Once upon a time ago, I lived in sunny New York. I soaked up the sun most of the year and had a natural tan. I had no idea how lucky I was to have the sunshine.
Cue my move to the West of Ireland and what a change of weather that was. Ironically, when I came to visit Ireland before moving here, with my now-husband, the sun was shining and the weather was gorgeous for the full two-week visit!
In fairness, everyone kept telling me, "it's not usually like this." But I had no idea the true lack of sun that we get here in Ireland until I made the big move over.
Being honest, vitamin D wasn't a vitamin that I ever thought about before moving to Ireland. Vitamin D is produced in the body when our skin is exposed to sunlight. So for many countries in the world, people naturally absorb vitamin D every day via the sunshine.
Because of Ireland’s northerly latitude, there isn't sufficient sunlight to enable the production of adequate levels of vitamin D by the body, especially over the winter months. Also, so many people work indoors which means that vitamin D from sunlight exposure has decreased.
Since we can't rely on the lovely sunshine to soak in our vitamin D, we need to find other ways to provide the body with this crucial vitamin. Vitamin D is important for every member of the family, of all ages, so let's find out other ways to get it into our bodies.
Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and teeth. It also helps to absorb calcium and phosphorus in the body. That means that getting enough vitamin D helps our bodies to both absorb and utilise the calcium from the food and drink we consume which is important for maintaining normal healthy bones. Vitamin D also supports normal muscle function and supports normal function of our immune system.
According to the National Children’s Food Survey from IUNA in 2019, 94pc of Irish children have inadequate intakes of vitamin D and 37pc have inadequate levels of calcium. This is down to the fact that we aren't absorbing enough vitamin D via the sun and dietary sources of vitamin D are not being consumed in sufficient quantities to make up for the lack of sun exposure.
It is difficult to get sufficient levels of vitamin D through our diet alone as not many foods naturally contain vitamin D. We may need to look at fortified foods that will suit our family's tastes and also give us the required vitamin D that our bodies need.
Dietary sources of vitamin D include:
Avonmore Super Milk is a nutritious and tasty milk that's fortified with vitamin D, calcium and added vitamins B, E, and folic acid. Just one 250ml glass of Avonmore Super Milk provides 100pc of the EU recommended intake of 5µg of vitamin D.
Switching to Avonmore Super Milk is an easy and effective change to make. The whole family can easily grab that required daily vitamin D from a glass of Avonmore Super Milk and from the end of February, you could be in with a chance of winning an amazing family holiday to Florida, compliments of Avonmore!
The Avonmore Super Milk Sunshine State Escape competition will see one lucky family of four heading off to Florida to soak up some sunny vitamin D. There are also 20 runner-up prizes of weekend escapes to the Sunny South East. Grab your shades and sun cream and enter before Friday, April 3, for your chance to win. See special Super Milk packs in store for details. Terms and conditions apply.
I wouldn't change a thing about my decision to move to Ireland. I love living here. I think it's the best place for kids to grow up and I love the lifestyle and people here too. We keep an eye on the foods we eat to ensure we get our vitamin D and we soak up the lovely sun whenever we can.
Enjoy each 250ml glass of Super Milk daily as part of a varied and balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Keep an eye on your child's vitamin D intake from food supplements and other fortified foods’. For more information on Avonmore Super Milk, check out the Avonmore website.