Did you watch Inside The Factory on BBC2 last night? I love programmes like this; finding out about the inner workings of factories that produce the products we use every day is fascinating to me. Last night’s episode was all about breakfast cereals and, as a serial cereal muncher, this was a total fangirl moment for me – who knew how many hours of processes go into making one cornflake? And the Coco Pops production line was almost too much excitement. I had to chill out with a bowl of Cheerios after the show.
But the main reason that I’m writing this blog post today isn’t because I want to rave on about how much I love breakfast, it’s because the discussion on Vitamin D was so interesting. I’d never considered the effect of Vitamin D in the past, and didn’t realise how important it was to us. Hearing Cherry Healy discuss the fact that people with good levels of Vitamin D in their body were 50% less likely to catch a cold was eye-opening. That, coupled with the fact that Vitamin D is important in keeping bone and muscle problems at bay, got me thinking about just how little Vitamin D I must have in my own body.
Vitamin D can be produced in the body just by getting enough sunlight. But, as an office worker (who lives by the light of her laptop for around 10 hours a day), I’m pretty sure that my Vitamin D reserves must be running low. And even when I’m not in my office, I’m trying to keep out of the sun at all costs. I’m a pale-skinned gal who burns easily so I stick to the shade whenever I’m outdoors, and cover up with plenty of clothes and SPF 50. So how can all the Vitamin D from the sun’s ray get through to my body? It’s unlikely, isn’t it?
Inside The Factory cheered me up no end when I discovered that cereals are often fortified with Vitamin D. I hopped off the sofa and started checking the boxes of cereal in my kitchen. Yep, it was all there – Vitamin D in very healthy quantities – I reckon I could get about 20% of my daily Vitamin D needs from a bowl of cereal. Woohoo to Kelloggs, I say!
Even though that’s a good start, I read an article on the BBC news website, which claims that 1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 children in England may have very low levels of Vitamin D. The government recommends taking Vitamin D supplements and the head of nutrition at Public Health England confirms that sunscreen does stop Vitamin D from being absorbed into the skin. So I think that I definitely need to be looking at different ways to get my 10 micrograms of Vitamin D each day.
Even though I would happily eat 5 bowls of cereal a day to get my Vitamin D, I think the novelty of munching so much cereal would wear off rather quickly. One sure fire way is to take a Vitamin D3 supplement. It’ll help to keep my immune system functioning normally and, seeing as we become less able to produce Vitamin D naturally as we grow older, it would be a good way to make sure that I’m getting the correct amount. Too much Vitamin D is just as much of a problem as having too little Vitamin D. Its hard to get the balance right.
Anyway, I hope that this blog post has given you a bit more info about Vitamin D and that you’ve learnt something new, just like I did when I watched Inside The Factory last night. Let me know if you can think of any other ways that I can get enough vitamins in my diet by leaving me a comment below to share what you eat and what you do to stay healthy yourself.
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