Food Miles & Sustainability

Sunshine Surge!

10 July 2020

You can get a vitamin D boost by placing mushrooms in sunlight says expert…

And why shopping UK & Irish produce can not only be good for the environment, but your health too

  • Nutritionist, Lily Soutter, speaks out on how Brits can achieve a vitamin D hit just by placing mushrooms in the sun
  • As the nation gears up for a sunshine surge this Thursday and Friday, now is the time to get a natural boost of vitamin D
  • Fresh and locally sourced is best says Soutter, with British and Irish mushrooms travelling fewer miles and hours than international counterpart – retaining more nutritional goodness
  • Vitamin D helps support our immune function and plays a vital role in keeping our bones healthy

As the nation gears up for a few days of blistering hot sun this Thursday and Friday, a health expert has today come forward, urging Brits to give themselves a vitamin D boost by putting British & Irish mushrooms in the sunlight before eating them.  

Maintaining a strong immune system has never been more important than now, as the nation fights against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle and getting the right nutrients plays an important role in helping us to achieve this. And as the UK experiences a sunlight surge, there is no better time to get a natural boost in vitamin D.

Previous reports have suggested that fresh is best, with locally sourced produce that has travelled fewer miles than international counterparts retaining more nutritional goodness once it hits our plates.

However, Nutritionist, Lily Soutter, has unveiled a simple at-home hack that can give our bodies a much-needed vitamin d boost.

Soutter has joined forces with The Mushroom Bureau, a partnership between British and Irish mushroom farmers and growers, to educate the nation on the booming benefits the fungi can provide and why shopping locally sourced produce is not only good for the environment, but our health too.

She explains why the essential vitamin plays such an important role in keeping our immune system healthy:

“Vitamin D is a vital component to support our immune system and has a wealth of other benefits that help us care for our overall health too. From keeping our bones healthy, as it works to regulate our intake of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, to improved resistance against certain diseases.

“Having similar skin to that of humans, mushrooms naturally contain provitamin D and once in contact with the sun, it boosts levels of vitamin D naturally.

“Whilst enriched mushrooms will naturally come with a greater vitamin D content, you can easily add a natural dose of vitamin D to the regular British or Irish mushrooms by simply exposing them to the sunlight between 10am and 3pm for around 15-20 minutes.”

Speaking about the meat-free alternative, Soutter reveals that mushrooms are one of the only foods that vegans can source vitamin D from naturally.

Available 365 days a year, the humble mushroom has been crowned one of the most versatile vegetables by more than a third of Brits, thanks to its meaty texture.

“With a short shelf life, mushrooms last a maximum of nine days before they lose their vitamin content, due to their high respiration rate. Shopping the freshest, locally sourced mushrooms that have travelled fewer miles will ensure you consume the most nutritious mushrooms available.

“When purchasing mushrooms from outside of Britain and Ireland, they could be in transit for a shocking 36 hours or more before they reach our supermarket shelves! Yet, when buying locally grown mushrooms, transit time is more than halved, to a maximum of just 12 hours, helping to retain their freshness.

“By checking the label and seeking out mushrooms from Britain and Ireland, we can enjoy nutrient-dense fresh mushrooms with a lower carbon footprint, all whilst supporting local farmers – it really is a win-win for all.”

A spokesperson for the Mushroom Bureau, said: “Recent reports suggest that one in five of us are deficient in vitamin D, so it’s important to think of other ways we can incorporate this important vitamin into our daily diets[1]. Simply sourcing locally and making the most of the sunnier months ahead could help you and your family get that daily dose of vitamin D. As well as this, keep an eye out in store for ‘Vitamin D’ highlighted labels on packs as another way of getting that much-needed vit-hit.”

[1] Source: British Nutrition Foundation 2019

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