Monday, May 22

Dairy Allergy? How to Get More Vitamin D

The GIANT Nutritionist team at the Philly Gluten Free Expo just this past weekend (with Little Gal hiding behind me!).
Do you ever worry if you or your child is getting enough vitamin D? I know I do. Dairy products are obviously a great source of vitamin D, but if you're allergic to dairy, it's harder to eat enough of this vitamin. As you know, Little Guy is allergic to dairy (milk, casein, butter cheese, cow's milk protein). So, I do worry about vitamin D deficiency, and how to get enough vitamin D without dairy!

Who is best at answering questions like this?  A registered dietitian!

I recently met Rabiya Bower, RD, LDN, at our fun cooking class at The Rachel Way. Rabiya is an in-store Nutritionist for Giant Food Stores. In case you're not familiar with Giant, it's an awesome supermarket that offers a wonderful selection allergy friendly options for our family (BTW, this is true - I shop at Giant every week!).

Rabiya was great with the kids and I asked her to write this great post about vitamin D benefits, and recipes including vitamin D foods. I hope you find it helpful!

Rabiya Bower, RD, LDN

Importance of Vitamin D
By Rabiya Bower, RD, LDN & In-store Nutritionist for Giant Food Stores

Have you heard of the hot vitamin that is getting a ton of attention? Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin” has been getting a lot of press recently! New research is constantly emerging about the importance of this often overlooked nutrient. We’ve known for a long time that vitamin D is crucial in preventing rickets and helping children grow strong bones. Now, scientists are discovering vitamin D’s role in boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, and decreasing the risk of some chronic diseases, like multiple sclerosis, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. Some studies even show that vitamin D might play a critical role in regulating mood.

Despite vitamin D’s importance in health, researchers estimate that 75% of teens and adults in America are deficient in this key vitamin! There are a lot of factors that influence your vitamin D status. People who often use sunscreen, spend more time indoors, have darker skin, or live in big cities where buildings block sunlight tend to have lower amount of vitamin D in their bodies.

“Sunshine vitamin”
Ultimately, spending time in the sun is the best way to get this vitamin: Exposure of arms and legs for 5 to 30 minutes between the hours of 10 AM and 3 PM twice a week can be adequate to prevent vitamin D deficiency. With the weather warming here in Philly, it’s a great time to get outdoors and soak up some vitamin D!

You can also boost your vitamin D status by consuming foods filled with this nutrient. Dairy foods, like milk, cheese and yogurt typically contain vitamin D. In the U.S., almost all of the milk supply is fortified with 100 International Units (IU) per cup. However, if you are allergic to dairy, your diet may be lacking in this key vitamin. Below are some delicious non-dairy food sources of vitamin D. 

Non-dairy Sources of Vitamin D
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna and eel. Choose wild-caught when possible for an extra boost of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids!
  • Canned fish, like tuna and sardines. Sardines can be high in sodium, so be sure to wash off the extra salt before eating.
  • Mushrooms, including portabella, shiitake, button and chanterelle. Vitamin D content varies widely among mushrooms, so choose your favorite flavor.
  • Fortified orange juice. Not all brands are fortified, so make sure to check the label. You’ll want to get 100% juice to avoid added sugars.
  • Eggs, specifically the yolks. Eggs are a convenient protein source for any meal, and the yolk contains vitamin D!
  • Fortified cereal and oatmeal. Again, check the label for specific vitamin D content. Choose cereals and oatmeal that are labeled whole grain in order to increase fiber, too.
The research is still unclear on how much vitamin D is needed for optimum health. However, we know that vitamin D is important for people of all ages. Be sure to talk to a health professional, like a doctor or registered dietitian, to make sure you’re getting the right about of vitamin D for your body.

Looking for an easy way to add some vitamin D food sources to your diet? Try some of these recipes for dinner tonight!

Grilled Vegetable Sandwich (Vegan and gluten free if use gluten free roll)

Chicken with Asparagus and Mushrooms (this could easily be made gluten free and dairy free)

Poached Flounder with Mushrooms (gluten free and dairy free)


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Diane said...

You are right on Kathryn! I take 4,000 U a day , per my Doctor and I haven't had a cold or sick in a very long time plus my last dexa scan for osteopenia was better, it really is important to get your Vit D! and I do see little Gal there behind your leg!

Kathryn @ Mamacado said...

That's great news Diane!

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