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Tips for consuming more vitamin D

Lisa Harnack. Photo courtesy of Advances Magazine.

As days grow shorter and colder, Minnesotans are forced to deprive themselves of one natural source of vitamin D — the sun.

Vitamin D is one of the few nutrients that people can pick up from sources other than food, says Lisa Harnack, director of the Nutrition Coordinating Center and a professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota.

“Our body can synthesize [vitamin D] when our skin is exposed to sunlight,” she said. “And, of course, in Minnesota, in the winter months, we don’t have much sun exposure.”

Why is vitamin D important

Vitamin D is essential for the developing and sustaining healthy bones and can help prevent osteoporosis.

But many Americans and Minnesotans fall short of the recommended intake of this vitamin, Harnack said. In fact, Harnack’s latest research — recently published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association — shows vitamin D in the diet has been heading in the wrong direction.

“We recently looked at vitamin D intake in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area and found that vitamin D intake has been on the decline over the past 25 years,” she said. “And that’s probably because vitamin D is found in just a few foods and one of those is milk. And people are drinking less milk today than in the past.”

Continue reading in Advances Magazine.

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