10 Vitamin D foods you need in your diet
Vitamin D aka the “sunshine vitamin” is produced in our bodies when we are exposed to the sun. But very few of us think to look for it in the fridge – which is a big mistake.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is actually a hormone, a steroid hormone that is produced out of cholesterol when your skin is exposed to the sun, which is why it’s also known as the “sunshine” vitamin.
Vitamin D is unique because it can be obtained from both foods and sun exposure. Sun exposure these days, however, is inadequate which is why it becomes necessary to supplement it in your diet as it is absolutely essential for optimal health.
Vitamin D benefits
Research suggests that getting plenty of Vitamin D has several potential health benefits. Some of these are:
- Vitamin D may reduce cancer risk by 60%
- It increases physical strength in both upper and lower limbs
- Helps prevent osteoporosis, falls and fractures in the elderly
- Having 2000 IU of Vitamin D per day may reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes by 78%
- Some studies show that Vitamin D supplementation may help you live longer.
How to get Vitamin D?
Interestingly, we can get our entire daily Vitamin D requirements by spending just a few minutes in the sun. But if the clouds have rolled in, the rain’s begun to fall and it’s got a bit cold, we’re in trouble. We have to seek out our Vitamin D elsewhere.
The good news is there are several foods that are high in Vitamin D. The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is 400 IU of Vitamin D per day from foods but many health organisations recommend getting 600 IU. If you don’t get enough sunlight it should probably closer to 1,000 IU per day.
Vitamin D foods you need to include in your diet
Here is the list of 10 Vitamin D rich foods that can easily help you meet your Vitamin D requirements.
Fatty yet healthy fish like salmon is full of fish oil and fish oil is full of Vitamin D. And while a six-ounce salmon steak will get you topped up in Vitamin D, at only 200 calories, it won’t get you in the bad books with your weight control.
Milder and less oily than salmon, trout is nonetheless an even bigger source of Vitamin D. It’s a white fish, a game fish and it’s absolutely delicious. It’s also not a cheap fish, so if budget concerns dictate, it may not be your first option.
Three: Herring and Sardines
Herring is one of the best sources of Vitamin D and can be served raw, canned, smoked or pickled. Pickled herring, sardines and other fatty fish like Halibut are also good sources of Vitamin D.
Four: Chanterelle mushrooms
A cup of these little guys has only 20 calories, yet is packed with a good dose of Vitamin D. Another way to keep yourself healthy without upsetting your diet.
Five: UV-exposed Portabella mushrooms
Yes, mushrooms that have lain in the sun for you; these ultraviolet light-enriched mushrooms are high in Vitamin D.
Did you know that certain foods can increase your metabolism? Read about 10 Simple Metabolism Boosting Foods to Stay Fit in our previous blog.
Yep, a nice easy one; egg yolks are rich in Vitamin D, so you can boil up a dozen and keep them in the fridge for an easy top up. While most of the protein in an egg is found in the egg whites, the fat, vitamins and minerals are found mostly in the yolk.
Seven: Breakfast cereal
Whole grain breakfast cereals are often topped up with Vitamin K, so check the nutrition label before you buy.
No surprises, milk is fortified with Vitamin D. So if you’re not lactose intolerant, milk is your easiest source that includes many nutrients like calcium, phosphorous and riboflavin.
Nine: Milk alternatives
If you do have an aversion to lactose, tuck into some soy milk or almond milk instead; both good sources of Vitamin D. Soy milk is fortified with vitamins and minerals found in cow’s milk, making this is a good source of vitamin D for vegans who are particularly at risk of not getting enough.
Ten: Canned tuna
Canned tuna is a cheap, easy and convenient source of Vitamin D. Keep a few cans in the pantry and top up your Vitamin D with a tuna mayonnaise whenever the sun’s not out.