Vitamin D and calcium are essential to many of your body’s vital processes and overall health, although many people don’t realise that the benefits of vitamin D and calcium are interlinked.
Vitamin D contributes to the normal absorption and utilisation of calcium and helps to ensure normal calcium levels in the blood. In fact, almost 99% of your Vitamin D supply is used for regulating the calcium in the body; the remaining part is utilised for strengthening the immune system and maintaining muscle strength.
This is why we offer vitamin D and calcium in one supplement – and why we’ve listed foods which are plentiful in both!
Dairy products including cheese, milk and yoghurt are considered to be the most important food group for calcium intake.
Other rich food sources include:
- Whole eggs
- Leafy greens such as spinach and kale
- Fish with soft bones, and
- Calcium-fortified foods.
(Hard water also makes a significant contribution to calcium intake.)
Vitamin D-Rich Foods
Vitamin D3 is produced naturally in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, hence its nickname the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’.
However, if you don’t live in northern regions with limited sunlight, aren’t able to spend a lot of time outdoors, or even if you have dark skin, it’s important to be aware of what foods can give you the vitamin D levels your body needs.
Beef liver features quite highly on this list, but if that’s not your favourite then fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel and salmon, are rich in vitamin D.
Milk and cheese are again good sources. Many foods are fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
How Much Vitamin D and Calcium Do I Need?
PHE (Public Health England) recommends 700mg of calcium per day for men and women. As for vitamin D, the recommended daily maintenance dosage is 400IU daily (or 10µg) as outlined in the NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) guidance. The guidance was developed to ensure that the UK population has a satisfactory level of Vitamin D throughout the year, in order to protect musculoskeletal bone health.
While most individuals should be able to get their recommended intake of vitamin D and calcium without using supplements, there are those of us who, maybe due to dietary restrictions or medical conditions, perhaps don’t get enough of these minerals through the food they eat. If you’re unable to meet your recommended daily intake from food, supplements can be used but ask your doctor for advice.
Spiced Quinoa with Salmon & Eggs
Tuna, mackerel and salmon are ideal sources of vitamin D, which is essential for bone health, the immune system and muscle function, among other things. Quinoa is the new superfood that everyone is talking about is a must-try this year if you have not already discovered it. To get you started, try this quick recipe to put a little spice into your Spring.
- 1tsp harissa paste
- 500ml water
- 175g quinoa
- 300g skinless salmon fillets
- 1 head broccoli, divided into florets
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled & quartered
- 2 grated carrots
- 100g baby spinach roughly chopped
- 1 red onion, sliced
- ½ cucumber, sliced
- 30g sultanas
- 5Tbsp chopped fresh mint & some sprigs to garnish
For The Dressing
- 2Tbsp olive oil
- Zest and juice of a lemon
- 1Tbsp honey
- 4Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Mix the harissa paste and 500ml water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the quinoa, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Transfer to a serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, cook the salmon in a saucepan by covering with boiling water and simmering for 4-5 minutes before setting aside with the lid on for another 5 minutes to steam. Drain the salmon, then flake into the quinoa.
- While the salmon is cooking prepare the broccoli, cooking in boiling water for 4-5 minutes until tender but crisp. Drain and add to the quinoa along with remaining ingredients.
- Mix the dressing ingredients together in a jar, tighten the lid and shake well until mixed. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture and lightly toss. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with mint springs. Enjoy!