Vitamin D foods: Know what to eat for stronger bones and a cancer-free body


Last Updated June 13th, 2021

Vitamin D and its presence

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be acquired directly by the body, through sunlight. Being a fat-soluble vitamin it helps the body to store an excessive amount of the same. Vitamin D plays a vital role in calcium and phosphorus absorption which contribute to keeping bone and teeth healthy.

It also strengthens the immune system and protects you from infection. The consumption of vitamin D helps reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, and colorectal cancer. Studies have shown that it can also prevent the onset of Pott’s disease, a disease of the spinal column caused by an untreated TB infection.

Vitamin D is also called the “sunshine vitamin” as it is the only vitamin that is produced in your body when you are exposed to sunlight. When exposed 30 minutes in the sun it enhances your bone health and provides the required nutrients like calcium and phosphorus. In a place where the sun doesn’t smile much, people lack vitamin D and it becomes necessary to consume foods rich in this vitamin.

Are you getting enough vitamin D?

According to Kelly Kennedy, RD, the required amount of vitamin D varies based on the individual’s requirement. While the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends 600 international units (IU) each day for most adults and 800 IU for seniors (individuals ages 70 and older).

Best foods with high vitamin D

Salmon

Salmon is not just a great source of proteins and omega-3 fatty acid but also provide a wide range of vitamin D. It is not specifically mentioned whether the salmon should be purchased wild or farm, but sums up that salmon, on the whole, be it raw, cooked, or baked provide the essential vitamin D nutrients for the body.

Herring and Sardines

These two little fish are eaten all around the world and are a great source of vitamin D. They also provide rich sources of proteins and many essential vitamins and minerals. Sardines are deemed as the cleanest seafood as they feed on plankton and don’t carry heavy toxins or any poisonous chemicals like other fish. These fish can be bought fresh or can and either way, they provide the necessary nutrients to the body.

Canned Tuna

Tuna is a delicacy to many seafood lovers because of its flavor and efficient storage methods. Tuna is also cheaper than fresh fish and can is eaten around the globe. Tuna is packed in cans and contains 236 IU of vitamin D in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, which is nearly half of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI). Apart from providing rich sources of vitamin D it also provides the body with a good source of niacin and vitamin K.

Its longer shelf life makes it a convenient edible for with fabulous sources of nutrients. However, care should be taken when consuming canned tuna as it contains methylmercury, a harmful toxin found in fish. It is, therefore, essential to keep a restriction to the intake of canned tuna so that the body doesn’t build up on the harmful toxin methylmercury. It is advisable to cross check the source and choose light tuna with the lowest content of mercury.

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is a popular supplement available around the world. If you are the person who detests the smell or flavor of fish, you can then opt for cod liver oil. Cod liver oil is a key provider of many unavailable nutrients. It is also an excellent source of vitamin D and is used as a supplement to treat several medical conditions associated with the same.

It contains abundant sources of vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil acts as an anti-inflammatory as it contains omega-3 fatty acids. If you find it difficult to take cod liver oil then the best way to get it into your system is in the form of a capsule.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms provide a versatile high amount of vitamin D. Mushrooms contain high amounts of vitamin D as they are sun-kissed with UV rays and thereby provide a large source of the nutrient. According to the research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service of the USDA, the amount of vitamin D varies depending on the number of UV rays a mushroom receives. Care should be taken to check the mushrooms before purchasing, as commercially grown mushrooms are often grown in the dark and lack the essence of vitamin D.

Egg yolk

This could be an avid reminder that seafood is not the only source of vitamin D. Egg yolk is the center of nutrients, as it provides several nutrients including vitamin D. The proteins in the egg are seen in the white and the fat, vitamins and minerals are found in the yolk. It is always preferable to choose free-range or pastured eggs, as they contain higher amounts of vitamin D.

