If March has come in like a lion, let’s cross our fingers that it goes out like a lamb. This winter has been a proper Canadian one, freezing, icy and bitter cold; we are sure to win our Canadian gold star after surviving this one! Although it has been a fairly sunny winter, it’s doubtful you have been out in the elements enough and have likely depleted your vitamin D stores.
Having Adequate Vitamin D:
- Builds strong and healthy bones
- Boosts the immune system to help fight infections
- Strengthens your respiratory system
- Decreases your chance of developing heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer, and type 1 diabetes
- Assists with brain development and cell growth
Vitamin D Sources:
The Sun Unlike any other vitamin, your body actually makes vitamin D from exposure to the sun; however, getting the right amount means regular exposure, which can be difficult in the winter months.
- 10 – 20 minutes each day, of mid-day sun exposure is plenty, especially if you are fair-skinned
Unfortunately, your body’s ability to produce vitamin D declines with age, which is why a significant majority of older adults are vitamin D deficient. This is where food sources and supplements become even more essential.
Food Sources Even if you are getting sun exposure every day, it’s a complicated process for your body to convert sunshine to Vitamin D, and not all of our livers are efficient at doing this. It is best to include vitamin D rich foods in your regular routine. You have to go out of your way to make sure you are doing this, as today’s popular low fat diets are extremely deficient in Vitamin D.
- Oily fish such as salmon, trout, sardines, tuna and fish eggs; eggs yolks; a range of mushrooms, including portobello, morel, oyster, white and chanterelle; organic soy and soy products, such as tofu; cod liver oil; quality pork; cheese, especially ricotta
Supplements Not all supplements are created equal, some are natural sources (VitD3), which is the same type that your body would receive from sun exposure; whereas, others are synthetic (VitD2), which has a shorter shelf life and binds with protein poorly, making it less effective.
- Once either form of the vitamin is in your body, it must be converted to a more active form: Vitamin D3 is converted 500 percent faster than vitamin D2
Smoked Salmon Frittata with Sautéed Mushrooms & Ricotta Cheese
This frittata is nutritious, packed with vitamin D and is quick and easy to make. Perfect to keep you going at breakfast, lunch or dinner!
- 1 cup of portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 full scallions (spring onions), sliced
- 6 free range eggs
- 1⁄4 cup milk
- 115 g ricotta cheese, crumbled
- 150 g smoked salmon, torn into 2 cm pieces
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp finely chopped dill
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
2. Bring a cast iron pan to medium/high heat. Add butter, mushrooms and garlic, sauté until golden and reduced in size by half
3. During this time, add your milk, salt and pepper to the eggs and whisk until the consistency is very runny (a balloon whisk is best to achieve this quickly); this will help create a light and fluffy frittata
4. Gently fold in 1/2 of the crumbled ricotta cheese
5. Add the sliced scallions to the pan and sauté for 2 minutes
6. Remove the mushroom and scallion mix and set aside in a bowl
7. Reduce the stove temperate to medium/low and pour the egg mixture into the pan. Sprinkle the smoked salmon, mushroom and scallion mixture, dill and remaining ricotta cheese on top
8. Cook undisturbed for 3 minutes on the stove and place into the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes or until the top of the frittata is set and springs to the touch
9. Use a rubber spatula to loosen the frittata around the edges and gently slide onto a cutting board.
Cut the frittata into wedges and serve with a pinch of fresh dill to garnish!