Vitamin D is an essential nutrient vital for the smooth functioning of our body. It helps in promoting strong bones by absorbing calcium and also helps in regulating the neuromuscular and immune system. Our body has the ability to produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, which means that people with less / no exposure to direct sunlight often have deficiencies. For this reason, it is very important to know about the top vitamin D foods which can help fight the deficiencies.
Vitamin D rich foods – Why do we need it?
Even though our body is equipped to produce vitamin D, it needs exposure to sunlight to be able to do it. As per studies, as much as 50% of the global population does not have access to enough sunlight. This is mainly attributed to more time being spent indoors and using sunscreen creams while going outside.
For the above reasons, it becomes very important to have another source of vitamin D that can supplement the requirements of our body. This is where top vitamin D foods come into the picture.
Top Vitamin D foods – Take your pick:
Listed below are some of the common vitamin D rich foods that you can include in your daily diet:
A standard serving of salmon can provide you anything between 10-20 mcg of vitamin D, depending on the type that you consume. Other fat-rich fishes like herring, mackerel, and sardines are also rich sources of vitamin D.
2. Liver Oil
If you’re not particularly fond of fish, then cod liver oil can serve as a great vitamin D supplement. It has been used to treat deficiencies in children as it can provide as much as 56% of the daily value required. However, one precaution to be taken while using cod liver oil is to ensure that you don’t overdo the quantity. This is because cod liver oil is also a rich source of vitamin A but consuming excessive amounts of vitamin A can prove to be poisonous in humans.
3. Egg Yolks
Eggs are another rich source of many vitamins, minerals, and proteins. While the protein is found in egg whites, yolks are a great source of vitamin D. Consuming one egg yolk per day will provide 5% of the daily required amount.
4. Fortified Foods
Since there are not many vegetarian sources of vitamin D, many brands have started fortifying dairy products and juices with vitamin D. Some of the top vitamin D foods in this category are cow’s milk, orange juice, and soy milk. These sources are accounted for to provide close to 15% of the daily requirement.
Another vegetarian / plant-based source of vitamin D is mushrooms. Just like humans, mushrooms also synthesize vitamin D when exposed to UV light. However, the type of vitamin D produced by mushrooms is not as effective as the one which you get from animal sources.
6. Canned Tuna
This is one of the easiest ways to get your daily dose of vitamin D if you’re a non-vegetarian. Canned tuna packs a fair amount of vitamin D (~35% of daily requirement), which is easier to store and cheaper than many other types of fish. However, just like cod liver oil, do not overdo the quantity of tuna as it contains a toxin that can be detrimental to humans if consumed in higher doses.
While all of the above-mentioned foods are a rich source of vitamin D, it is highly recommended that you get at least a few minutes of direct sunlight every day.