Swiss cheese

Swiss cheese contains a wide range of vitamin D, vitamin K along with calcium. The combination of these three nutrients enriches the bones and strengthens bone health in the long run. Swiss cheese is easy to use and can be used in varied dishes to give it a twist of flavors.

Fortified breakfast cereal

This healthy breakfast is a wonderful mix of whole grains and low added sugars. It’s habitual to fortify breakfast cereals with a wide range of vitamins and minerals. The intake of whole grains ensures that the body receives the required amount of nutrients and also provides fiber, which contributes to varied health benefits.

Beef Liver

It contains a full range of fat-soluble vitamins A, D and K and also other essential nutrients which makes it a must eat food in your dietary chart. It may be unpalatable for many people but can be improvised on with the help of many culinary ideas and dishes. As cows are grassed-raised they contribute to the large quantity of vitamin D on a daily basis.

What can go wrong if you lack vitamin D?

Falling sick frequently: Vitamin D strengthens your immune system and a lack in it paves a way for several foreign bodies to attack your system and cause harm to it. Several observations and researches have proved that if you often become sick especially with cold or flu, then it is evident that low levels of vitamin D are the cause for it.

The feeling of fatigue and tiredness: The deficiency of vitamin D can cause tiredness and fatigue, which are often overlooked. When such symptoms are seen it is necessary to take vitamin D rich foods and supplements to balance the same. The consumption of vitamin D helps boost energy and reduces fatigue.

Causes a backache and bone pain: It is well-known that vitamin D is the best contributor to calcium which is an essential nutrient to maintain bone health. When the body lacks vitamin D it results in low levels of calcium which affect the bones and back causing inflammation and pain. Lower back pain and bone pain are associated with symptoms to prove the lack of vitamin D. The extremity of pain makes it impossible for the affected people to perform their daily activities. It is essential to maintain vitamin D as it is a must needed nutrient to maintain healthy bones.

Impairs wound healing: The slow healing of wounds after an injury or surgery can be due to the lack of vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a vital role in inflammation and fighting infection. Vitamin D is crucial in wound healing as it enhances the growth of new skin and prevents infection from attacking the affected area. When you find that you take time to heal then it is high time you add vitamin D to your intake and balance the wound healing process.

Loss of bone: Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient that helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. They play a vital role in bone metabolism and the lower levels of it affect the bones at the onset. The deficiency of vitamin D is reflected in lower bone density which contains low levels of calcium, low bone mineral density, and impaired bone metabolism. This causes bone fragility and makes it the reason for the bones to get broken or fractured often. Hence, it is mandatory to have a sufficient amount of vitamin D in the body to maintain blood levels and protect bone mass.

Hair loss: Stress is a major attribute that causes hair loss. When the extent of the hair loss is severe it is associated with vitamin D deficiency. Shreds of researches have proved that a low level of vitamin D in women causes hair loss. The deficiency of vitamin D also causes alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease characterized by severe hair loss from the head and other parts of the body. This disease is associated with rickets, which is a disease that causes soft bones in children due to vitamin D deficiency.

Muscle and joint pain: Though the cause of muscle pain can be caused by any external factor it is usually pinned down to the deficiency of vitamin D. Nociceptors are vitamin D receptors that are responsible to sense pain. When the levels of vitamin D are low the muscles become sensitive to pain due to the stimulation of Nociceptors in the muscles. It is associated with symptoms like chronic muscle pain and low blood levels of vitamin D.

Vitamin D matters…

Vitamin D has been acclaimed as a critical vitamin that is essential to maintain overall health. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to get your daily dose of vitamin D is going outside in the sun and have a small walk. Sunlight helps the body to synthesize vitamin D naturally. All you need to do is kick out your sunscreens and remain for 10 to 15 minutes in the sun. People who lack its natural source can substitute the same by adding vitamin D rich foods to your diet. The best foods with a rich source of vitamin D include beef liver, fatty fish like salmon, egg yolk, and fish oil.


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