It’s no secret that overcoming type 2 diabetes starts with nutrition and exercise. Exercise is pretty simple. The best way to begin is simply to get your body moving. Walk, bike ride, swim, –there’s no wrong choice.
Nutrition, on the other hand, is a bit trickier. You can load up on fresh fruits and vegetables (which will certainly put you on the right track), but it’s also important to become familiar with the vitamin content of your foods and their role in your health. At the same time, you’ll need to work on removing the unhealthy, preservative laden foods from your diet. Does this sound like a lot of work? It can seem so at first glance, but it’s one step at a time. Today’s step is to learn about the one vitamin that is deficient in 60% of all type 2 diabetes sufferers.
That vitamin is vitamin D.
Why is Vitamin D Important?
The levels of vitamin D in your body have a crucial effect on over 2,000 of your genes. A lack of this vitamin has been proven to have a connection to numerous diseases, including cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and autism. Dr William Grant, an internationally recognized research scientist, conducted studies showing that over 25% of cancer related deaths could be avoided if levels of vitamin D were taken more seriously. With that in mind, let’s look at what role vitamin D plays in our overall health, and how we should go about getting proper amounts into our daily diet.
What Does Vitamin D Do For Your Body?
Vitamin D regulates the expression of genes which destroy unhealthy bacteria and viruses and positively influences your immune system. It’s also interesting to note that it is extremely rare for individuals with proper vitamin D levels to come down with the flu. You always hear the advertisements telling you, “It’s flu season, so get your flu shot,” but in reality, you should be keeping up your vitamin D intake. And since all things in your body work together for optimum health, it’s important that you are receiving the correct amount of vitamin D in order to overcome type 2 diabetes.
How to Get the Right Amount of Vitamin D
The easiest, and probably most enjoyable way to receive vitamin D is through exposure to the sun. This makes exercising outside even more attractive, since you can get your vitamin D and your heart pumping at the same time. For an example of what sun exposure does for you, check out this next fact: Exposure to the sun for 30 minutes per day produces 20,000 IUs of vitamin D, which is the equivalent of drinking approximately 200 glasses of milk! Of course, being outside for even 15 minutes per day isn’t always convenient or even possible during the winter months, so there’s other options.
During the winter months, or during times when your sun exposure is down, taking a high quality vitamin D supplement is one solution. When purchasing a vitamin D supplement, be sure you are choosing vitamin D3, not vitamin D2. Vitamin D2 is synthetically produced and highly inferior to vitamin D3, which is natural.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
Average adults with limited sun exposure need about 4,500 units of vitamin D per day. If you are very heavy, which many type 2 diabetes sufferers are, you can start out at about 7,500 until you lose weight.
Foods High in Vitamin D
As we explained, the best way to receive your daily dose of vitamin D is through good, old-fashioned sun exposure, but here’s a quick list of whole foods that have very high levels of vitamin D as well. In all of these suggestion, be aware of any allergies you may have:
- Shiitake and Button Mushrooms – The dried shiitake mushrooms have an extremely high content of vitamin D.
- Mackerel and Sockeye Salmon -Â It only takes a 3 ounce portion to fulfill 90% of your daily requirement.
- Herring and Sardines – One small can of sardines will provide 70% of your vitamin D needs.
- Tuna fish – Although not as rich in vitamin D as sardines, 3 ounces will get you to 50% of your daily requirement.
- Cod Liver Oil – Grandma was right. This oil is so rich in vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids, it supplies you with 10,000 IUs in one tablespoon. Cod liver oil is also proven to prevent osteoporosis, optimize the function of your nervous system, and improve brain function! If you can’t stomach the strong aroma, try adding it to your morning juicing.
We hope you’ve learned the importance and numerous health benefits of vitamin D from this article. For more information on overcoming type 2 diabetes, call the Illinois Wellness Group and schedule an appointment with one of our type 2 diabetes counselors.