The health advantages of vitamin D are well known. Vitamin D is crucial in supporting the absorption and depositing of calcium into our bones, ensuring that bone density and strength is enhanced, to a large degree preventing diseases of the bone. Are foods with vitamin D the most important source of vitamin D?
The most important supply of vitamin D is our own bodies. It is the only vitamin that is actually synthesized by our bodies, but it needs sunlight to trigger the synthesizing process – that is why it is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin. In some geographic areas people can actually experience a deficiency in vitamin D because a lack of sunlight exposure. As a matter of fact, this lack of sunshine, and the resulting lack of vitamin D, has been linked to various diseases, including depression. Foods with vitamin D are one way of supplementing our bodies’ vitamin D requirements.
There are actually not very many foods with natural vitamin D sources in significant amounts. There are foods that have been fortified with vitamin D, and these are a valuable source, although in itself will probably not be sufficient.
The following are known as foods with vitamin D:
Mushrooms (especially Shiitake & Button): Probably the only source of dietary vitamin D suitable for vegans, these mushrooms have surprising amounts of vitamin D. They are also rich in the B vitamins. If you purchase the dried versions, ensure that you buy those that have been dried in sunlight.
Mackerel, Salmon, Herring, Tuna, Sardines: – in fact, most fatty fish that are also rich in Omega 3 fatty acids are good sources of vitamin D. A portion of mackerel can actually supply up to 90% of your required daily intake. Sardines in particular are excellent sources of dietary vitamin D.
Cod Liver oil: Cod liver oil was one of the first sources of vitamin D used medicinally for children with rickets. It is very rich in Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids; one tablespoon of oil a day is sufficient. Research has shown that cod liver oil prevents osteoporosis as well.
Eggs: Although only containing small amounts, eggs are another food source for the vitamin.
Liver and liver products are also foods with vitamin D.
Fortified foods with vitamin D: Milk is generally fortified with vitamin D in the usa, with 98% of the milk supply containing significant amounts of the vitamin. Read food labels before making purchasing decisions, as orange juice, pastries and margarine are routinely fortified as well.
Supplementing your vitamin D intake with vitamin supplements
It is very important to have sufficient amounts of calcium and magnesium along with vitamin D supplements.
The health benefits of Vitamin D are incontrovertible. Most people should get enough of the vitamin with sunlight synthesis and in their diets. Interestingly vitamin D is stored in the fat cells for up to sixty days, so strictly speaking you do not need to ingest vitamin D on a daily basis. There are excellent reasons to ensure that you have sufficient vitamin D levels in your system. Take care of your health!