The solution starts with one simple step: Get your vitamin D levels tested this winter.
Vitamin D deficiency is linked to a significantly higher risk of most cancers, heart disease, and autoimmune diseases including the flu. Breast cancer is at the top of the list of diseases that could be prevented in many cases with higher vitamin D levels. Called "the sunshine hormone" vitamin D is now know to regulate proper cell growth in most tissues -- a function researchers now believe slows or even eradicates the spread of cancer cells.
We get our vitamin D from two sources: exposure to sunlight, which allows the body to produce its own vitamin D using ultraviolet light and cholesterol in the skin; and a limited number of food sources including fortified milk, fish, eggs and mushrooms. Mushrooms are the only vegetable that contain natural vitamin D. They contain a compound called ergosterol that is turned into vitamin D in the body.
A ½ cup serving of sliced fresh raw white mushrooms has 7 IU of vitamin D, that is 4% of an adults Adequate Intake.
Adding Mushrooms Make a Difference
• Add ½ cup sliced white button mushrooms to your green salad.
Benefit: boost vitamin D by 18 IU (9% AI).
• Use ½ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms instead of sausage in pasta sauce or on pizza.
Benefit: boost vitamin D by 96 IU (48% AI).
• Layer ¾ cup sliced sautéed fresh white mushrooms onto grilled steak or chicken.
Benefit: boost vitamin D by 17 IU (8% AI).