5 Foods Which are High in Vitamin D
Vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for good health. It is the only one which is created by the body in the presence of sunlight, and is vital for bone health, the immune system, and other functions. The simple fact remains, however, that most people do not get enough of this essential nutrient.
Modern life is fraught with difficulties when it comes to getting enough vitamin D. Our work and lifestyle keep us indoors and away from direct sunlight, and we tend to wear sunblock when we are out in the height of the summer to avoid skin cancer and premature aging. Add to this the fact that we may not always eat a balanced diet rich in vitamin D, and you can see why so many people are deficient in this essential nutrient. Here are five foods which are great sources of vitamin D which you should include in your diet.
Fish is one of the best dietary sources of vitamin D. Salmon is a popular fatty fish which contains great levels of vitamin D as well as omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Fresh, wild salmon is the best source, with around 124% of your dietary requirements in a 100g serving. Farmed salmon contains significantly less vitamin D, around 32%. Fresh salmon tends to be expensive, though. Therefore, tinned salmon presents an easier, cheaper option for those on a budget.
Tinned tuna is an even cheaper option and also keeps well for a long period of time. 100g of tinned tuna contains around 34% of your daily requirement of vitamin D. It’s also a great source of vitamin K and niacin. However, you must be careful when consuming tinned tuna as it contains methylmercury, a potent toxin which can cause serious health problems if it builds up in the body.
Fish isn’t the only source of vitamin D. For those who don’t like fish or don’t eat it for dietary or ethical reasons, eggs are another food which contains good amounts of this vitamin. They’re also a source of several other important nutrients.
Whilst the whole egg is good, it is the yolk that contains most of the fats, minerals, and vitamins. Levels of vitamin D present in egg yolks depend on factors such as the chicken’s exposure to sunlight and the vitamin D content in chicken feed. One typical egg yolk contains around 5% of your dietary vitamin D requirements.
Mushrooms are one of the best non-animal sources of vitamin D. This makes them a particularly good source of this essential nutrient for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet. In fact, excluding fortified foods, these are the only really good plant source. Wild mushrooms are the best source, with some varieties containing nearly 3 times the recommended daily amount of vitamin D.
Mushrooms synthesize vitamin D from sunlight, which means that commercially grown mushrooms contain far less as they are often grown in the dark. However, their vitamin D content can be increased by treatment with UV light.
As sources for those who either don’t like eggs and fish or are on a plant-based diet are limited, many foods are fortified with vitamin D. These include dairy products and various plant milks such as soy milk, orange juice, and cereals. Though these sources contain typically much less per serving (around 10-20%), they are a good way to increase your intake of vitamin D.
Getting enough vitamin D from diet alone can be incredibly hard (although not impossible) but by eating the foods listed in this article you will be off to a good start. If you are concerned that you’re not getting enough from your diet, you can take supplements to boost your levels of vitamin D. And, of course, getting out of the house and into sunlight will provide you with the best boost to your vitamin D levels possible.