Jena DeMoss: Shining light on Vitamin D

Published 5:39 pm Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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You may have heard vitamin D referred to as the sunshine vitamin, but did you know you can also find this nutrient in food? During the winter months, while you may not be catching those rays, this is especially important.  In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 41.6% of the population is deficient in vitamin D.

If you are wondering whether you are currently getting enough Vitamin D, you will need to take a blood test. While your doctor or other medical professional can advise what levels may be right for you as an individual, for most people, this lab value should be within the range of 30-50 ng/mL. This vitamin D range can be reached through lifestyle habits such as sun exposure, diet and supplementation.

Our main source of vitamin D comes from the sun, as our bodies can convert ultraviolet rays to make vitamin D. During the winter season when the sun is not shining as often, we might be more likely to be low in vitamin D lab levels. One way to help correct these values is through food sources that contain vitamin D.

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Foods that contain vitamin D include salmon, tuna, mackerel, mushrooms, egg yolks, fortified dairy products and fortified cereals such as many of those made by General Mills. Family-favorite cereals like CheeriosTM deliver 20% of the Daily Value of vitamin D per 1.5 cup serving. Pair this tasty cereal with fortified milk for even more vitamin D! A 3.5 oz portion size of salmon (the size of your palm or a deck of cards) provides around 60% of your daily needs.

If you are curious about the health benefits of vitamin D, having your vitamin D lab levels in the recommended range can help support bodily functions such as increasing cell growth, helping control blood sugar levels, and reducing inflammation within the body. Vitamin D is also one of the major components of bone health! This nutrient is necessary for calcium absorption in the gut, which in turn helps us have healthy bones and teeth.

You may be thinking, “Do I need to take a vitamin D supplement?” If choosing to take a vitamin D supplement, I encourage you to speak with your physician for a recommended dosage. If you decide to take one, Nature’s Way has you covered! Nature’s Way Vitamin D3 Gummy provides more than 100% Daily Value of vitamin D3 per gummy for daily immune and bone support.*

Still have questions on vitamin D, nutrition trends, or just wondering how to get started on your health and wellness journey? Reach out ( I will help create a plan that works for you. If you’re looking to boost your vitamin D intake at home, consider adding this recipe to your weekly meal plan.

Sesame Salmon Oven Stir-Fry

Serves 4

All you need

• 4 medium carrots, peeled and julienned

• 2 tbsp avocado oil, divided

• Hy-Vee salt, to taste

• Hy-Vee pepper, to taste

• 1/3 cup unsweetened pineapple juice• 2 tsp Hy-Vee cornstarch

• 3 tbsp Hy-Vee honey

• 2 tbsp Hy-Vee less-sodium soy sauce

• 1 (6 oz) pkg fresh snow peas

• 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips

• ¼ cup canned Hy-Vee sliced water chestnuts

• 1 (1 lb) Verlasso skinless salmon fillet

• 2 cups white rice, hot-cooked

• Sesame seeds, for garnish

All you do

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line an 18×13 sheet pan with foil; spray with nonstick spray. Toss carrots in 1 tablespoon oil; spread in prepared pan. Season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.

2. Whisk together pineapple juice and cornstarch in a small saucepan. Whisk in honey and soy sauce. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until thick and bubbly. Use 2 tablespoons for brush-on sauce; reserve remaining sauce for serving.

3. Move roasted carrots toward one edge of pan. Toss snow peas, bell pepper and water chestnuts with remaining 1 tablespoon oil; add to opposite edge of pan. Pat salmon dry and cut into 4 portions; add to center of pan. Brush salmon with brush-on sauce.

4. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork (145 degrees). Serve salmon and vegetables over rice. Drizzle the remaining sauce on top. Garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.

Recipe adapted from: