Vitamin D is one of the best nutrients for your brain and body that can be sourced from pure sunlight, supplements, or better yet, Vitamin D rich foods. Vitamin D is such an important nutrient that many doctors now believe Vitamin D acts as an actual hormone in our bodies. It has an incredible function and impact on our thyroid, metabolism, colon, heart health and bone health. Vitamin D is best found through daily sunlight exposure of at least 15 minutes, however since many people don’t get this today due to weather restrictions or schedule restrictions that limit them indoors, supplements and Vitamin D rich foods are more important than ever. Vitamin D can help with depression, a poor digestive system, weak bones, rickets, heart murmurs, joint pain, diabetes, epilepsy, hypoglycemia, asthma and chronic fatigue syndrome. The recommended dose of Vitamin D each day is anywhere from 400 I.U. (international units) to 4,000 I.U., which is the daily uptake level. To get the most healthy forms of Vitamin D, get out in the sunlight as much as you can and eat these Vitamin D rich foods.
Salmon is one of the best Vitamin D rich foods you could get your hungry hands on! Salmon contains over 1,000 I.U. of Vitamin D, which is well over 250% of your daily requirement levels. All fish is a great source of Vitamin D, but salmon, herring, sardines, tuna, trout and sole seem to be the richest sources available.
Eggs are a wonderful source of Vitamin D, along with other nutrients. Though much lower in Vitamin D levels than salmon, eggs contain 10% of your daily Vitamin D requirement, making them a great source to include in your goal towards reaching the required level. Eggs are also a wonderful source of choline, protein and iron, making them an overall great body and brain food.
3. Dairy Milk
Goat’s milk and cow’s milk are great source of Vitamin D and bone-building calcium. Goat’s milk contains 31% of your daily Vitamin D requirements and cow’s milk contains about 50% of your Vitamin D daily requirements. Be sure to buy organic milk for the healthiest dairy options, and buy 1% to reduce your saturated fat intake. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, however, so be sure to at least consume 1% or consume fat-free milk with another source of healthy fat for the best uptake. Most Vitamin D foods contain healthy fats, yet if they don’t, do add in a little fat so you get the best nutrient uptake possible.
4. Nondairy Milks (soy, Almond)
Nondairy milks such as soy and almond milk are wonderful sources of Vitamin D. These milks are fortified and contain some natural sources of Vitamin D, along with more calcium than dairy milk. Soy and almond milk both contain about 350 I.U. of your daily Vitamin D requirements, so two cups daily would send you well into reaching required levels. Add these nondairy milks to smoothies, coffee and cooked dishes, or just drink them straight up!
5. Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake mushrooms contain about 4% of your daily Vitamin D levels, making them a good, but not excellent source. Mushrooms are still higher than any other vegetable in Vitamin D, making them a great way to get in the vitamin by adding only 30 calories per serving. All mushrooms are a good source of Vitamin D since sunlight feeds their growth. Stick to shiitake mushrooms for the most bang for your buck and a super-tasty source of Vitamin D.
Shrimp, along with other crustaceans such as lobster, are an excellent source of Vitamin D, with around 290% of your daily Vitamin D requirements in a ½ cup serving. Grill, sauté, or steam some shrimp, but either way you eat it, shrimp is a great brain food. It is also rich in protein and contains no fat, making it a good way to get in some guilt-free Vitamin D.
I’m not too much of a tofu fan, but if you are, then you’re in luck. Tofu and tempeh (fermented soy) are both rich in Vitamin D and a great source for vegans since most other sources come from animals. Many soy products such as tofu are fortified with both calcium and Vitamin D, so be sure to check the labels when you’re at the grocery store and try to buy organic and non GMO versions if you can, since soy is a food that is usually genetically modified and highly processed. Fortified tofu can provide your body with as much as 39% of the daily recommended value of Vitamin D per 1 cup serving. It is also a high protein source, making it a healthy way to get in the goodness of Vitamin D.
If you suffer from a low mood, general fatigue, weak bones, joint pain, or poorly functioning digestive tract, consider adding in some of these Vitamin D rich foods. While I’m not a doctor, and am not dishing out medical advice, I can personally testify that these foods put me in a great mood, give me energy and help me feel better all over. Do you enjoy any of these Vitamin D rich foods?