Foods rich in vitamin D may benefit heart health

Vitamin D, sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin, is critical for keeping bones, teeth, and muscles healthy.

Eating foods high in vitamin D may help to protect heart health, researchers report.

The vitamin is critical for keeping bones, teeth, and muscles healthy, with most people able to get all they need from sunlight during the summer months and from foods and dietary supplements in the winter.

But in a study involving around 1,500 men and 1,500 women conducted by academics in Greece, experts found that in the lowest, middle, and highest categories of vitamin D intake, cardiovascular events occurred in 24 percent, 17 percent, and 12 percent of men, and 14 percent, 10 percent, and 11 percent of women. 

Accordingly, the team noted that in contrast with vitamin D supplementation trials that have shown modest to neutral, beneficial effects on heart health, this study revealed that increased vitamin D intake from food sources might protect against heart-related problems, especially in men.

“To the best of our knowledge, the study is one of the very few to evaluate the separate association of vitamin D intake received exclusively from food,” the authors said in a statement. 

Vitamin D is found in foods including red meat, liver, egg yolks, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel. 

It is also available in fortified spreads and some breakfast cereals, as well as cow’s milk in some countries.

Full study results have been published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

—Reuters