Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because one of the main sources to organically find this vitamin is by exposure to the sun. Vitamin D promotes a healthy immune system and supports bone and muscle health and aids in cardiovascular function. These are all things that those diagnosed with cancer should place the utmost importance on. Many cancer fighting treatments can lead to bone loss, and vitamin D ensures that cancer patients lead healthier lives. If you can absorb vitamin D through the sun, what happens during winter months? While we know that Texas winters are far different from those up north, making sure that you get adequate vitamin intake this winter is beneficial for you and the whole family.
“Vitamin D supplements are most frequently recommended for improving vitamin levels. Cancer patients often have limited sun exposure this season whether it is from treatment restrictions, dietary changes and such, “Dr. Mark D’Andrea M.D., radiation oncologist at University Cancer Centers. “Supplements insure that patients are getting the appropriate amount of vitamin D and reaping its health benefits.
There are also foods that you can add to your diet such as fish with healthy fats, such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, halibut or trout that contain vitamin D. It is recommended that you consume such foods up to three times per week. Milk, egg yolks, dried shitake mushrooms, fortified orange juice and fortified cereal can also help by bringing the sunshine vitamin into your life.
The average person under 70 requires around 600 IU daily, and for reference 3 ounces of salmon provide 450 IU vitamin D and one 8 ounce glass provides 100 IU of vitamin D. For those patients over 70 800 IU daily is recommended. The average intake of vitamin D in the U.S. are below guidelines, however a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that more than 80 Americans had been receiving adequate amounts.
Studies performed show just what role vitamin D is playing in cancer prevention and survival. The study is still ongoing, but research shows that vitamin D helps reduce abnormal cell growth, which prevents cancer cells from spreading to new blood vessels and “cell suicide” or abnormal cells.
Be sure to check your vitamin levels to make sure you are getting the right amount. A quick and easy blood test is the fastest way to see if you are getting enough. Patients with cancer need to consult an oncology dietitian about how they can incorporate vitamin-D rich foods into their diet, and if supplements are the right way to go.
Get more sunshine into your diet this winter. Not only is it a great way to prevent cancer, but also gives those undergoing treatment a stronger and healthier body to fight infection, undergo treatments and live a better quality of life. Vitamin D is an essential part of any diet and incorporating these nutrient rich foods will give you a better outlook on life along with a vibrant glow to get you through the winter season.