Spring has officially sprung! Although Melbourne as per usual is taking its time to warm up we are still getting some beautiful sunny days. I don’t know about all of you but sunshine always makes me feel so happy and healthy!
Exposing your skin to the suns UV rays daily is extremely important to achieve your vitamin D requirements. Vitamin D plays a pivotal role in bone, muscle and immune health and is predominantly found in ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun which is necessary for the production of vitamin D in the skin. UV exposure is the best natural source of vitamin D as only small amounts of vitamin D are found in food such as fish, eggs and some milk with added vitamin D. Most people will only meet 5-10% of their requirements via food. Vitamin D also helps to absorb calcium, which is a common mineral at risk of inadequacy when commencing a low FODMAP diet if not under guidance of a specialist.
UV levels vary depending on the time of year, and the amount of sun exposure required varies accordingly. Too much sun exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer, so it’s important to find a sensible balance between sun exposure for vitamin D and protection against skin cancer.
Low Vitamin D has been linked to an increased risk in numerous health conditions including: osteoporosis, heart disease, mental health conditions, altered immunity and other autoimmune diseases. More research is required to see whether increasing vitamin D levels could help prevent these conditions.
If you think that you may be low in Vitamin D, request a blood test from your general practitioner.
For more information about how much Vitamin D you require visit the Better Health or Osteoporosis Australia Website:
Due to the warmer weather I have been consuming more salads. One of my favourite low FODMAP salad recipes which also provide the food source of Vitamin D is a traditional Niçoise Salad. I first fell in love with the Niçoise Salad when I was living in France 9 years ago and have continued to consume if frequently since.
Don’t know what a Niçoise Salad is?
Here is a traditional Recipe which has been slightly altered (removal of red onion + garlic) to be Low in FODMAPs
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6 persons
1 large mesclun salad mix or 1 large packet mixed leaves
1 x 500g canned tuna in olive oil
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 small cucumbers, sliced
12 black olives
4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered (or you can poach 1 egg per serving)
6 anchovy fillets
500g small chat potatoes (or potatoes of choice), cut in half then boiled and drained
12 green beans, blanched
1/2 sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
6 basil leaves, sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- Hard Boil eggs, then rest in a bowl of cold water until ready to peel
- Boil potatoes, when 1 minute off being cooked add in the green beans. Drain both together and sprinkle with salt
- Mix all salad ingredients together including potatoes and beans
- Drizzle over vinaigrette, mix and then serve (you may not need all of the dressing)
This salad is super satisfying and provides a variety of nutrients including: protein, omega-3, Vitamins A-K, fibre and much more.
If you are not into fish you could always swap the tuna and anchovies for grilled chicken. If you are vegetarian you can omit the fish and double the amount of eggs. If you are vegan you can omit the fish and eggs and slice a 500g block of tofu or tempeh lightly salt it and then pan fry in some olive oil or oil of choice.
So get outside each day, more is not always better so if you are outside for longer than is recommended remember to slip, slop, slap to prevent against skin cancer. If you are not sure if you are getting enough vitamin D get your Vitamin D levels checked.
Until next time, I am Atlanta Miall (APD, SDA)