NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Vitamin D May Increase Heart Health

Vitamin D May Increase Heart Health


The message of vitamin D being important for bone health is one health message that has not changed over the years.  But recently something was added to the message.


Preliminary research has shown that adequate vitamin D levels also may be linked with a lower risk of stroke, coronary artery disease and heart failure.


Many studies have shown a connection between heart disease and vitamin D deficiency. The Framingham Heart Study has followed more than 12,000 people to learn more about cardiovascular disease. The researchers have reported that those lacking vitamin D had an increased risk of heart disease.


Another study looked at adults who were known to have vitamin D deficiency. Within two years of starting the study, the individuals with extremely low levels of vitamin D showed more risk of strokes, coronary artery disease and heart failure when compared with those who had adequate vitamin D.


Other studies have found similar correlations amongst adolescents, menwomen and the elderly. So what does all this research mean?


Although much research shows that vitamin D deficiency is connected to a variety of diseases, little research has been conducted showing that it can cause or stop diseases already developed. Therefore at this point, the evidence suggests that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure:


The current minimum recommendation for vitamin D is 400 International Units (IU) per day. These are some of the best food sources of Vitamin D:


* Salmon (794 IU in 3 ounces)


* Tuna (154 IU in 3 ounces)


* Milk (115 IU in 8 ounces)


* Fortified orange juice (100 IU in 8 ounces)


* Yogurt (80 IU in 6 ounces)


* Cereals (the amount varies; on average, 40 IU in 1 cup)


* Eggs (25 IU per egg)


Include more vitamin D in your diet with this tasty main dish salad

Smoked Salmon Salad

1 bunch spinach

8oz.smoked salmon, skin removed

4 oz. Parmesan cheese, shredded

1 recipe for lemon tarragon vinaigrette or bottled dressing

1 C. cooked small pasta shells or cheese-filled tortellini, cooked


Rinse and clean the spinach. Tear into bite-sized pieces. Tear the salmon into bite-sized pieces. Add chilled cooked pasta and top with Parmesan cheese. Toss with chilled vinaigrette.


Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette

¼ C vegetable oil

2 T. tarragon-flavored vinegar or regular vinegar

½ tsp .garlic, minced

1 tsp.fresh tarragon,chopped

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 T .fresh lemon juice

Blend or whisk ingredients. Chill overnight.


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