The health benefits of eating foods rich in vitamin D include reduced muscle pain, lower blood pressures and reduced risk of developing osteoporosis. Diets rich in vitamin D are also linked with a lower risk of chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and several types of cancers.
Vitamin D is best known for its role in promoting bone health. Vitamin D strengthens bones by helping them absorb calcium. Individuals with a vitamin D deficiency have higher risk of developing osteoporosis and experiencing a fall. Elderly women who increased their intake of both vitamin D and calcium for three months had lower risks of falling than women who took calcium alone.
Vitamin D is a key component of heart health. It maintains healthy blood pressure and lowers a person’s chances of having a heart attack. Vitamin D also stimulates the production of insulin in the pancreas. This is particularly important for individuals with type 1 diabetes, which develops from an inability to make insulin.
Vitamin D is best absorbed from fortified foods, such as milk, cereals and supplements. Individuals need to take 1,000 international units of vitamin D each day in order to achieve the levels that protect against chronic diseases.