The Sunshine Vitamin

The Sunshine Vitamin

By Eva Sorrentino, MS, RD, LD

Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is produced by the body as a result of sun exposure. The body needs this vitamin for a variety of reasons. Vitamin D is important for maintaining bone health and keeping teeth healthy. As you can imagine, this vitamin is vital to younger children. Additionally, Vitamin D helps protect against some cancers, muscle weakness, and diabetes. It too plays a role in kidney health, reducing heart disease and high blood pressure and even helps with mood disorders like depression.

Of course, in the winter months in southern Idaho, it is difficult for our bodies to make enough Vitamin D. With fewer sunshine hours, an increase in indoor activities and multiple layers of clothing, many of us may need to find ways to supplement. The following foods are top sources of Vitamin D:

  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Mushrooms
  • Canned tuna
  • Liver
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Fortified orange juice
  • Fortified dry breakfast cereals

Incorporating more vitamin D into your diet may be as simple as testing out a new recipe.

Maple Salmon

maple glazed salmon with a side saladPrep 10 min Cook 20 min Ready in 1 hr

1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound salmon

In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.
Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.


Spiced Hot Chocolate

white cup filled with hot cocoa4 cups prepared hot cocoa with 1% milk
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon chili powder
4 cinnamon sticks

Combine cocoa, nutmeg and chili powder. Pour into mugs and serve with a cinnamon stick.