It is common knowledge that children need to play more in the sun because they need the Vitamin D that their skin makes in the presence of the sun. Why? Because Vitamin D and Calcium go hand in hand to strengthen bones and keep bone density healthy.
But then you read somewhere that your body also needs quite a bit of Vitamin D. And not just for the bones but – interestingly – to keep heartburn at bay! Here’s why.
How Your Vitamin D level affects Heartburn
One of the main causes of heartburn is said to be infection in the gastrointestinal system. These infections hinder digestion, inhibit acid production in the stomach, give rise to acid reflux and therefore also cause heartburn.
And when you think of infections, that is where the Vitamin D comes in. When you optimize Vitamin D levels in your body, it also regularly produces about 200 peptides having antimicrobial qualities. And these fight infection and keep it at bay. As this sets off a chain reaction, your gastrointestinal system gets regulated and eventually heartburn is prevented!
The ideal vitamin D level in the body is around 60ng/ml. And to maintain this level, you need to do things that encourage your body to produce Vitamin D. And the fact is that just like in kids – sun exposure – or more specifically light exposure – of the skin itself encourages it to produce Vitamin D.
So even if you stay at a geographical location where there isn’t enough sun – a tanning bed can take care of your needs. But if you aren’t able to do this – then here are…
10 other ways you can get more Vitamin D into your system
1. Fresh fatty fish like Salmon contains quite a bit of Vitamin D (150 units per ounce)! Plus – you also get omega 3 fatty acids as a bonus – they keep your heart healthy!
2. Canned fish – especially tuna – is another option. However, light tuna that comes in cans is your best bet – it contains 150 units to every 4 ounce serving, whereas canned sardines contain a mere 40 units for every pair of fish.
3. You can also try Dole’s Portobello Mushrooms. This is because mushrooms are like human skin in that they produce Vitamin D and store it in the presence of ultraviolet rays. And since most other mushrooms are actually grown in the dark, if you are after the Vitamin D – then this variety is the one to go for. It contains 400 units per 3 ounces.
4. Milk or yogurt can also be your source of choice. Just as they go hand in hand in action, Calcium and Vitamin D also come together in milk. Natural milk contains 100 units per 8 ounce glass, and yogurt has 80 units of the vitamin in every 6 ounce serving.
5. Certain orange juices are fortified with Vitamin D. You can also have these, especially if you aren’t really a fan of milk. But if you are having a lot of heartburn, then this is usually not advised. So in that case, you may as well wrinkle your nose and have the milk!
6. Egg yolks also contain Vitamin D. There are about 40 units in every yolk. But since with that there is also 200 mgs of cholesterol, if you have a heart issue, you should ideally go for some other source for your Vitamin D.
7. These days certain cereals also come fortified with Vitamin D. If you want to try this though, check out the labels first. Make sure it is fortified and thereafter check out the other health aspects before choosing one.
8. A less appealing option is beef liver. From beef liver you get about 50 units from every 3.5 ounce serving. But then if you don’t know how to cook beef liver – you’ll probably want to give it a miss! And besides, like egg, this too is high in cholesterol.
9. Since fish oil has already been mentioned – Cod liver oil shouldn’t come as a surprise! And in fact, one tbsp. of this stuff contains a whopping 1,300 units of Vitamin D, so just half the amount of that takes care of your daily needs!
10. And then there is the final one in this list – Vitamin D supplements. These are readily available and do their job really well.
With most of these options, it should hardly be a problem including them in your diet. And as for the good ol’ solution – sunlight, just make sure you take a walk early in the morning when the sun is out but not at its harshest. Not only will you be getting Vitamin D, you will also be exercising (another essential in keeping heartburn away) !
So, make these changes to optimize Vitamin D levels – for your bones, for your health and more importantly for your esophagus and to keep your heartburn at bay! Try it together with the other diet and lifestyle changes and you will see the results for yourself!