Not difficult to top up the Vitamin D in the summer, is it? All that endless sunshine, those days by the pool and drinks on the terrace (well, that’s what my Facebook feed looks like anyway – thank you friends). But this summer, I’m stuck inside, working 12 hours days with a long, underground commute either side. So I may not be getting enough Vitamin D. It allows the body to absorb calcium to create strong bones and teeth, and it strengthens the immune system.
Vitamin D has been the subject of much interesting research recently. A study published just yesterday indicates that it is linked to a lower risk of colon cancer. “Increased Dietary Vitamin D Suppresses MAPK Signaling, Colitis, and Colon Cancer,” found that increased levels of the vitamin reduced the risk of colon cancer in mice suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. And a study published earlier in the summer linked Vitamin D deficiency ‘increased risk of death from all causes – including cardiovascular disease and cancer’ http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/278323.php
But what really caught my eye was a study suggesting that not getting enough Vitamin D doubles the risk of developing dementia. That’s enough to get me bunking off work to spend an hour outside at lunchtime, however busy I am. The University of Exeter research found that people over 65 had a 53% increased risk of developing dementia if they had low levels of Vitamin D and 125% increased risk if they were severely deficient. The researchers themselves were surprised at how strong the link is, but stressed that the results don’t demonstrate that low Vitamin D levels cause dementia. http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_405559_en.html
All in all, a really good reason to book a half-term holiday in the sun. In the meantime, I’m upping my dietary sources of Vitamin D – including oily fish, eggs and dairy. (Check out our frittata recipe and watermelon and feta salad for some summery recipes which deliver Vit D). This salmon recipe is a big hit – with adults and children. It includes another of my favourite brain foods – coconut – so it’s a win win.
COCONUT CRUSTED SALMON serves 4
4 salmon fillets
For the crust:
50g fresh coriander
50g desiccated coconut
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2tsp ginger paste
juice and zest of 2 limes
2tsp fish sauce
Pre-heat oven to 180C.
Blend all the crust ingredients in the food processor till well combined (or chop the coriander and garlic finely and stir in the other ingredients). Put the salmon in a roasting tin and spread the coconut-coriander mix on top. Bake in the oven for 15mins. Serve with rice or noodles and green veg.