NBS students may enjoy dancing outside on a nice summer’s day, but they must learn additional strategies to ensure they get the necessary amount of vitamin D year-round.
This year, NBS’ Professional Ballet Program students and their parents learned from NBS’ consultants – including physicians and nutritionists - that vitamin D is critical to the development of dancers. It improves bone health through facilitating calcium absorption, promotes proper immune function and reduces inflammation. This is particularly important for young dancers who spend much of their time in the studio (especially those who train in a northern country like Canada). In addition to learning why vitamin D is important, they also learned how to get enough of it. This information isn’t just important for dancers – it’s useful for everyone.
Students learned that exposure to sunlight is the most effective way of meeting vitamin D requirements, and just 10-15 minutes of sun exposure daily is often enough for the body to synthesize vitamin D through the skin. But, as many people living in Canada know, adequate sunlight exposure isn’t possible year-round, especially for dancers who spend so many hours inside a studio. That’s why Rebecca Dietzel, NBS’ consulting nutritionist, makes the recommendation that students take a vitamin D supplement and try to eat natural foods rich in the vitamin. This is particularly important during the winter months (November through March) when accessing vitamin D through sunlight is difficult.
So what are the foods that young, growing, active people can eat to maximize their vitamin D intake? Fatty fish (such as salmon and mackerel), liver, egg yolk, dark green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, and raspberries are all good sources. NBS’ chef de cuisine designs many of the students’ meals with these ingredients in mind which are not only rich in vitamin D but offer a host of other benefits too.
Want to learn more about NBS’ comprehensive resources and programs that support dancers’ holistic health? Click here to learn more.