Vitamin D deficiency can be a serious issue, as the vitamin is crucial for keeping your bones healthy and warding off problems like osteoporosis, rickets, a weak immune system and osteomalacia. However, procrastination, environmental hazards and the harsh rays of the sun are some factors that prevent us from stepping out and getting our daily dose of vitamin D from the one freely available source – the sun. This is where vitamin D fruits, vegetables and other foods can help.
Your body naturally makes vitamin D when the skin is exposed to the sun, this is also the reason it is called the 'sunshine vitamin'. Depending on where you live, daily exposure for 20 minutes is enough to meet your daily dose of vitamin D. But if you don’t have enough time to spend outdoors or if your body has trouble absorbing it naturally, we recommend trying other sources such as vitamin D fruits, vegetables and proteins that can help make your bones stronger and healthier. Pregnant and breastfeeding women also require a good dose of this vitamin in their daily diet for bone health, immunity and healthy cell division. It may also help ward off dangerous conditions such as preeclampsia.
- 1. Orange juice
- 2. Eggs
- 3. Salmon
- 4. Milk
- 5. Tofu
- 6. Mushrooms
- 7. Cod liver oil
- 8. Raw Oysters
- FAQs about vitamin D:
1. Orange juice
Natural sources of vitamin D are limited, however, some readily available foods are fortified with this nutrient to ensure the body meets the daily requirement. Around 75% of the people around the world are lactose intolerant and 2-3% have some form of milk allergy. Not to forget a lot of people are vegetarian or vegan. For this reason, packaged orange juice in a lot of countries is fortified with vitamin D and other nutrients such as calcium to make sure you don’t miss out on your requirement of vitamin D.
Other than being rich in protein and nutrients, whole eggs are also a great source of vitamin D. If you don’t want to depend on fortified vitamin D fruit juices alone, you can consume eggs. However, remember that the protein in an egg is in the whites, minerals, fats and vitamins are in the yolks. So you will have to eat a whole egg in order to get that dose of vitamin D. Eggs are one of the most versatile foods that exists, you can prepare them in different variations each day and get your quota of vitamin D.
If you are a seafood lover, we have great news! Oils from fish have some of the highest quantities of vitamin D and salmon is a very beneficial fatty fish. A 100 gm salmon fillet contains about 450 IU of vitamin D! That’s not all! Don’t forget the omega 3 fatty acids that are great for heart health. Non-vegetarians with a love for seafood can get their recommended dose of vitamin D from fatty fish including salmon, trout, mackerel and tuna. Having a portion of fish with some grilled vegetables for dinner can be particularly healthy for your overall health.
A big glass of milk contains as much as 100 IUs of vitamin D, whereas a bowl of yoghurt contains about 80 IUs. The amount can be higher or lower depending on how much is fortified into the milk or yoghurt. Milk replacements for vegans and lactose-intolerant people such as soy milk, rice milk are also fortified with vitamin D and you can check the amount on the label. Vitamin D fruits, milk, whole eggs are all great options for vegetarians who can’t have fish. Consuming a glass of milk in the morning or adding it to your smoothie is a great way to include vitamin D in your diet.
Vitamin D is mostly found naturally in animal products, which is why vegetarians and vegans are at a higher risk of not getting enough. Tofu is another common food available in the market that is fortified with vitamin D for vegans and lactose intolerants to get their recommended daily dose from. Again, you can check the amount per serving on the packaging and can make adjustments accordingly. Stir fried tofu with some veggies is an excellent way to consume this vitamin d-fortified food.
Except vitamin D fruit juices and milk, mushrooms are the only plant-based foods that are a good source of vitamin D. Just like humans, mushrooms too synthesize this vitamin when exposed to sunlight. However, not all types of mushrooms are helpful, since most of them are grown in the dark and don’t contain the vitamin you need. Maitake and portobello are two types of mushrooms you can include in your diet. One cup of diced portobello mushrooms may contain as much as 400 IUs of vitamin D. You can add mushrooms to your soup, pasta or stir-fry them in some butter and garlic.
7. Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil offers many benefits and is helpful for your overall health. However, a lot of people don’t find it very appetising. These days cod liver oil capsules are flavoured with mint or citrus so it doesn’t give you bad burps once you pop it. One tablespoon of cod liver oil contains about 1300 IUs of vitamin D which is double than the recommended dietary allowance, excess of vitamin D is not good either. If you don’t want to get your vitamin D from fruits, milk or other options you can consider cod liver oil. However, consult your physician before taking it.
8. Raw Oysters
Another type of seafood that is full of nutrients and rich in vitamin D is oysters. A type of clam that lives in saltwater, oysters are low in calories and contain about 320 IUs of vitamin D. They also contain more vitamin B12, copper and zinc than a multivitamin tablet. Fruits definitely contain lesser amounts of vitamin D than seafood, therefore, if you are a non-vegetarian and love seafood, raw oysters and salmon are the richest sources. Adding boiled oysters to your salad will not only add heaps of taste but will also give you a lot of health benefits.
FAQs about vitamin D:
Q. Can I raise my vitamin D level quickly?
A. The most effective way to do that is by spending some time every day in the sunlight, consuming fatty fish or seafood or take a supplement.
Q. What causes low vitamin D levels in the body?
A. Deficiency can be a result of inadequate exposure to sunlight and health disorders such as gastrointestinal and liver diseases.
Q. What are the effects of low vitamin D on the body?
A. Depression, hair loss, fatigue and tiredness are some effects of low vitamin D levels in the body.