What is Vitamin D? & why is it important to my body?
Vitamin D is the only nutrient your body produces when exposed to sunlight. It is also naturally present in a few foods, artificially added to other foods, beside being available in dietary supplements.
Vitamin D is essential for many vital functions in your body, like calcium & phosphate absorption & regulation, so it’s crucial for bone health.
Beside bone health, Vitamin D is important for your body in many other ways, for example, your muscles need it to move, your nerves need it to carry signals between the brain & other body parts, your immune system needs it to fight intruding organisms such as bacteria & viruses, & it even stabilizes your brain functions, which helps in regulating mood & protecting from depression!
Natural food sources of vitamin D
The best-known source of Vitamin D is sunlight, however, for many reasons you might not be able to get enough of it, you might be spending most of your time indoors, you wear covering clothes whenever you’re outside, or you simply live in the northern countries where sunny days are a rare sight for us.
Luckily, we still can get our suggested daily dosage of Vitamin D (or at least most of it) from other sources.
Here we will focus on natural foods that has little to no processing, where you can find a relatively good amounts of Vitamin D
Salmon fish meat is one of the healthiest natural foods for mankind, it’s rich in high quality protein, full of omega-3 fatty acid, & also a great source of Vitamin D!
Rainbow Trout is a healthy, sustainable, low-mercury, fresh water member of the Salmon family. It’s one of the healthiest fishes you can include in your diet & it’s an excellent alternative to its overfished cousin Salmon.
3- Cod liver oil
If you don’t like eating fish, cod liver oil is an excellent supplement to obtain your needs of certain nutrients that are unavailable elsewhere.
It’s one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin D, beside being an excellent source of healthy Omega-3 & other micronutrients like Vitamin A.
Therefore, you want to make sure not to exceed your suggested daily consumption, because excessive Vitamin A might be rather harmful.
Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients, it contains high quality protein, essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, good cholesterol… & more
Egg yolks usually contain a good amount of Vitamin D, but it varies on the source of the eggs.
A typical commercial egg you buy from a supermarket can contain around 5% of your suggested daily value of Vitamin D3. However, an egg that came from a chicken raised with more exposure to sunlight can contain 4 or 5 times this value!
That is a HUGE difference, so if Vitamin D is one of your priorities, you should consider eggs that come from a pasture-raised or free-range chickens.
Just remember, Vitamin D is present in the yolk rather than the white.
Mushrooms are the only natural good plant source of Vitamin D (next to fortified foods)
The only difference from the other animal-based sources is that mushrooms produce Vitamin D2 instead of D3, while it’s good for raising blood levels of Vitamin D, it might not be as effective as Vitamin D3.
Mushrooms synthesize Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight like humans, this is why wild mushrooms have the biggest concentrations of it.
Unfortunately most commercially raised mushrooms are raised in the dark & have a relatively small amounts of Vitamin D, except of those treated with UV lights which gives them a boost.
Worth Mentioning: Fortified Foods
If you might not be able to consume natural sources of Vitamin D due to dietary requirements, allergies or other reasons, & you still have a lifestyle that lacks enough exposure to sunlight, then you might consider supplements, or foods that are fortified with Vitamin D
Fortified Orange Juice
A cup of fortified orange juice can contain around 10% of your suggested daily intake of Vitamin D
Cereal & Oatmeal
Although they provide relatively less Vitamin D than many other natural sources, they still can be good to boost your overall intake.
Despite you might like it or not, cow’s milk is the most commonly consumed type of milk in the world.
It’s a natural source of many nutrients, & a cup of fortified cow’s milk can contain around 20% of your daily suggested intake of Vitamin D.
Whether you are on a vegan diet, or you’re one of the 75% of world population who have a lactose intolerance (which is majority of people), then Soy Milk would be the perfect substitute for Cow’s Milk.
Beside being naturally rich of proteins, & having a much less sugar content than Cow’s Milk, the fortified version of Soy Milk can also give you around 15% of your Vitamin D daily intake.
Spending time in the sun is the best source of your Vitamin D daily intake. However, it’s not always easy for many people to get enough exposure to sunlight.
While relying only on diet to get your daily dose of Vitamin D might seem difficult, but it isn’t impossible
We’ve listed some of the top natural sources of Vitamin D in this article to help you plan your diet in a way that gets you enough of this very important Vitamin.