Why are vitamins so important? A,B,C,D,E .. Our concentration is on D today.
How important are Vitamin D rich foods? Of all the Vitamins, calcium, iron, and proteins that are needed for our growth and development, there is one vitamin which is unique – vitamin D which can be obtained from food and sun exposure.
However, it is very strange that in a country like India where we get abundant sunlight, most of the population is diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency.
It is the vitamin d deficiency symptoms that can make us prone to many diseases such as rickets, weak immunity, cancer, poor hair growth and osteomalacia (in other words, softening of bones). Vitamin D sources come to the rescue when we have them in good quantities on regular basis.
Says nutritionist Niharika Ahluwalia “Calcium strengthens the bones but is only useful in the presence of Vitamin D. The Vitamin acts on cells in the body and allows them to absorb calcium from the intestines. This ensures that there is enough calcium for the body to use. So essentially, one cannot do without the other.”
It means, the right amount of vitamin D foods (not excess) can be your only saving grace.
Vitamin D Facts – Surprise Surprise!
- Vitamin D is called the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’. Why? Because it is naturally made by our body upon exposure to the sun.
- It’s true! That 20 minutes of daily sun exposure is adequate to meet our vitamin D requirement. Nothing more. Nothing less.
- It is an abundance of goodness for our health to have adequate Vitamin D levels.
- Vitamin D deficiency leads to premature death.
Know the sources of vitamin d? There are plenty of them which will be shared one by one in this blog.
Allow me to share with you how many international units (IU) of Vitamin D is required for kids and adults. According to the Institute of Medicine, here are the figures:
- Age 1-70: 600 IU
- Age 71 and older: 800 IU
That leads us to the next thing – the sources of vitamin d which are important to us. They can be vegan vitamin d foods too.
Check out these Vitamin D sources which boost your Vitamin D levels :
Salmon is a Vitamin D rich food.
3.5 oz (100 gm) of Salmon contains between 361 IU and 685 IU of vitamin D. The wild-caught salmon has 988 IU of Vitamin D per serving, while farmed salmon on an average has 250 IU.
2. Herring And Sardines
Herring is one fish eaten around the world which can be served in four different ways – in raw, canned, smoked or pickled form.
- Fresh Atlantic herring provides 1,628 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving. That makes it an awesome source of vitamin d.
- Pickled herring provides 680 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving
- Sardines contain 272 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram)
- Halibut provides 600 IU per serving whereas Mackerel provides 360 IU per serving
3. Cod Liver Oil
Welcome to another good vitamin d supplement – the Cod Liver Oil. If you don’t have a taste for fish, then cod liver oil is a good way to get nutrients, not possible from other sources. In fact, Cod liver oil has been used for many years to prevent and treat vitamin d deficiency symptoms in children.
- Cod Liver oil gives 450 IU per teaspoon (4.9 ml)
- Cod Liver oil is a fantastic source of vitamin A as well (but it can be toxic if taken in excess)
- Also, Cod Liver Oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Canned Tuna
Why do some people like to indulge in canned tuna? Because it has a light flavour and is relatively cheaper than fresh fish (in terms of cost).
- Canned Tuna has up to 236 IU of vitamin D in a 100-gram
There is another side to this fish form. Apparently, canned tuna is often linked to methylmercury (a toxin found in many types of fish). If it builds up in the human body, it can be detrimental to health. No worries, you can go for light tuna instead of white tuna. The light one is safer to eat up to 6 oz per week.
Hope you know what oysters are? They are clams that live in salt water – delicious, nutrient-rich and low in calories.
- One 3.5-oz (100-gram) of wild oysters has only 68 calories but has 320 IU of vitamin D
- It also contains more copper, vitamin B12 and zinc than a multi-vitamin.
This is a popular type of shellfish but low in fat. It is good sources of vitamin d. Plus, it also has omega-3 fatty acids.
- Shrimp has 152 IU of vitamin D (per serving)
- Shrimp contain cholesterol,but it is no cause for concern
7. Egg Yolks
It’s heartening to know that seafood is not the one-and-only sources of vitamin d. Welcome whole eggs, the other food item rich in vitamin D which is good in nutrition.
The egg yolk has most of the vitamins, fats and minerals, while the egg white has most of the protein part.
- Eggs coming from commercially raised hens have about 30 IU of vitamin D per yolk, whereas eggs from hens that have been fed on vitamin-D diet have much higher levels of IU.
So ditch the egg whites and go for the egg yolk, the most nutritious part of the egg.
Heard or tasted them?
They are the only plant source to have vitamin D. And they are delicious as well…
When exposed to UV light, mushrooms can synthesize vitamin D2. In fact, wild mushrooms are Xcellent sources of vitamin d2.
Cook it, bake it or pan fried it and turn it into a yummy and healthy delight.
9. Fortified Foods
There are certain food items which don’t have natural vitamin D, yet they are fortified with it. Yet, they are a rich alternative to Vitamin D supplements.
And there are 4 such fortified foods you need to know which come under the category of vitamin d foods.
Cow’s Milk: In many countries, cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D. It has about 130 IU per cup (237 ml).
Soy Milk: Vitamin D is found exclusively in animal products, which puts all vegetarians at a big risk of not getting enough of this most wanted vitamin. Luckily, plant-based milk such as soy milk is fortified with it. In fact, one cup soy milk contains between 99–119 IU of vitamin D.
Orange Juice: Vitamin D fruits are the best. 75% of people across the world are lactose-intolerant. Another 2-3% have an allergy towards milk. That is why there are some countries that fortify none other than Orange Juice with vitamin D and other nutrients (including calcium). One cup fortified orange juice when had for breakfast can get you 142 IU of vitamin D.
Cereal and Oatmeal: One and a half-cup serving of cereal and oatmeal can provide you between 55 and 154 IU.
Though I have covered most of the sources of vitamin d, there is another route apart from food on how to get Vitamin D. Like sunlight to get your daily dose of Vit D. Put on your UV-based sunscreen before you step out in the sun if the idea of tan scares you.
Now, that you are well aware of how to get Vitamin D into the body. Are you thinking if this is worth your time? Well, take a minute to read…
Vitamin D Health Benefits
- Vitamin D supports verbal communication. Pregnant women will be less likely to have babies with language difficulties.
- A guarantee to healthier bones as you age, if your body has an adequate level of Vitamin D.
- Reduced risk of diabetes. There is an inverse relationship between blood concentration of Vitamin D and the risk of diabetes.
- Less likely to have cancer. Vitamin D in the body promotes cell growth and cell to cell communication, hence reducing the chances of cancer.
Are you looking for Vitamin D boost now?
Which of the Vitamin D sources have you tried and tested? Share with us!