Vitamin D is one of the many vitamins that our body needs to run smoothly. It has many functions in providing our body with bone health, muscle strength, decreasing heart disease, and regulating the body’s immune system.
The primary way that our bodies would attain vitamin D is to absorb the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) energy and converting it into Vitamin D, hence its nickname of the “sunshine vitamin”. Additionally we can attain vitamin D through secondary sources of food. Few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D and therefor require other means of taking supplements in order to get the recommended amount.
Although the ways to get enough vitamin D for the day are slim, it is still possible to get a boost through your food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Data Central here are some naturally occurring vitamin D foods.
Consumption of Vitamin D:
- Fatty Fish – Fish like rainbow trout, sockeye salmon, and mackerel are great sources of vitamin D and is a great thing to add to your weekly diet.
- Mushrooms – Mushrooms are really the only good plant source of vitamin D. According to the Mushroom Council, mushrooms have the unique ability to increase vitamin D amounts due to UV-light or sunlight exposure.
- Eggs – Egg yolks are full of fat, vitamins and minerals that provide nutrients for the body. According to the USDA, eating two large eggs for breakfast would attribute to about 10% of your daily value.
- Fortified Foods – These provide most of the vitamin D in American diets. These items have been given an added boost of vitamins and minerals that are not naturally occurring. These can include milk, milk substitutes (soy/almond/rice/coconut), yogurt, cereal, and orange juice.
Absorption of Vitamin D:
- It is difficult to determine the adequate amount of time to absorb the appropriate amount of UVB rays as individual responsiveness, UV radiation exposure and intensity make it difficult to make an accurate recommendation. However, experts at The National Institute of Health say exposing your skin to sunlight twice a week for 5-30 minutes will give you a sufficient amount of vitamin D.
It is important for your health to get the proper amounts of vitamin D, without it you can develop Osteomalacia, where bones can become soft, thin, and brittle, and children can get develop rickets. If you don’t get enough Vitamin D through sunlight or dietary sources, you might need vitamin D supplements.
Make sure you are staying sun-safe while you are out in the sun. For more information on the impact of sunscreen on vitamin D absorption view this blog.