BLOG: If Halloween isn’t dark enough for you, November 1st certainly will be! This Sunday will mark the end of daylight savings time; and believe it or not, the loss of sunlight can play a large role in our physical and mental well-being. That is because the body requires sunlight to make Vitamin D, an important nutrient for the mind and body. Therefore, as the nights get longer we become increasingly more reliant on food to provide this nutrition.
Vitamin D can be hard to find, but is responsible for many functions involving the heart, lungs, brain and muscles. Vitamin D is also responsible for maintaining mental health; explaining why issues such as depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) are more common in colder, darker months.
In order to prevent nutrient deficiency, it is important to consume a variety of Vitamin D-containing foods, including: fortified milk, breakfast cereals and orange juice, as well as eggs, fish and cheese. Because Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, it should be consumed along with foods that contain both calcium and moderate amounts of fat.
Low-fat fortified milk and dairy products, such as the cartons found in your local Stewart’s shop, are some of the best sources of Vitamin D. And because Stewart’s milk is pasteurized at lower temperatures than other ultra-pasteurized products, it provides more calcium and Vitamin D per serving! Just one cup of Stewart’s low-fat milk provides approximately 30% of your daily Vitamin D recommendation. You can also find eggs, orange juice, cheese, canned tuna and other Vitamin-D rich foods to keep you physically and mentally healthy, no matter what the weather. And because Stewart’s Shops is never far from you, try walking to your neighborhood shop on the next sunny day…it’s great exercise and a chance for extra Vitamin D!
-Christine Sloat MS, RD, CDN
About Christine: 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, and a Master’s of Science in Applied Nutrition from The Sage Colleges in Troy. She has a nutrition consulting business, Nutritious Notions LLC.