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Eating your way to health

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Every month we'll be calling on nutritionist and health writer, Emma Bardwell, to give us the intel on the latest in the world of wellbeing. With a 14k Instagram following and a much visited blog, it's fair to say Emma has her finger firmly on the pulse. Here she tells why we should all consider checking our vitamin D status. 
 
Vitamin D - or the sunshine vitamin as it's known - is actually a hormone that we make after exposing our skin to the sun. It's made of fat-soluble compounds - the most important ones being D2 and D3 - which help to increase gut absorption of things like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc, which are crucial for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. Research has linked vitamin D deficiency to an increased likelihood of getting colds and flu, as well as poor bone health, SAD and depression - among others. 
 
Unfortunately, lack of sun exposure during winter months means that many of us are low in vitamin D, which is why the Department for Health advises people to consider taking a 10 mcg supplement from October to March. I'm not a huge fan of pills over food but in this case there does seem to be a good case. I particularly like a D3 and K2 combination as marrying the two helps bind calcium in the bone matrix. NutriAdvanced do a good one here.
 
You can also get vitamin D from food, but sources are quite limited. Try oily fish, egg yolks, Portobello mushrooms and fortified foods such as plant milks and some cereals. For a double whammy of calcium and vitamin, plump for canned salmon and sardines - great on wholemeal toast as a snack or added into fish cakes.
 
If you're already talking a multivitamin, check the label for dosages as you're probably covered. Although uncommon, it is possible to overdose. If you feel you might be deficient or are worried at all, ask your GP for a blood test to check your levels.
 
 

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