses of vitamin D to prevent disease.

Foods that contain vitamin D are cod, salmon, swordfish, tuna, milk, eggs yolk, yogurt, sardines, liver, and fortified ready to eat cereals.

Grilled Rosemary-Salmon Skewers

2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned (see Tip) and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry tomatoes

Preheat grill to medium-high.
Combine rosemary, oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add salmon; toss to coat. Alternating the salmon and tomatoes, divide among eight 12-inch skewers.
Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the skewers, carefully turning once, until the salmon is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 172 calories; 7 g fat ( 1 g sat , 3 g mono ); 53 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 23 g protein; 1 g fiber; 200 mg sodium; 607 mg potassium.

Recipe obtained from For more information and nutrition counseling please visit or call 904-419-3773.

Laura Rellihan

Laura Rellihan

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