There was an article that was featured on a popular health website regarding the Blue Zones in the world, where many of the population live to one hundred years old and beyond. A supplemental article written by Dan Buettner the original author, as he went on to give information about the eating habits of these centenarians which included consuming 95% of food from plants, daily consumption of fish, nuts, whole wheat, beans and staying hydrated by increasing water intake, plus a few other healthy tidbits of information. I was curious as to where the Blue Zones were geographically, which turned out to be pretty much sun-laden spots. They range from a Greek Island, a peninsula in Costa Rica, the island of Okinawa, Sardinia, another island, to Loma Linda, California. I put two and two together and surmised that because of sunshine beaming down on these regions; vitamin D could also be a reason for the longevity of these people.
It is my opinion that vitamin D should be an important supplement to add to our everyday lifestyle.The easiest way to benefit the receipt of this vitamin is exposure to the sun and Stephen Honig, MD director of the Osteoporosis Center at the Hospital for Joint Diseases states “if you’re going to get it from the sun, about 20 to 25 minutes of exposure is helpful.” Our skin pigment does have a tendency to block the light as we age, so fortunately there are other ways for our bodies to absorb this vitamin. Eating fatty fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna and eel will do the trick. Even canned tuna and portobello mushrooms contain this essential vitamin that we can add to our menus. In the dairy category most cow’s milk and yogurt in the U.S. are fortified with vitamin D, on the other hand sadly ice cream and cheese are not. There are even some soy and rice milks that are fortified, just check the labels. A few other means to get your vitamin D is orange juice, cod liver oil, fortified cereals, and vitamin supplements. Check with your doctor about how much you should be taking in. A daily recommendation by the Mayo Clinic is 600 IUs and if you’re over 70 it is 800 IUs, and just as important as controlling the proper intake is not to overdue and abuse it.
Vitamin D is essential for our bones, however recent research has proven that other ailments and disease will benefit from our daily recommended intake of this beneficial vitamin. We can lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, cognitive impairment in older adults, even some cancers. I always worry about exposing my skin to the sun because I am a melanoma survivor of 22 years, but 20 minutes will do no further damage if there is anymore that will resurface. Be a taker this time and get your dose of sun, fatty fish and other wonderful foods to help your body become a vessel of health and longevity by ingesting or soaking up the goodness of vitamin D!