Welcome to the first edition of our regular nutrition and food blog, NBite!
In each article, we'll be focusing on a different nutrition/health topic and showcasing a food that's in season, along with an accompanying recipe link you can try at home.
We'll also have lots of hints and tips to get the best out of the foods we buy and their main health benefits.
Hope you enjoyVitamin D
You may remember over the winter months, seeing a number of news articles and reports about Vitamin D and how it could prevent colds and flu.
The media reports came from a study published in the British Medical Journal which looked at the research published on Vitamin D supplements to prevent colds and flu infections.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps control the levels of calcium and phosphate in our bodies which are important to keep our bones, teeth and muscles healthy. It also helps to keep our immune systems functioning properly. Vitamin D in the diet is most commonly found and eaten in this country in fortified breakfast cereals, infant formulas and various kinds of margarine, it is also found naturally in foods such as eggs, oily fish, red meat and liver. But even eating these foods it is difficult to get the amount we need each day.
Our main source of Vitamin D comes from our own bodies when our skin comes into contact from Ultraviolet B (UVB) waves from sunlight. This is fine for most people during the summer months in this country (April to late September) but unfortunately during the winter, as well as there being less sunshine, it contains fewer UVB waves, so this process stops.
How much do we need?
To ensure we all get enough Vitamin D during the winter months, it's recommended that from the age of 4 years old we should take a pill supplement or vitamin drop of 10 micrograms (mcg) each day. Babies that are breastfed are also recommended to be given a supplement of 8.5-10 mcg a day, bottle fed babies, however, don't need a supplement as mentioned above, formula milk is already fortified with Vitamin D.Seasonal food spotlight
For the first of our showcased foods, this weeks spotlight falls on the not so humble vegetable, the Leek.
Leeks belong to the allium family of vegetables along with onions and garlic, so also contain many of the same beneficial nutrients. They are high in vitamin K and manganese and are also a source of vitamins A and C. Leeks are at their best this month, in terms of nutrition, flavour and price! (At the time of writing this, the best price for leeks is 65p for 500g in Aldi)
Top tip: When using leeks, onions or garlic, let them sit for 5 mins after cutting or crushing before cooking, as this allows more of their health benefiting compounds to be produced.
For a great dish using leeks, follow the link below to our recipe section
Leek and potato cake recipe