Jena DeMoss: April showers leaving you in the dark? Bring on the sunshine with Vitamin D

Published 6:34 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2022

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If you need a pick-me-up after the long winter months, look no further than Vitamin D! Vitamin D can be the tool you need to provide your body with mood-boosting, disease-fighting and bone-building benefits. Add Vitamin D-rich foods to your grocery list and enjoy time in the sun while your body manufactures Vitamin D to reap all of its benefits. 

What is the buzz behind Vitamin D? Vitamin D’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and neuroprotective properties support immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity. In addition, Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin your body needs for building and maintaining healthy bones. Your body can only absorb calcium, the primary component of bone, when Vitamin D is present. Your body also makes Vitamin D when direct sunlight converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of the vitamin (calciferol). Studies show that Vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation. Many of the body’s organs and tissues have receptors for Vitamin D, which suggest important roles beyond bone health benefits.

Vitamin D is not naturally found in many foods; however, vitamin D can be found in salmon, eggs, mushrooms and fortified foods. Use these simple ways to incorporate these vitamin D-rich foods into your diet:

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• Salmon — Add cooked or smoked salmon to any fresh green salad for a vitamin D and protein boost.

• Eggs — Eggs are not just for breakfast! Consider hard-boiled eggs for a vitamin D-rich afternoon snack.

• Mushrooms — Try the “blend” by adding chopped mushrooms to ground beef to increase volume while reducing overall saturated fat content and provide a good source of vitamin D.

Wanting to learn more about Vitamin D? Our dietitian team is very excited about our external launch of Vitamine, our personalized vitamin subscription program! Vitamine was created to help individuals continue to meet their health and wellness goals, especially when there is a large selection of vitamins available for customers that can be confusing. It is a dietitian-led program; if you need additional help, you know that you are getting support from food and nutrition experts. You can also take the quiz at for personalized recommendations from our team of dietitians.

Enjoy this delicious Vitamin D-filled recipe:

Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms

Serves 6

All you need

• 2 (10-oz each) pkg Hy-Vee signature large portabella mushroom caps

• 2 tbsp Hy-Vee Select olive oil, divided

• Hy-Vee salt, to taste

• Hy-Vee ground black pepper, to taste

• 1 (15-oz) can Bush’s reduced-sodium garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

• 2 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes

• 1 cup chopped zucchini

• 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

• 1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped

• 4 oz Kraft pepper jack cheese, shredded

• ¼ cup tahini

• 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

• ¼ cup water

All you do

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper; set aside. Wipe mushrooms clean; scrape out the gills and remove the stems. Place mushrooms, cap sides down, on prepared baking pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

2. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat while mushrooms are roasting. Add garbanzo beans and sweet potatoes; cook for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in zucchini and red and yellow bell peppers.

3. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Spoon sweet potato mixture into each mushroom. Top with cheese. Roast 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

4. Whisk together tahini and lemon juice; whisk in water until smooth. Serve with mushrooms.

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