Injuries from slipping and falling become a growing concern during the fall and winter months, with limited daylight hours, rain, mud and ice creating more falling hazards. One of the most surprisingly effective ways to help prevent falls is through your diet, specifically when it comes to Vitamin D.
In a meta-analysis of 47 different randomized controlled trials, researchers report that “vitamin D supplement is one of the current possible interventions to reduce fall and fracture.” Meanwhile, scientists writing in the peer-reviewed JAMA journal warn that “Vitamin D deficiency is a well-defined risk factor for falls and hip fractures.”
Instead of taking a supplement, try the following meals. Vitamin D from whole food sources have a high bioavailability, meaning your body has a better chance of absorbing and using this important fall-reducing nutrient.
BREAKFAST: Creamy Strawberry Orange Banana Smoothie
A single cup of fortified orange juice gets you approximately 100 international units (IU) of vitamin D. A morning shake made with OJ is thus a sweet and delicious way to wake up your mind and body with the so-called “sunshine vitamin.” But that’s not all you’ll get in this creamy smoothie! You’ll also enjoy a full serving of digestion- and metabolism-enhancing fiber from the oats (which also add a significant boost of vitamin D), plus protein and lots of immune system-boosting antioxidants like vitamin C and carotenoids.
3/4 cup fortified orange juice
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 cup froze strawberries
1 frozen banana
1 scoop vanilla protein
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
LUNCH: Fast Veggie Frittata
This high-protein lunch will keep you satisfied for the rest of the day, banishing unhealthy snack cravings. It also contains nearly a third of your daily needs of vitamin D.
The red onions and cherry tomatoes add important antioxidants that strengthen your immune system and provide additional vitamins for strong bone health. But here’s a trick: you can add any type of vegetables you want. It’s a great way to use up leftover herbs, potatoes, greens, and anything else you have in your fridge.
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup red onions, diced
1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While your oven is heating up, whisk half of the cheese with the salt, pepper, egg and Greek yogurt.
In an oven-safe cast iron pan, saute the onions and mushrooms until fragrant. Add the eggs, scatter the tomatoes and other half of the cheese on top, and bake for 15 minutes or until the eggs are well done. Enjoy!
DINNER: Tuna Casserole
This rich, creamy comfort dish is perfect for a cold fall day. It’s packed with vitamin D, with the two cans of tuna providing more than 500 IUs of the sunshine vitamin. Tuna is also a good source of other bone-strengthening nutrients, such as vitamin K. But you won’t be thinking about vitamins when you pop this easy-to-make dish into the oven and enjoy the amazing aromas that ensue.
1 12-ounce package egg noodles
1/2 white onion, diced
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup frozen green peas
2 cans tuna, drained
2 10-ounce cans condensed low-sodium cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup sliced button mushrooms
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is heating up, boil the pasta according to its packaged instructions, then drain.
In a mixing bowl, combine the noodles, diced onions, half of the cheese, peas, tuna, cream of mushroom soup, and sliced mushrooms. Mix well, then pour into a 9×13 oven-safe dish. Garnish with the rest of the cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy!