Vitamin D is popularly known as the sunshine vitamin. It is synthesized in the body when the body absorbs sunlight. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in various functions of the body. It may even help prevent cancer and protect against several chronic conditions, including – type 2 diabetes, heart ailments, bone loss, depression, and multiple sclerosis.
Sometimes it gets challenging to get your daily dose of vitamin D just from sunlight. That’s why it is recommended that you talk to your doctor and include vitamin D supplements along with a vitamin D rich diet to maintain your overall health and well-being. Vitamin D is essential for proper calcium absorption in the body and both these nutrients together work to make your bones and teeth stronger.
Signs Of Vitamin D Deficiency
The daily value of vitamin D is 800 IU (2 mcg). You would be surprised to know that vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common. If you don’t go out in the sun, wear strong sunscreen all the time, are a strict vegan or on a restricted vegetarian diet, or have a milk allergy, then the chances of vitamin D deficiency increase.
Look out for these signs that might indicate vitamin D deficiency
- Bone pain or arthritis
- Not being able to sleep properly
- Falling sick often
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Hair loss
- Feeling sad
- Depression and mood swings
These signs can be an underlying cause for any other condition as well. So, if you notice any of these signs, talk to your doctor at the earliest. He/ she would recommend a blood test and on the basis of the results, your doctor may prescribe vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D Rich Foods
These are the top 10 vitamin D rich foods that you can include in your diet
Spinach is one of the most nutrient dense green leafy vegetables. You can have it in salads, add it to smoothies, or make spinach curry. It is a great source of vitamin D and is enriched with iron as well.
Salmon is a favorite fish of many. But if you are someone who doesn’t like salmon, here’s a good enough reason to start including it in your diet. It is a rich source of vitamin D. Since it is a fatty fish, it is also a great source of omega 3 fatty acids that are needed to maintain your heart, brain, and eye health.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil supplements are really popular and many people take them as fatty fish is a great source of vitamin D. If you don't eat enough fish as part of your daily diet, then consider including cod liver oil supplements in your routine. It provides 450 IU (per teaspoon) of vitamin D, which accounts to 56% of the DV. Cod liver oil is also a rich source of vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acids. But getting vitamin toxicity from cod liver oil is quite common. So, make sure to consume only the amount mentioned to avoid any side effects.
A lot of people don’t know that mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D. Just like humans, mushrooms can also synthesize vitamin D when exposed to UV light. But you need to keep in mind that mushrooms provide vitamin D2, while other animal sources provide vitamin D3.
Whole eggs are also a great source of nutrition. But the most protein, vitamins, and minerals are concentrated in the egg yolk. The yolk of an egg contains 37 IU of vitamin D, which is around 55%. There are a few factors that affect vitamin D levels in egg yolks – sun exposure for the chicken, the vitamin D content of the chicken feed, and exposing liquid yolk to UV light will increase vitamin D in the egg.
Fortified Cow’s Milk
Cow’s milk is a good source of various nutrients like – calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin. If you consume dairy products, then you can try to replace buffalo milk with cow milk to get all the essential nutrients. It is also easy on the stomach, so if you have digestive problems then also cow’s milk can be a great alternative for you.
Bananas are a great source of vitamin D. They are also rich in magnesium and phosphorus. If you are on a weight loss journey, then bananas can be a great source of energy and would provide all the essential nutrients and keep you full.
Fortified Orange Juice
Major population in the world is lactose intolerant and some also have other kinds of milk allergy. For these people, one of the best sources of vitamin D is fortified orange juice. One cup (237 mL) of fortified orange juice with breakfast can start your day off with up to 100 IU of vitamin D, or 12% of the DV.
When eaten in moderation, cheese can be really healthy for your body. It is a good source of vitamin D and you can talk to your doctor to know which variety of cheese would be suitable for you to get the daily dose of vitamin D.
You can include cereals and oatmeal fortified with vitamin D as part of your daily diet. You need to understand that not all cereals are rich in vitamin D, so make sure to check the nutritional information. One cup of fortified wheat bran flakes contains 145 IU of vitamin D, equal to 18% of the DV. One cup of fortified crisp rice cereal has 85 IU of vitamin D, or 11% of the DV.
Keep in mind that even the best vitamin D supplements will now show magical results overnight. You need to be consistent with them and have them for at least 3 months to see visible changes. Do not consume any vitamin D supplement without consulting your doctor. Read the dosage instructions mentioned on each pack. Consuming more than the mentioned amounts can lead to side effects and may even trigger allergic reactions like – redness, rashes etc.