Neesha Bukht shows Kiran Mehta how to make up for it with the right foodsVitamin D is perhaps the single most underrated nutrient. That's probably because it's free: your body makes it when sunlight touches your skin. It's essential for bone health because without it, even popping calcium pills won't work — your body needs this vitamin to absorb calcium. Of late, with the increasing use of beauty products with a high sun-protection factor, Vitamin D deficiency is on the rise. In fact, even weak sunscreens (with as little as SPF-8), block your body's ability to generate vitamin D by 95 per cent.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to several diseases like arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and even schizophrenia and certain cancers. If these life-long debilitating conditions aren't scary enough to make you step out, top up on Vitamin D rich foods instead.
VITAMIN D AT EVERY AGE
Pre-teens and teens:
Forty-five per cent of your skeletal mass is added during puberty and adolescence. So Vitamin D is needed greatly at this stage. Rickets, a condition characterised by soft bones, typically affects children deficient in Vitamin D.
Start your day with some fortified orange juice (142 IUs per 100 ml glass) or some fresh fruit milkshake (approximately 140 IUs). Paneer
contains (140 IUs per 30 to 40 gm) and yoghurt contains as much Vitamin D as milk — 98 IUs per 100 ml (non-fat fortified milk). Give up those fizzy colas, tea and coffee since caffeine tends to leach calcium from the bones.
In your 20s:
In your 'fast living decade', between hectic work schedules and dating, instead of 'convenient' foods such as burgers and pizzas, opt for a tuna salad (85 gm tuna contains 200 IUs). Your 20s are the last chance to lay down new bones. Gulp down two large glasses of vitamin D fortified non-fat milk every day (one glass contains 100 IUs). The calcium-Vitamin D combination helps your body to absorb its benefits.
In your 30s :
Thirties might be the new 20s, but not so from your bones' viewpoint. Now you cannot drastically change your skeletal structure, but can definitely maintain it. Just concentrate on not allowing your bone density to drop. Apart from an active lifestyle, have tuna twice a week and mushrooms once a week (85 gm of mushrooms gives 100 per cent Vitamin D). Fortified cereal with whole milk is a good breakfast choice.
In your 40s:
At this stage, several lifestyle diseases rear their ugly heads. By now, you spend several hours indoors either working or caring for your family and probably don't get much sunshine. Make sure you eat dark green leafy vegetables thrice a
week and foods such as salmon (100 gm contains 360 IUs), mackerel (100 gm ounces contains 345 IUs), sardines (50 gm contains 250 IUs), fortified dairy products and cereals.
50s and up:
The need for Vitamin D increases after 50 and it's difficult to meet them without unrealistic diets. Ask your doctor about supplements. Have a whole egg (20 IUs) thrice a week and fatty fish twice a week.
DATA ON D
• Fruits and vegetables are internal sunscreens and can allow you to stay under the sun twice as long without burning. Fruits with this ability include super fruits such as strawberries, pomegranates and kiwis.
• Vitamin D is generated by your kidneys and liver, so kidney disease or liver damage can greatly impair your body's ability to form the vitamin.
• The healing rays of sunlight cannot penetrate glass, so you don't generate vitamin D when sitting in your car or home.
• Your body can't generate too much Vitamin D from sunlight exposure: it will selfregulate and only generate what it needs.
• If it hurts to press firmly on your sternum, you may be suffering from chronic Vitamin D deficiency right now.
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