Popularly known as the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D has multiple essential functions. Its deficiency is a global problem, affecting over a billion people worldwide. The deficiency is caused by lack of sunlight exposure and reduced dietary intake. Exposing the skin to sunlight is not the only way you can get the required amount of vitamin, you can also get it through certain types of food.
Vitamin D regulates the functions of over 200 genes and is essential for growth and development. Its deficiency is linked to obesity, hypertension, diabetes, depression, heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases, birth defects, periodontal disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, bone abnormalities, and neuro-degenerative diseases. Studies have also shown that a lack of sufficient vitamin D in your body can contribute to the development of cancers such as prostate, breast, and colon cancers. Your immune system is also affected by the lack of vitamin D because it regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.1
According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), you should be getting at least 600 international units (IUs) of vitmain D per day, but some other organizations suggest even more.2
Here is a list of foods that you should include in your diet to avoid the perils of being vitamin D deficient.
1. Fatty Fish
Herring (served raw, smoked, canned, or pickled) is one type of fish that is loaded with the goodness of vitamin D. In fact, Fresh Atlantic herring provides 1,628 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving. The pickled version provides around 680 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving, but also has a high amount of sodium in it. Sardines are a type of herring that contains 447 IU in three ounces. Similarly, Halibut is another type of fatty fish which provides 600 IU per serving. Mackerel contains about 547 IU of vitamin D per 3-ounce serving.
2. Beef Or Calf Liver
Before you squirm at the thought, know that liver is one of the most nutrient-dense foods that are high in protein and a great source of vitamin D (about 42 IUs of vitamin D). You will also be getting the daily recommended dose of other essential vitamins like A, riboflavin, B12, and copper.
We all know that eggs are a goldmine of nutrients for everything from carotenoids, selenium, vitamin B6, vitamin A, zinc, vitamin B12, iron, choline, and much more. But did you know that the egg yolk, in particular, is a great source of vitamin D (41 IUs)?
4. Orange Juice
A glass of orange juice in the morning doesnt just give you an extra zing for the day, but around 137 IUs of vitamin D. Also, it will help you keep sugar under control and you will be getting the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. Now thats a great start to the day.
This delicious breakfast food is a great source of vitamin D, thiamin, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, selenium, manganese, iron, soluble and insoluble fiber. Oats are naturally gluten-free, helps control your weight and makes an easy, balanced breakfast.
6. Cod Liver Oil
If you are not a fish-fan, cod liver oil can be a good alternative to make sure that you get the nutrients you would from fish, without the fishy taste. This includes vitamin D. Cod liver oil provides about 450 IU per teaspoon (4.9 ml). Other than vitamin D, Cod liver oil is also a great source of fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin A (with 90% of the RDI in just one teaspoon. However, be cautious of the amount of cod liver you take because vitamin A in high amounts can be toxic. Consult your doctor regarding the right amount for you.
Fortified with vitamin D, milk provides from 115 to 124 IUs in one 8 ounce glass. Additionally, you will also be getting plenty of calcium, one of the most highly absorbed forms of protein, and potassium.
If going the dairy route is not your cup of tea, there are many dairy-free options available in the market (soy and almond milk for example) that are also vitamin D sources.
Mushrooms may not provide as much vitamin D as some of the other foods on this list (about 1 IU for a medium white one), but they are packed with other nutrients as well like protein, iron, vitamin C, selenium, copper, potassium, niacin, and phosphorous. Your immune system will thank you profusely for this addition to your diet.
9. Cheese And Yogurt
Made of milk, cheese has about 40 IU in 1 slice and yoghurt about 80–100 IUs in 6 oz. Cheese contains a host of nutrients like protein, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, zinc, and vitamin B12. Similalry, yogurt contains vitamin B-2, potassium, vitamin B-12, and magnesium.
10. Fortified Tofu
Fortified raw tofu has 120 IU of vitamin D. You can eat it baked, grilled, or seared. You could also add it to your diet in traditional stir-fry and noodle dishes.
The idea of looking in their fridge for the coveted Vitamin D is often overlooked because a lot of people don’t know that vitamin D can be got from certain foods. The foods in this list could be your safety net for vitamin D, especially if you live in a place where sunlight is an uncommon luxury or you just don’t get enough access to it due to the kind of work you do.
|↑1||Haq, Afrozul, Jitka Svobodová, Samira Imran, Charles Stanford, and Mohammed S. Razzaque. “Vitamin D deficiency: A single centre analysis of patients from 136 countries.” The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology 164 (2016): 209-213.|
|↑2||Vitamin D. National Institutes of Health|