Foods for vitamin D: Items you should include in diet

foods for vitamin d

Foods for vitamin D are also needed for our growth and well being. It is important for our cells and bones and has several functions in our body.

Food for vitamin D
Food for vitamin D

Key points

  1. Why our body needs vitamin D
  2. What can happen from lack of vitamin D
  3. Food items that can meet the need of vitamin D in our body.
  4. Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
  5. How much of this vitamin do you need
  6. The main source of vitamin D
  7. Are supplements good for health?
  8. Which people are more likely to need supplements?
  9. Ending words

Why our body needs vitamin D? – 7 reasons

1. For bone health

From this vitamin, our body gets calcium and phosphate – the two important elements for bone health. Both elements are needed for proper bone growth and bone strength. It promotes the health of our bones and teeth. This is one of the biggest functions of vitamin D in our body.

2. Fight diseases

This vitamin also boosts our natural immune system to protect us from several diseases including heart diseases ( Found in 2008), and even flu ( found in 2010).

 According to some previous research, it fights heart problems and reduces the risk of cardiac arrest.

On the other hand, you must be surprised to know that it also reduces the chance of high blood pressure.

3. Reduces the risk of some types of cancer

Yes, you read it right. Vitamin D reduces the risk of colon cancer and breast cancer ( among women).

4. Good for your mental health

Our diet is passively connected with our mental health. Some previous research has shown that it boosts the workability of the nervous system and brain.

Even some reports have shown that it helps with depression as people who are dealing with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to get depression.

5. Regulates the insulin level in the body

This is how this vitamin helps to reduce the risk of diabetes. People with a deficiency of this vitamin are more likely to get diabetes.

6. Lung’s health

It helps our lungs to work properly and reduces the risk of lung diseases.

7. Vitamin D for weight loss

Calcium and vitamin D – our appetite love both. It increases our appetite health and helps to reduce weight.

What can happen from lack of vitamin D?

Vitamin D deficiency can harm a human being badly.

1. Bone health issues

Vitamin D definitely can lead you to the path of several bone health issues such as osteoporosis, Rickets ( especially among children), low bone density etc.

It increases the chances of broken bones, thin bones and eventually decreases the workability of bones as well as teeth.

You can face several oral issues as well. Teeth and gum problems can get worse without enough vitamin D in your body.

2. Weaker immune system

It can cause a weaker immune system and decrease your ability to fight several diseases and infections.

3. Neurological issues

We have discussed earlier that vitamin D promotes neurological health. A deficiency can cause issues in this case.

Besides that, it can lead you to mental health issues. Studies have proven that people with vitamin D deficiency are more likely to be depressed. Drastic mood swings are also a common issue people can experience in this case.

4. Increases the risk of diabetes

As this vitamin helps to regulate the insulin level in the body, people who have a deficiency are at more risk of diabetes.

Foods for vitamin D

Though the main source of vitamin D is sunlight, it is not possible to absorb enough sunlight to meet the needs of our bodies.

This is why it is important to include the food items in our diet that can fulfil those needs.

1. Oily fish

Oily fish have a lot of nutritional value including vitamin D. You should include them in your diet as besides this vitamin, they are also a great source of omega-3, healthy carbs and other essential nutrients.

Oily fish for vitamin d
Oily fish for vitamin d

These fish include salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring etc. Oily fish is always a good item to include in your diet.

2. Red meat

The best source of high-quality animal protein is also a source of high-quality vitamin D.

Raw meat for vitamin d
Red meat for vitamin d

It is never advised to have a lot of red meat as it can harm you in other ways.

You can include red meat in your weekly diet chart to fulfil the needs of vitamin D in your body.

Pork and beef have more vitamin D than chicken.

No matter what kind of red meat you are consuming, processed food would not work good in this case.

3. Egg yolks

Tasty and healthy. Egg yolks have several nutrition values with a worldwide fan base. It is also a good source of Vitamin D.

No matter for which nutrient value you are having a yolk, it is always recommended not to have a fried egg as frying food items are poor in nutritional value.

