Ever get that tired, fatigued feeling through winter? During the winter months a huge number of people in the UK suffer from vitamin D deficiency, which can lead to tiredness and reduced productivity. Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’. The problem is though, that given the UK’s location and limited number of sunshine hours it can be difficult for us to produce enough of this important vitamin.
However, the good news is that vitamin D is found in dietary sources such as lean red meat, so incorporating red meat into your diet can help address any winter tiredness.
Nutritionist Dr Emma Derbyshire from the Meat Advisory Panel says: “Given that we struggle to make enough vitamin D due to the British climate, we need to ensure we are getting enough of the vitamin through a healthy balanced diet. Often people jump to the conclusion that green leafy vegetables contain vitamin D, when in fact they contain none. However, lean red meat is a great source of vitamin D (not to mention protein, zinc and iron) and is one of the few foods that provide useful quantities of vitamin D.
“New research from The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey also found that ‘meat and meat products’ were the main contributor to vitamin D intakes across all age groups so incorporating lean red meat into your diet is one of the key ways to improve your vitamin D levels and help you ward off any winter tiredness. In fact vitamin D trains and arms T-cells — the foot soldiers of our immune system which seek out and destroy threats, such as bacteria and viruses.
“And in the cold winter months, there’s no better feeling than tucking into a hearty beef stew or lovely lamb hotpot.”
Facts about Vitamin D
- The option of using sunlight to create vitamin D is practically non-existent for five months of the year – and limited to just four to five hours each day in the summer
- Green leafy vegetables, such as cabbage and citrus fruits like oranges don’t actually contain any vitamin D
- Red meat is one of the few foods which provides useful quantities of vitamin D
- A Meat Advisory Panel survey found that only 12% of people realise that red meat is an important source of vitamin D
- Vitamin D contributes to the maintenance of normal bones and teeth
- A study has found that low levels of vitamin D increased the risk of heart disease by 40% and the risk of suffering a heart attack by 64%
- Insufficient vitamin D has been linked with bone pain and muscle weakness
- There’s a growing body of evidence indicating that vitamin D has an important role in maintaining bone health, ameliorating cell ageing and preventing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, immune dysfunction and certain cancers
For more information on the role of red meat in the diet visit www.meatmatters.com