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Your body needs calcium and vitamin D as these affect many bodily functions, including bone health. Vitamin D is both a nutrient that we eat and a hormone our bodies make. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that has long been known to help the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bones. Also, laboratory studies show that vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation. Research suggests that low vitamin D levels may be a risk factor for autoimmune diseases. Sunlight is the richest source of vitamin D and is available in abundance. This is because our bodies produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Yet most people don’t get enough vitamin D via sunlight, nor is food a good source of this vital vitamin.

Have you ever wondered if you are getting enough sunlight? Sadly, most people don’t have the answer. Whether you need a vitamin D supplement in addition to food and sun exposure is a question to ask your doctor. They can also help you find out if you are deficient of vitamin D. Moreover, you must understand that application of sunscreen on the skin also reduces the absorption of sunlight. So, now, the next time you step out in sunlight, the decision lies in your hands, either prevent tanning or enjoy ample vitamin D.

Sources of vitamin D

For many people, the best way to get enough vitamin D is by taking a supplement because it is hard to get enough through sunlight and food. Vitamin D supplements are available in two forms: vitamin D2 (“ergocalciferol” or pre-vitamin D) and vitamin D3 (“cholecalciferol”). D2 vitamin is made from plants and is found in fortified foods and some supplements. Vitamin D3 is naturally produced in the human body and is found in animal foods. However, nothing is better than increasing your intake of vitamin D through diet. So, let us look at some best ways to get calcium and Vitamin D.

Including calcium rich food in your daily diet can do wonders to your body. You probably already know that dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yoghurt provide calcium. Some other foods that are high in calcium include:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Okra
  • Collards
  • Soybeans
  • White beans
  • Some fish, like sardines, salmon, perch, and rainbow trout
  • Calcium-fortified foods, such as some orange juice, oatmeal, and breakfast cereal

However, if a person has concerns that they are not getting enough vitamin D from direct sunlight, consuming the following foods will help increase the overall amount they have in their bodies. Here is the list of healthy foods that are rich in vitamin D:

Salmon

Salmon is a popular fatty fish and a great source of vitamin D. In addition to vitamin D, salmon is a good source of healthy protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Herring and sardines

Herring is a fish eaten around the world. It is often smoked or pickled. This small fish is also a great source of vitamin D.

Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is a popular supplement. If you don’t like fish, taking cod liver oil is another way to get nutrients that are hard to get otherwise. It’s an excellent source of vitamin D.  In addition, cod liver oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s may play a role in heart health and reduce inflammation in the body. 

Canned tuna

Many people enjoy canned tuna because of its flavour and easy storage methods. In addition, it is typically cheaper than buying fresh fish. So, it can be said that it is an efficient and cost-effective way to increase your vitamin D intake.

Egg yolk

Egg yolks contains high amount of vitamin D, and its consumption provides us with many nutritional benefits. Moreover, eating eggs can also be a good source of proteins. But fret not, it’s not necessary to opt for non-vegetarian options as you can have some vegan products as well.

Vitamin D-rich vegetables and other vegan products

Natural sources of vitamin D are limited, especially if you’re vegetarian or don’t like fish. However, no other plant-based foods produce vitamin D. For people whose diets are primarily vegetarian or vegan. For people who do not or cannot spend a lot of time outdoors, it can be challenging to get enough vitamin D. Fortunately, some food products that don’t naturally contain vitamin D are fortified with this nutrient. 

Here is the list of vegan foods which are rich in Vitamin D

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Eat mushrooms for a resourceful punch of Vitamin D. While mushrooms don’t naturally offer a high amount of vitamin D, some are treated with UV light, consequently, providing a larger dose of the nutrient.

Cow’s milk

Cow’s milk is a naturally good source of many nutrients, including calcium, phosphorous, and riboflavin. In addition, in several countries, cow’s milk is fortified with vitamin D. 

Fortified foods

Fortified foods

Manufacturers add vitamin D to many commercially available foods. People describe these foods as fortified with vitamin D or other nutrients. Common foods with extra vitamin D and other nutrients include:

Soy milk

Since vitamin D is found almost exclusively in animal products, vegetarians and vegans may find it trickier to get enough. For this reason, plant-based milk substitutes such as soy milk are often fortified with vitamin D, along with other nutrients usually found in cow’s milk.

Orange juice

Orange juice

Around 65% of people worldwide are lactose intolerant, and around 2% have a milk allergy. For this reason, some companies fortify orange juice with vitamin D and other nutrients, such as calcium. However, orange juice isn’t an excellent option for everyone. For people prone to acid reflux, it can worsen symptoms. In addition, if you live with diabetes, you may notice that juice causes a spike in your blood sugar level. That said, it’s a great option if you’re trying to treat a low blood sugar level.

Almond Beverage (almond milk)

Almond Beverage (almond milk)

Almonds are considered one of the most healthy dry fruits, and all its products are super-beneficial for us. With that said, unsweetened fortified almond milk is also a good source of vitamin D. It is also rich in vitamin E.

Cereal and oatmeal

Cereal and oatmeal

Cereals are another food that may be fortified with vitamin D. Remember that not all cereals will contain vitamin D. It’s wise to check the nutrition label to find out how much vitamin D is in the product. Though fortified cereals and oatmeal provide less vitamin D than many natural sources, they can still be an excellent way to boost your vitamin D intake.

Bottom line

Getting enough vitamin D is crucial to maintaining healthy bones. With that said, the easiest way of getting enough vitamin D is to regularly spend time outside, ensuring that the arms, face, and legs are exposed. Since consuming enough vitamin D may be difficult depending on a person’s dietary preferences, one can opt for supplements, which are available to purchase online. However, if this is not possible, try to consume oily fish, some mushrooms, free-range egg yolks and drink milk. For more queries, suggestions, or feedback, feel free to reach out to us at editor@yuvaap.com.

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