BLOG: Have you ever wondered why Santa Claus requests milk on Christmas Eve? Aside from the obvious pairing of milk and cookies, he has his own health reasons for requesting milk as his energy drink each year.
Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining bone and immune health as well as preventing the winter “blues.” In fact, some recent research suggests that a deficiency of Vitamin D may be related to various mood disorders, including season affective disorder and depression.
Even in Upstate New York, getting enough Vitamin D can be particularly difficult this time of year. During the summer, when sunlight exposure is greatest, our skin actually has the capability to produce Vitamin D from ultraviolet rays. However in the winter, most people bundle up before heading outside and our skin receives less exposure to the sun.
As a local company, Stewart’s Shops understands the importance of Vitamin D, especially in the winter. Nearly all milk in the United States is fortified with this vitamin, yet Stewart’s milk may actually supply you with more than most national brands. Stewart’s milk is guaranteed fresh and not subjected to the high levels of processing performed by many manufacturers. Unfortunately, the methods used by other brands to improve shelf life also break down many of the nutrients in milk, including Vitamin D; and there is actually less nutrition poured into your glass.
How can you make sure you are getting enough Vitamin D this winter?
Starting with Stewart’s milk is a great idea! The National Institutes of Health recommend that most individuals aim for 600 IU (International Units) each day. A one-cup serving of milk from Stewart’s contains approximately 100 IU. This means if you drink one glass of Stewart’s fresh milk at each meal you are already half-way to your daily goal! Additional sources of Vitamin D can also be found in yogurt, eggs, fortified cereals and orange juice as well as certain types of fish.
Take the advice from a wise man this winter…Put Stewart’s milk on your nice list this season, and maybe leave a little out for Santa Claus too!
-Christine Sloat, RD, RDN
Christine Sloat is a Registered Dietitian and life-long resident of upstate New York.
She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Dietetics from the University of Delaware, with clinical training at Albany Medical Center. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC