Before you load up on foods to boost your vitamin D intake, you should know a little about it. Firstly, it isn’t a regular vitamin; it is a hormone your body produces with the aid of sunlight. Secondly, if you eat a well balanced diet and get 20 minutes of sun a day, you’re unlikely to have a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is important because it helps to fight depression, strengthens your immune system and keeps your bones strong. A deficiency of vitamin D can significantly increase your risk of dementia. I do not prescribe to the theory that because you might be deficient in something you should take supplements. All the best nutrients come from food, not a pill. Make sure you include these foods to boost your vitamin D intake.
Fish is one of the best foods to boost your vitamin D intake. And one of the best fish for healthy eating is salmon. It’s not only generally packed with nutrients, but it is also one of the most vitamin D dense foods of all. Wild salmon is the best choice, but even farm salmon is good for you. A 3oz fillet of salmon contains 447 IUs of vitamin D. With the Institute of Medicine recommending 600 IUs minimum for a healthy adult, salmon goes a long way to achieving that.
(* Please note the recommended minimum daily intake of vitamin D is different according to various bodies, with some saying the minimum is 2,000 IUs.)
No one will be surprised to see cow juice on the list. Generations of kids have grown up being encouraged to drink up their milk for strong bones. I’m not going to get into the dairy v non-dairy arguments here because we’re talking about vitamin D and there are plenty of other articles on AWS to read if you want information on this issue. All I’ll say is that milk is an excellent source of vitamin D. 1 cup has between 115-124 IUs depending on the fat content, with skimmed milks obviously having less vitamin D.
Eggs are another of nature’s good things. Obviously you don’t want to consume too many (but that goes for most things other than fruit and vegetables) but if you eat two eggs you’ll be getting 80-100 IUs. Free range eggs are better nutritionally than factory farmed and organic even better.
If you’re a meat eater, the best way to boost your vitamin D intake is to eat more pork. Generally, meat is not the best source of vitamin D, but pork has the most. Three ounces of pork will deliver up to 90 IUs but this depends on the cut. If you love ribs, you’re in for good news because those are the most vitamin-D dense part of a piggy, but there’s a trade off because they are also the fattiest part.
I know I already mentioned fish and salmon in particular, but tuna is another great choice. But a balanced diet needs to be affordable as well as nutritious. Not everyone can afford a lovely fresh wild salmon fillet or a fresh tuna steak on a regular basis, but all of us can afford canned tuna. As well as being very versatile, canned tuna has a healthy dose of vitamin D, and when it comes down to it, if you ‘re making the choice based on boosting your vitamin D, light tuna in oil is the best option; this will give you about one-third of your daily IUs. Another great canned fish choice is sardines.
6. Fortified Cereal
I know you’ve read tons of articles about how cereal is a really poor food choice. Like everything though, it depends how it fits in your diet and how much you consume. Remember we are talking about a balanced diet, so as long as you’re not overdoing the processed foods and sugar, cereal is a nutritious way to start the day or a good snack. One cup of cereal can provide 40-45 IUs depending on the brand. Best read the label carefully.
7. Shitake Mushrooms
Sadly, vitamin D is not big in the plant world. The vegetable that has the highest vitamin D content is the shitake mushroom. Other mushrooms have some vitamin D, but the shitake wins hands down.One serving will provide one-thirteenth of your daily allowance. Have a shitake mushroom omelet and you can be sure of a healthy dose of vitamin D.
I will reiterate that a balanced diet is the key to ensuring you are getting enough vitamin D. If you are not eating these foods and getting out in the sun, you are at risk of deficiency but that is easily avoided – yes? If you’re unsure, talk to your doctor or a nutritionist. Are you concerned about your intake of this crucial nutrient?
(You can read more about the importance of vitamin D here health.allwomenstalk.com.)