Winter is coming and the days are growing shorter, so it’s important to get the necessary levels of Vitamin D. The “sunshine vitamin” is essential for the absorption of calcium, which leads to various health benefits and improves the function of the bones, brain, intestines, muscles, pancreas, and cardiovascular system.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D has been proven to fight against many conditions and diseases, such as:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Falls and fractures
- Heart disease
- Type-2 diabetes
Approximately 50% of the worldwide population is deficient in Vitamin D. This nutrient is absorbed by the skin through sun exposure. Although, those unable to obtain it this way due to a lack of sun in their climate or medications can obtain it through different ways.
How to Get Vitamin D?
This vitamin can be obtained through diet. Certain foods contain vitamin D, such as:
A great source of vitamin D with 685 IU every 3.5 ounce serving. Wild caught Salmon has even higher levels of vitamin D.
Herring and Sardines:
Herring contains 1,628 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving. Pickled herring, sardines and other fatty fish, such as halibut and mackerel, are also good sources.
Cod liver oil:
Cod liver oil contains 450 IU of vitamin D per teaspoon (4.9 ml), or 75% of the RDI. It is also high in other nutrients, such as vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.
Canned tuna contains 236 IU of vitamin D per serving. Choose light tuna and eat 6 ounces (170 grams) or less per week to prevent methylmercury buildup.
Oysters are full of nutrients and provide 53% of the RDI for vitamin D. They also contain more vitamin B12, copper and zinc than a multivitamin.
Shrimp provide 152 IU of vitamin D per serving and are also very low in fat. They do contain cholesterol, but this is not a cause for concern.
Eggs from commercially raised hens contain only about 30 IU of vitamin D per yolk. However, eggs from hens raised outside or fed vitamin D-enriched feed contain much higher levels.
Mushrooms can synthesize vitamin D2 when exposed to UV light. Only wild mushrooms or mushrooms treated with UV light are good sources of vitamin D.
Foods such as cow’s milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereals and oatmeal are sometimes fortified with vitamin D. These contain 55–130 IU per serving.
Another great way to consume the daily requirements of vitamin D is through supplementation. A supplement of 400 to 1,000 IU in combination with eating the right foods can help in meeting the daily requirement of vitamin D.
Healthy Sun Exposure
The most effective way to reach the body’s daily requirements of vitamin D is through sunlight. The middle of the day is the best time to get vitamin D because the sun is at its highest point and the body absorbs it more efficiently.
Although, sensible sun exposure is extremely important. In general, 10 -15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure is enough to meet the daily requirements. Practicing sensible exposure does not have the risks of developing skin cancer. The face, top of ears, and never spending 15 minutes in the sun without protection is the best way to go about it.
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