Vitamin D: Are You Getting Enough?
Tuesday, July 03, 2012


When sunlight strikes our skin our bodies make vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin.  In warmer climates, 15 minutes of sunlight each day may be sufficient to get enough vitamin D.  If you live in New Jersey, however, it may not be that simple. Many Americans living in northern parts of the country are deficient in this vital nutrient after a winter spent indoors.

For decades we’ve known that vitamin D protects bone health.  In the past few years, scientists have learned it’s also linked with lower risk for heart disease, auto-immune diseases, cancer, and death. 

Based on new research, the Institute of Medicine raised the daily adequate intake in 2010 to 600 international units (IU) for kids and adults up to age 70 and 800 IU after age 71.

Do you spend 15 minutes in the sun most days?  If not, eat foods that are rich in vitamin D and consider taking a vitamin D supplement.  Food sources of vitamin D include tuna, salmon, eggs, and fortified milk, orange juice, and cereal.  Most multivitamins contain 400 to 600 IU of vitamin D.  If you take a multivitamin, you are likely getting enough if you also eat foods with vitamin D.  The best way to know if you need a supplement is to talk with your doctor about having your blood level of vitamin D checked.

For a jump start on getting more vitamin D in your diet, try these easy vitamin D rich recipes:

Easy Salmon Salad

Serves: 2 | Serving Size: 1 cup
Total Time: | Prep: | Cook:


7-oz. can pink salmon with bones, no salt
1/2 cup diced cucumber
3 Tbsp low-fat or nonfat mayonnaise
1/4 cup sliced green onion
2 cups dark green lettuce
2 tomatoes, cut in wedges


Toss salmon, cucumber, mayonnaise, and green onion together in a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 6 hours. Make a bed of lettuce and serve the salmon salad in the middle, garnished with the tomato wedges.

Salmon Burger

Serves: 4 | Serving Size:
Total Time: | Prep: | Cook:


16 ounces salmon fillet
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 tablespoon hot pepper sauce (tabasco)
4 slices 100% whole wheat bread
1 ripe tomato, sliced
1/2 cup of chopped onions


Preheat oven to 375 °F. Cut the salmon fillet in four pieces, and place in baking pan. Top with olive oil, lemon juice and pepper sauce. Bake for 20 minutes (uncovered) or until done.

Toast whole wheat bread and place lettuce on top of each toast, followed by the salmon fillet and top with tomatoes and onions. Serve as open-faced sandwiches.

Tuna Wrap Platter

Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 sandwich
Total Time: | Prep: | Cook:


6-ounce can albacore tuna, drained
1 cup diced ripe tomato
1/2 cup diced cucumber
1/4 cup sliced green onion
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
4 lowfat flour tortillas
4 cups ready-to-serve romaine lettuce
4 tablespoons nonfat salad dressing


Place tuna, vegetables and mayonnaise into medium-sized mixing bowl and mix together well. Warm flour tortillas slightly in microwave or toaster oven and roll each one with a quarter of the tuna salad. Cut the tuna roll in half diagonally and place on a plate.

Toss 4 cups lettuce with nonfat salad dressing and set next to tuna wraps.

© Food and Health Communications