Vitamin D has gained the nickname of the “sunshine vitamin”, as it’s produced by the body in response to sun exposure. This powerful vitamin boosts the immune system, and keeps our bones strong and healthy by regulating levels of calcium absorption. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with bone pain, muscle weakness, obesity, cognitive impairment in older people, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. (Source)
As the days get shorter, we often spend less time outdoors, and consequently our bodies often get less sunlight than the summer months. If you’re looking for ways to boost your vitamin D levels during the colder months, here’s our Honestly Good guide:
When it comes to boosting dietary vitamin D levels, salmon is one of the best sources you can get. A single portion of salmon (around 28 grams) can give you 128% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin D. (Source)
Be sure to look out for wild salmon as opposed to farmed salmon, because farmed salmon only has 25% of the vitamin D that wild salmon does. (Source)
If you don’t like fish, or prefer a plant-based diet, mushrooms are another fantastic source of Vitamin D. Impressively, mushrooms make their own vitamin D (known as D2 or ergocalciferol) in response to UV light exposure. Different mushroom varieties have different levels of vitamin D, based on their UV exposure (whether grown outdoors, or under special UV lights). As an example, wild mushrooms such as maitake mushrooms have greater levels of vitamin D than commercially grown varieties. Other good choices to look out for are dried shiitake mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms.
Orange juice is often fortified with vitamin D, which means it is added to it. Amounts vary depending on brand, so be sure to check product labels, but this makes it a great way to consume extra vitamin D.
Egg yolk is another good source of vitamin D, but be sure to purchase free-range eggs from chickens that have access to the outdoors, as (in addition to the animal welfare benefits), these eggs also have up to three times more vitamin D than eggs produced by chickens kept indoors. (Source)
It might not be the tastiest supplement, but cod liver oil is praised for its high levels of vitamin D. In fact, a single tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 340% of your daily recommended vitamin D intake. (Source).
A glass of milk often has vitamin D added back into it, and a 16oz (473 ml) portion gives approximately 32% of your recommended daily intake. (Source)
If you don’t drink cow’s milk, soy milk is also a great source of vitamin D as its fortified with it. A 16oz (473 ml) portion provides 29% of your recommended daily intake of Vitamin D. (Source)
Another fantastic substitute for milk is almond milk, and this provides 26% of the daily recommended dose of vitamin D in a 16oz (473 ml) portion. (Source)
If you’re a fish fan, and you want some alternatives to salmon that are high in vitamin D, make a bee-line for oily fish options like herring, sardines, or mackerel. These are all very high in vitamin D and a great way to boost your dietary levels. It’s also a good idea to look out for fish that are wild-caught has these contain much higher levels of vitamin D than farmed fish. (Source)
Tofu is incredibly versatile, and can be used in stews, stir-fries, burgers, or even in smoothies, like our protein-rich “green clean protein” smoothie. Another perk of this tasty ingredient is that a cup of tofu contains roughly 28% of your recommended daily vitamin D intake. (Source)
We hope our list of vitamin D-rich foods helps you prepare for the colder months. If you’ve got any great vitamin D-rich recipe ideas, by sure to let us know by saying hello on Facebook or Instagram.
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