ingredient for bone and teeth health and development in children (and adults ), alongside calcium, protein and a good exercise routine. It also helps your immune system, and can help balance hormones.
Vitamin D is naturally produced by your body when your skin is directly exposed to the uv rays of the sun for 20 to 25 minutes a day without sunscreen. And although the sun has been shining this week, sadly, living on the West coast of Ireland, the sun does not make a regular appearance, so we could be at risk of being deficient in vitamin d unless we top up our levels by eating foods rich in vitamin d or by taking supplements.
There are a few foods that are naturally rich in vitamin d including oily fish, eggs, mushrooms, liver and other foods like fortified cereals and milk that can help raise levels of vitamin d in your family.
The best fish for vitamin d are fresh salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines, eel and tuna. A small portion of each will give you the recommended daily 5ug of vitamin d for children and adults.
Good ways to encourage younger members of the family to eat these fish are to add them to fish cakes, fish pie or make a homemade chowder. You could also cook fish like salmon and trout with a little oil and lemon juice wrapped in a parchment paper parcel in the oven and serve with salad or mashed potatoes. Alternatively poach them and serve with mashed potatoes and vegetables or add to a creamy sauce and serve with pasta. Fresh mackerel and sardines are tasty coated in flour and pan fried or cooked simply on the barbecue and a tuna steak is perfect lightly marinated in soy sauce, crushed garlic and ginger and pan fried or barbecued.
Canned tuna and sardines are also a good source of vitamin d. So adding tinned tuna or sardines to lunch boxes, sandwiches or salads is a tasty way to incorporate them into the family diet.
Eggs are another good source of vitamin d. It is found in the yolk, so you need to be eating the whole egg to get the benefit. You could make scrambled eggs, an omelette or a frittata for lunch or tea and add fresh mushrooms, which are also a source of vitamin d, as an extra boost. Or consider giving everyone in the family a boiled egg for breakfast or for lunch.
If you find your family isn’t keen on vitamin d rich foods, you may need to buy fortified orange juice, milk of dairy products to help increase their intake of this essential vitamin.
Or maybe we should go back to the good old days of a spoon of cod liver oil for everyone in the family as a start to their day! Although you may have more luck with the capsules. For more advice on your family’s health check out www.mykidstime.com