Best Foods with Vitamin D

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Vitamin D, the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, is essential for our body. You will be surprised to know that about 50% of the population around the world have vitamin D deficiency. You will suffer from Osteoporosis, which is the thinning of bones if your vitamin D intake is less than recommended.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is needed for bone ossification, cellular processes, and neuromuscular function. It plays a critical role in calcium absorption that is needed for your bone health. It is great for the immune system and can prevent osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity and even cancer.

When you are exposed to sunlight, your body produces vitamin D. But it is a fact that about 50% of the population of the world doesn’t get enough sunlight, partly because they spend most of the time indoors or wear sunblock lotion when stepping outside. The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for vitamin D is 600 IU for people aged 1 to 70 and it is 800 IU for those above the age of 70. So, as we grow old, we need more vitamin D to remain healthy.

Vitamin D is naturally present in a variety of foods. Here are the best foods with vitamin D that can help you to have strong bones and teeth, and prevent some serious illnesses as well.

1. Salmon

Salmon is a good source of vitamin D. It contains 361 to 685 IU of vitamin D per 100 gram, omega-3 fatty acids and protein. You can choose either wild or farmed salmon. Though wild salmon contain more vitamin D, there is a risk of contamination of toxins in this case and so farmed fishes are safer. You should include salmon as part of your lunch or dinner menu regularly. You can eat it raw, pan-seared or baked. If you are short of time then you can choose canned salmon which requires less time to prepare.

2. Sardines

Sardines contain vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, proteins and essential vitamins and minerals which help in supporting your bones and teeth. Unlike other wild fishes, sardines don’t have toxins as they eat planktons and so they are very clean seafood. You can have sardines for lunch or dinner to fulfill the need for vitamin D in your body.

3. Canned Tuna

Canned tuna has a nice flavor that will make your sandwich delicious. It is also easy to store and that’s why you will find it in most pantries. It not only contains vitamin D, but also has vitamin K, niacin, potassium, selenium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Tuna contains selenoneine that helps to detoxify mercury. You should buy light tuna with a low amount of mercury to avoid any health issues.

4. Cod Liver Oil

Many people don’t like eating fish. Cod liver oil is a good alternative for them. It is an excellent source of vitamin D and is good for children’s health also. It also contains vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids that are essential for good health. Some people might find it difficult to consume cod liver oil and in that case, you can get cod liver oil capsules from the market.

5. Oysters

Oyster is full of nutrients and low in calories; as a result, it is very healthy food. It is an excellent source of vitamin D and also contains vitamin B12, zinc, and copper which have a positive impact on your bone health. Though you can eat raw oysters with hot sauce, it is recommended that you cook it, and then eat it in order to avoid any health issues.

6. Shrimp

Shrimp has low-fat content and high amount of vitamin D. It also contains omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin A. Shrimp has dietary cholesterol that is safe and doesn’t have any major impact on the blood’s cholesterol level. You can add shrimp to your soup or season it with garlic, butter, white sauce, shallot, etc.

7. Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are rich in vitamin D that supports neuromuscular function and bone ossification. You should choose free range eggs as they have higher levels of vitamin D. Though egg yolks contain high levels of bad cholesterol, they contain protein and important minerals such as selenium and zinc as well that helps to boost your immune system. It also contains vitamin B in minute quantities. So, you should always eat the whole egg instead of eating the egg whites. You can include eggs in your breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

8. Mushrooms

Mushroom is a great plant source of vitamin D. Just like us, mushrooms can produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Mushrooms also contain various B vitamins and potassium. The level of vitamin D varies according to the type of mushroom. It is better to buy mushroom that has been exposed to ultraviolet light because these mushrooms will have higher levels of vitamin D. You can add mushroom to your salads or pasta dishes.

9. Fortified Foods

If you are a vegetarian or don’t like fish, then you can have fortified foods for getting vitamin D. Also, natural food sources containing the adequate amount of vitamin D are limited. Therefore, foods are fortified with the vitamin so that people can get enough vitamin D needed from these foods. Food fortification actually began in the 1930s when the vitamin D deficiency disease rickets was a major concern in the U.S. So, a food fortification program was started so that people could get enough vitamin D to prevent rickets. Here are some benefits of fortified foods.

  • Cow’s milk that is fortified with vitamin D also contains calcium, riboflavin and phosphorous which are good for health.
  • Soy milk is a plant-based milk substitute that is fortified with vitamin D and other important minerals.
  • As about 75% of people around the world are lactose intolerant, they can drink fortified orange juice containing vitamin D and calcium.
  • Oatmeal and cereals are fortified with vitamin D and are great to have for breakfast.
  • Fortified yogurt is also a good source of vitamin D and contains probiotics that are good for the guts.

10. Beef Liver

Beef liver not only contains iron but also vitamin D. It also contains other vitamins and minerals that are needed for good health. If you don’t like eating beef liver, you can take the supplement. However, beef liver is high in cholesterol and so if you have high pressure or heart-related problems, then you should avoid eating beef liver and instead have the fishes that contain vitamin D.

One of the best ways to get vitamin D is to go outside and stand under the sun for 5 to 15 minutes. Don’t wear any sunscreen during this time. It is better to go out in the morning or late afternoon when the sun rays are not too strong. Besides this, you should include the foods mentioned above in your diet every day. Vitamin D is vital for your bones and other parts of the body. As you grow old, you need more vitamin D to stay strong and healthy. So, eat more food that contains vitamin D so that you never have to suffer from vitamin D deficiency issues.

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