Foods that are High in Vitamin D
"Get some sun, for health and fun,
with Vitamin D on the run,
your wellness journey has begun!"
Why Do We Need Vitamin D?
We all know that vitamin D is a 'Sunshine vitamin' acquired directly from sunlight and other food sources. It is essential to have this vital vitamin to keep our bones and teeth healthy and to support our immune system because it regulates the calcium and phosphorous levels in our body. It is also recommended to have enough vitamin D daily to prevent other health conditions linked to vitamin D deficiency. A recent study revealed that 3 out of every 4 Indians suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Lack of Vitamin D makes our bones weaker, the first sign of vitamin D deficiency. Let us look deeper into the food sources high in vitamin D in this blog to protect ourselves from deficiency.
What Is the RDA For Vitamin D?
The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU (15 mcg) for adults aged 19 and older and 800 IU (20 mcg) for those over 70 years of age.
Which Foods Are High in Vitamin D?
Having Vitamin D-rich foods into your daily diet is a delightful and nutritious way to ensure you get enough of this sunshine vitamin. Here is a guide to some delicious options you can enjoy every day:
- Fatty Fish: Salmon is a nutrient-packed option among fatty fishes. It is not just delicious but also a Vitamin D powerhouse. A single 3.5-ounce serving of farmed Atlantic salmon brings about 526 IU of Vitamin D to the table, covering 66% of your daily needs. But here is a catch–wild-caught salmon steps up the game even further, boasting up to 160% of the Daily Value (DV) in the same serving size.
- Cod Liver Oil: For those who are not keen on fish, cod liver oil offers a golden drop of nutrients, including a generous dose of Vitamin D. Just a teaspoon of this traditional remedy delivers a whopping 450 IU, which is 56% of the DV. But it is a double-edged sword due to its high Vitamin A content, so moderation is key to avoid surpassing the safe upper limit. Besides Vitamin D, it is a treasure house of omega-3 fatty acids, significant for heart health and reducing inflammation.
- Egg Yolks: Turning the spotlight on land-based sources, whole eggs, particularly the yolks, are little orbs of nutrition. A yolk from a large egg provides about 37 IU of Vitamin D. Yet, not all yolks are created equal. Those from chickens basking in the sun or fed Vitamin D-enriched feed can lay claim to significantly higher levels of this nutrient. In fact, certain fortified eggs may offer a staggering 2.5 times the DV of Vitamin D per yolk. Opting for eggs labeled as high in Vitamin D or from pasture-raised chickens can help you scramble toward your daily Vitamin D goals.
- Mushrooms: Focusing on plant-based sources, mushrooms are versatile vegetables that naturally produce Vitamin D when basked in sunlight. Whether you prefer them cooked, baked, or pan-fried, incorporating just under 100 grams of mushrooms into your meals can offer up to 2300 IU of Vitamin D, making them a top choice for your health.
- Oranges and Orange Juice: Bursting with Vitamin D and calcium, enjoying an orange or a cup of orange juice daily is not only refreshing but also infuses your body with approximately 100 IU of Vitamin D. It is a sweet, tangy way to boost your nutrient intake.
- Bananas: Known for their magnesium content, which is essential for activating Vitamin D in the body, bananas are a fruity path to meeting your Vitamin D needs. Health experts suggest eating 1-2 bananas daily for the best benefits.
- Spinach: For those who love greens, spinach is a powerhouse of Vitamin D and calcium. Whether you prefer fresh or cooked, incorporating 1 cup of fresh spinach or ½ cup of cooked spinach into your diet can energize your body and support your health.
- Yogurt: A delightful choice for Vitamin D enrichment, yogurt not only enhances Vitamin D levels but also provides calcium, protein, and probiotics. With 1 to 1 ½ cups recommended daily, fortified yogurt can also aid in preventing chronic diseases.
- Tofu: A vegetarian favorite, fortified tofu (also known as cottage cheese) is an excellent source of Vitamin D. It is obtained from soybean milk. Versatile in its use, from gravies to salad toppings, consuming around 25 grams of tofu daily offers a significant Vitamin D boost, with 100 grams providing about 100 IU.
- Soy Milk: As a plant-based alternative to cow's milk, soy milk is rich in Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and iron, offering similar protein levels. Drinking up to 500 ml daily can contribute 107-117 IU of Vitamin D per cup, making it a great choice for vegans and those with dairy intolerance.
- Cheese: A beloved ingredient for its rich flavor and nutritional content, cheese is a great source of Vitamin D, phosphorus, and calcium. Consuming about 40 grams daily can enhance your diet, with 100 grams of cheese containing 24 IU of Vitamin D.
- Cereals: Starting your day with cereals can be a lighter, nutritious breakfast option. They provide a reasonable amount of Vitamin D, among other essential vitamins and nutrients. Suitable portions range from 25 – 30 grams for children to 30 – 45 grams for adults, with cereals containing 40-100 IU of Vitamin D per 100 grams.
Embracing these foods not only diversifies your daily plate but also ensures a healthy intake of Vitamin D, supporting your journey to a healthier lifestyle.
The Bottom Line
While getting up enough of the sun's rays can naturally boost your Vitamin D levels, relying solely on sunlight is not always the safest route to meeting your Vitamin D needs. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) underscores the importance of safeguarding against UV exposure to diminish skin cancer risks. Given these precautions, turning to dietary sources and Vitamin D supplements emerges as a more reliable and secure method to fulfill your daily Vitamin D requirements. The array of foods highlighted in our discussion above stands as a testament to the rich sources of Vitamin D at your disposal.
Incorporating a variety of these Vitamin D-rich foods into your diet offers a practical and effective strategy to ensure you absorb sufficient amounts of this essential nutrient. From the depth of the ocean with fatty fish to the greeny spinach, these nutritional powerhouses provide a pathway to support your health without the need to compromise your skin's safety under the sun.
"Elevate Your Well-being with Every Dose of Vitamin D!"