The vitamin D is produced by the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation of the sun. But with an increasingly indoor life, along with fears about solar radiation and cancer risk, vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common. Eating the right foods can help you compensate for that deficit to some extent, so get plenty of vitamin D-rich foods and you’ll be back on the right track.
Limited Sun Exposure Could put you at a Higher Risk of Vitamin D Deficiency:
Some people are at greater risk of suffering from a deficiency of this type than others, and that is usually related to the limited exposure to the sun they receive, for example, anyone who stays at home and does not go outside. The elderly or those in nursing homes are also vulnerable. But even if you spend time outdoors quite frequently, you may also be at risk of a vitamin D deficiency if you wear clothing that covers most of your skin when you are outdoors. In addition to this, people with dark skin may also have such a deficiency because the high levels of melanin in their bodies make it difficult to absorb the vitamin D created after the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. This can lead to:
- Increased risk of fracture
- Low mood and depression
- Impaired cognitive performance in the elderly
- Rickets in children
- Secondary hyperparathyroidism
- Bone loss
Aim for a Daily Intake of 15 mcg of Vitamin D if Exposure to the Sun is Minimal:
Health authorities suggest an intake of 15 mcg of vitamin D for adults under 70 years and 20 mcg for adults over 70 years, regardless of whether they are male or female. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States has updated the daily values of food labeling for vitamin D to 20 mcg, higher than previous levels. Here are the main food sources of vitamin D that you can use to increase your numbers.
1. Fatty Fish such as Salmon, Sardines and Tuna:
Fatty fish is a great source of vitamin D. Therefore, try to eat salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna and sardines. To get an idea of how much vitamin D they contain, here are some popular options:
- Sardines : A can of sardines in tomato sauce consumed with thorns contains 17.8 mcg of vitamin D or 89% DV. A can of sardines in oil (drained) with the thorns gives you 4.4 mcg of the vitamin or 22% DV.
- Salmon : This fish contains 11.1 mcg for each serving of 85 grams of cooked salmon. That is 55.5% DV.
- Mackerel : This fish has about 9.7 mcg of vitamin D to the 85 gram portion of cooked fish that meets almost half (48.5% DV) of your daily vitamin value.
- Atlantic Herring : There are 4.6 mcg (23% DV) of the vitamin in a serving of 85 grams of cooked Atlantic herring and 3.9 mcg (19.5% DV) in a cup of pickled herring.
- Cooked yellowfin tuna : For each 85 gram portion of this fish, 1.7 mcg of vitamin D is obtained, which is 8.5% DV.
Most fish is fast cooking, making it the ideal meal for someone who is away from home. Some types of tuna take only a few minutes to cook if you buy prepared fish. Canned tuna or pickled herring are easily incorporated into salads or pasta for a delicious meal. Salmon is a very popular and delicious fish, like mackerel, and you can use it in various ways, depending on whether you fancy grilled fish, smoked fish with cream cheese on a bun or even in a light salad.
Although not as rich as fish, cooked liver has 1 mcg of vitamin D per serving of 85 grams. That is 5% DV. The disadvantage is that taking a liver on a regular basis is not a good idea because of the very high levels of vitamin A preformed in it that can accumulate in the body and be toxic. You can afford it occasionally. And when you do, try it a little in liver and onion sauce or put it with herbal sauce served with mashed potatoes. For a snack or a fun lunch, prepare an open sandwich with livers on toast, perhaps with a little sausage added to give it an interesting touch!
The kidney is another organ that has some vitamin D. Each serving of 85 grams of cooked kidneys has 0.9 mcg of vitamin D, which is 4.5% DV. Cook the kidneys in red wine sauce to make them succulent or in an Italian-style kidney, mushroom and potato recipe, or try a very British meat and kidney pie.
4. Egg Yolks:
A large egg yolk has 0.9 mcg (4.5% DV) of vitamin D. Eat the whole egg and you will get 1 mcg of the vitamin, which is a little more, since much of the vitamin D is contained in the yolk and not in the egg white. You can use eggs at breakfast as tortillas or eat simple fried or boiled eggs. You could even make an exotic egg curry or make baked eggs paired with a tapenade of salted olives or creamy spinach.
Some varieties of mushrooms are naturally rich in vitamin D. Mushrooms have 2.9 mcg of vitamin D2, which is approximately 14.5% DV. The hives have 3.4 mcg per cup that is 17% DV. Mushroom growers have also discovered that exposure of fungi to ultraviolet radiation during their cultivation helps raise vitamin D levels even further. Therefore, a cup of whole mushrooms exposed to ultraviolet light gives an impressive 27, 8 mcg of vitamin D (139% DV). But without exposure to light, I would give only 0.1 mcg of vitamin D, which is less than 1% DV. Whichever type of mushroom you choose, you will have many options on how to cook them. Larger varieties can function as hamburger substitutes and can be meaty and abundant. Some lend themselves to fill with cheese or vegetables. Others work well in fried foods. Or soups Or salads. The options are endless! One thing to remember with mushrooms is that they only give you vitamin D2. This is the least effective form of vitamin D than vitamin D3 found in animal sources such as shellfish, organ meat and eggs, in terms of increasing, maintaining and storing vitamin D in the body. Therefore, while it is a good source, if you are not a vegetarian, it may be better to adhere to seafood or other non-vegetarian sources of vitamin D for a more effective intake.
If you feel forgiving, the caviar has 0.8 mcg per serving of 28 grams, which is 4% DV. Decorate your scrambled eggs with a pinch of caviar. Or eat your caviar as you should eat, with some fresh cream, chives, white bread and lemon wedges on the side.
7. Foods Fortified with Vitamin D:
In addition to foods that contain vitamin D in large amounts naturally, some foods are fortified or fortified with vitamin D to improve their nutrient content. Typically, juices, milk, margarine or cereals lend themselves to such fortification.
- Milk: One cup of low-fat milk with added vitamin A and D has 2.9 mcg of vitamin D or 14.5% DV.
- Yogurt: One cup of low-fat vanilla yogurt fortified with vitamin D has 2.9 mcg of the nutrient, which is 14.5% DV.
- Juice: One cup of enriched orange juice has 2.5 mcg of vitamin D or 12.5% DV of the vitamin.
- Margarine: One tablespoon of margarine with added vitamin D contains 1.5 mcg of the nutrient, which is 7.5% DV.
- Cereal: Fortified cereals contain varying amounts of vitamin D depending on the amount added by the manufacturer. On average, a cup of ready-to-eat fortified cereal contains about 10% of the vitamin D DV.
Although all of these foods are good sources of vitamin D, even if you consume them, it is a good idea to try to get some exposure to sunlight when you can to allow your body to produce the vitamin naturally from the inside. But if that is complicated, you already know what you should eat to give your body that boost of vitamin D!