Research on vitamin D has exploded in recent years, yielding a seemingly endless list of newly discovered health benefits. While traditional research focused on the nutrient’s well-documented role in supporting bone health, the newly reported benefits range from dramatically reduced risk of colon, breast and ovarian cancer to improved cardiovascular health to reduced incidence of Type I diabetes.
Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co. Inc., has announced a nutritional breakthrough with the release of whole and sliced Dole Portobello Mushrooms with naturally enhanced levels of vitamin D, reaching over 100 percent of recommended daily requirements.
“Until now, getting 100 percent of your vitamin D needs from food alone has been hard,” says Nicholas Gillitt, Ph.D., nutrition research & labeling manager of the Dole Nutrition Institute. “But we’ve pioneered a patent-pending process in which light triggers vitamin D generation in mushrooms to 100 percent of the RDA — just as in the human body.”
An ordinary flash bulb — similar to the sort used in cameras — boosts the mushrooms' vitamin D content without compromising freshness or food safety. Despite the body's natural, sun-triggered ability to produce vitamin D, deficiency remains widespread. Vitamin D deficiency may be on the rise among kids — and is particularly acute amongst seniors and darker skinned ethnicities. Such a nutrient-dense, natural source of vitamin D could be a health boon for millions suffering from vitamin D deficiency, which not only undermines bones and teeth, but low levels of vitamin D have been linked to high blood pressure, compromised immunity and higher risk of colon, breast, kidney, prostate and colorectal cancer risk.
Dole's vitamin D innovation will shine a light — literally and figuratively — on the health benefits of mushrooms. Portobellos are already a significant source of seven vitamins and minerals — including well over a third of daily recommended riboflavin, a B vitamin which helps support the body's antioxidant systems.