With Brits in lock-down, spending fewer hours in the sun and with little prospect of foreign holidays, a health expert has warned that vitamin D levels are at risk of falling and believes mushrooms could be the superfood solution.
Research commissioned by The UK & Ireland Mushroom Producers, has revealed that one in four of us aren’t getting our daily recommended vitamin intake, with a further quarter having “no clue” on what the recommended daily amount even is!
Since the nation has embraced a renewed focus on wellbeing following the arrival of COVID-19, 13 per cent have admitted to the worry that they will develop a vitamin D deficiency. In addition, 22 per cent of people agreed to being worried about developing a weak immune system.
CONCERNS OF NEW-NORMAL
With lack of sunlight a cause for concern, one in ten at home are contemplating how they can achieve their daily dose of the essential vitamin.
When questioned on how they achieve their vit-hit, 19 per cent of respondents said they source it through taking supplements, with 27 per cent declaring they bought them for the first time or more frequently as a result of the pandemic.
Just 9 per cent of people polled seek natural alternatives, such as eating vitamin D rich foods. As we settle into the ‘new normal’, more than half of the nation are determined to not drift away from our new healthy lifestyle post-pandemic, with many adopting long-term habits that can boost immunity.
Nutritionist and best-selling cookery writer, Madeleine Shaw, explains why mushrooms are now qualified to join the ranks of other so-called superfoods, such as avocados and blueberries:
“Mushrooms are easily overlooked in the fruit and veg rainbow we’re advised to eat. High in antioxidants, they are commonly overlooked as a significant source of the sunshine vitamin D. As a key vitamin essential in supporting a normal immune system, Vitamin D plays a vital role in keeping our bones healthy, as it works to regulate our intake of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
“As we face less hours in the sun this summer due to cancelled holidays and life in lock-down, we need to explore different ways of finding how to best get what our bodies need. A readily available and easily overlooked source are mushrooms, that can be bought specially enriched with vitamin D.”
The latest NHS(1) advice urges the public to consider increasing their vitamin D intake from 5 micrograms to 10 micrograms. Shaw explains that eating just eight vitamin D enriched mushrooms a day would give you your daily recommended amount.
A staggering 84 per cent of those surveyed said they were unaware that they could achieve their RDA by simply incorporating the enriched mushroom into their everyday meals.
Containing virtually no fat, sugar or salt, new research suggests that eating mushrooms could help Brits maintain or even lose weight due to containing two types of dietary fibres, beta-glucans and chitin, which increase satiety and reduce appetite – keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Living up to their superfood label, mushrooms are also rich in umami, which has the ability to enhance flavour and gives it a few distinctive health benefits, including letting us cut back on salt without reducing flavour.
Urging households to become more label-aware when shopping, Shaw suggests taking a moment to look carefully at packs that call out added benefits.
“If you can’t get your hands on vitamin D enriched mushrooms and can only find regular mushrooms, here’s a little tip: place them in the window sill on a sunny day and in as little as an hour or two they become a source of vitamin D.”