It’s Valentine’s Day – Take Your Parent For a Walk and Salmon Dinner

And, Make Sure to Have Pudding for Dessert

What?!

A popular nutrition newsletter arrived in my email today talking about Vitamin D deficiency in the US. I was surprised to read that Vitamin D deficiency is very common in the US. A recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (January 2008) found that a low blood concentration of Vitamin D was associated with higher blood pressure in Caucasians (but not African Americans.)

It seems that researchers are finding all sorts of health issues that a little bit more vitamin D would lessen or prevent. Most important for seniors — Vitamin D helps your body use calcium to build stronger bones.

Hip or other bone fractures are often the beginning of a grindingly slow downward spiral for many seniors. Less mobility leads to even less mobility. The end of the line is the nursing home.

The crying shame is that Vitamin D is so easy to get through our diet, supplements and sunlight. Eggs, tuna, salmon, mackerel and sardines are good sources of Vitamin D along with fortified milk products.

Your daily vitamin probably contains it, but not enough. The recommended daily allowance is 400 IUs. Many all in one supplements contain less than half that amount.

More Is Better

Dr. Andrew Weil, (click here) highly respected for his approach to combining nutrition with traditional medicine, recommends 1000 IUs per day and even more if you don’t get out in the sun at all. His recommendation comes after extensive research into the latest studies on Vitamin D.

His conclusion: More is Better!

Love the One You’re With

Here’s an easy way to show your Valentine you care. Take your parent (or loved one) out for a walk in the sunshine, weather permitting. Just 15-20 minutes of sun on your hands and face is enough. But, don’t put on sunscreen. It blocks your body’s ability to make Vitamin D. Take the sunscreen with you to apply after you get a bit of sun if you’ll be out more than 20 minutes.

Then, have a lovely salmon dinner. Tuna sandwiches are ok, too (go light on the mayo.)

And, top it off with pudding made with fortified milk (nondairy, if milk is a problem). Sorry, milk chocolate truffles don’t count.

Both People Benefit

Spending time with someone to celebrate has benefits for your parent, loved one and you. Mind, body and spirit. Don’t miss out.