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Serves You Right

Article Published: Jan. 20, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011

Vitamin D helps your body absorb and use calcium. You need it for healthy bones and teeth, and to support your muscles and nerves. It works along with calcium in your body. Vitamin D decreases your chances for osteoporosis and fractures.

Some experts believe that vitamin D can fight a range of diseases and have called for daily levels up to 2,000 IU, much higher than the newly recommended 600 IU for adults. Higher vitamin D levels in a person's blood may protect against certain types of cancers, strengthen the immune system, and reduce the risk for diabetes.

But according to Institute of Medicine experts, there is some, but not conclusive evidence that vitamin D can reduce your chances for some cancers, diabetes and heart disease. The new recommendations were based on a review of almost 1,000 studies.

The easiest way to get vitamin D (although not this time of year) is from the sun. Under the summer sun at noon, a fair-skinned person can produce 2,000 IU of vitamin D in 10 minutes, with only 25 percent of their skin exposed. It takes medium-colored skin 16 minutes and very dark-colored skin 38 minutes to produce 2,000 IUs.

Include these foods in your diet to boost vitamin D:

? Fish (salmon, catfish, trout, mackerel, canned tuna
fish, canned sardines)
? Cod liver oil
? Vitamin D fortified milk and yogurt
? Soy products (soy milk, tofu)
? Vitamin D fortified cereals (Quaker Instant Oatmeal,
Malt-O-Meal, Kellogg's cereals)
? Eggs (with yolk)
? Liver
? Beef

If you don't get enough D from your diet or the sun, then a dietary supplement is important. Do not take in more than 4,000 IU total from food and supplements, as too much vitamin D may cause high blood calcium levels.

The only true way to know if you have enough vitamin D is for your doctor to do a blood test. Unfortunately, this test is expensive. Also, at this time, the labs vary a great deal in the way they do and interpret these tests. Let your doctor be your guide.

I love salmon filets, which are high in Omega-3 fatty acid and vitamin D, but expensive. Here is a low cost salmon recipe, with around 140 IU of vitamin D per ounce of salmon. Much to my surprise, my kids like this as much as filets.

Salmon Pattie
1, 14 oz. can of salmon
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green onion
2 tablespoons basil
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
1 tablespoon mustard of choice
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire
2 cups Corn Flakes, crushed into crumbs 
Olive oil

In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients except olive oil and Corn Flakes. Shape mixture into 6-8 patties. Place the Corn Flake crumbs on a plate and coat the patties. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the coated patties and cook until golden, about 4 minutes on each side.

Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups and is the local food coordinator for Watauga County. To contact Margie, e-mail or call (828) 264-3061.

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