Egg yolks for vitamin d
Egg yolks for vitamin d

Chicken eggs have a higher amount of vitamin D compared to other sources, especially those chickens who were grown up allowing the sunlight.

You can make delicious recipes with eggs and fulfil the deficiency. 3 eggs per day can heal the gap. It is one of the best foods for vitamin D.

4. Mushrooms

If you are a vegetarian, there is no reason to be upset at all as some vegetarian and vegan food items also have vitamin D. The example is, mushrooms.

Mushrooms for vitamin d
Mushrooms for vitamin d

Mushrooms are a great source of plant nutrition and you can include those, especially morel, oyster, shiitake and chanterelle in your diet.

5. Cod liver oil

If you are not into fish, cod liver oil is an excellent alternative. Besides vitamin D, it also has vitamin A and omega 3 which are essential for your wellbeing.

6. Fortified milk and cereals

Some fortified food items like soya milk, cow milk and breakfast cereals have vitamin D.

They are also a good source if you are vegetarian.

There are also fortified yoghurt with which you can make healthy and tasty dishes.

7. Fortified Orange juice

If you are lactose intolerant, don’t need to worry as fortified orange juice is the solution here.

Fortified orange juice for vitamin d
Fortified orange juice for vitamin d

Though having a whole fruit will bring you more benefits but probably not the vitamin D. In some countries, fortified orange juice is easily available.

One cup of this orange juice can fill an impressive percentage of daily needs.

8. Cheese

Here is a call for cheese lovers. Cheese also has a little amount of vitamin D. Though it depends on the manufacturing process of that particular cheese, every type has some of this nutrient.

Cheese for vitamin d
Cheese for vitamin d

Cheddar and fontina are the best cheeses for vitamin D. On the other side, you can skip ricotta or cream cheese as they have a very small amount of it.

Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency

The main source of vitamin D is sunlight. As it is nearly impossible for human beings to meet the needs only from the sun rays, we have to consume foods for vitamin D to meet those needs.

Despite all these, vitamin D deficiency is a common health problem worldwide.

The main symptoms are

  • 1. fatigue
  • 2. Noticeable hair loss
  • 3. Often experience of infections
  • 4. Often bone pains
  • 5. Muscle cramps
  • 6. Prone to illness
  • 7. Easily injured bones

How much vitamin D do we need

Vitamin D is essential for a healthy body. If it is not absorbed through sunlight, children ( more than 1-year-old) and adults need 800-1000 units ( 8-10 mcg) of vitamin D for a healthy body.

Children who are less than 1-year need 7 mcg of vitamin D for healthy living.

In our body, balance is important. Neither deficiency nor overdose is good for our health. People having too much vitamin D can be in problem.

Too much vitamin D can cause hypercalcaemia. It will make your bones weak and promote other health issues such as heart and kidney-related diseases.

Besides that, it can worsen pregnancy and breastfeeding. The child in the womb can face several difficulties.

It is recommended not to intake more than 80 mcg of vitamin D per day ( for adults) and 40 mcg of vitamin D per day ( for children and pregnant women).

Usually, 10 mcg is enough for a grown-up man but if you are experiencing any deficiency symptoms, it is highly recommended to consult your doctor before consuming a high amount of vitamin D.

When it comes to having foods for vitamin d, it depends on how much exposure to sunlight you are having per day.

Elderly people need to have more vitamin D from the diet as they have no or very little exposure to sunlight.

The main source of vitamin D

Though we can use some food for vitamin D, the main source of vitamin D is the sunlight. That is why doctors often recommend not to wear any sunscreen to people who have a deficiency of vitamin D.

Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D
Sunlight is the main source of vitamin D

On the other hand, if your skin is exposed for too long in the sunlight, it can increase the risk of skin damage and skin cancer. That’s why it is always important to cover your skin if you are going to be under the sun for a long time.

Only the food items that soak the sunray such as mushrooms, eggs or chicken ( as chicken soaks the sunlight) has vitamin D.

Are supplements vitamin D supplements good for health ?

If you are lacking vitamin D in your body, you may have to fill up the deficiency using supplements.

Supplements have no side effects and are also beneficial to health but only if it is recommended by a doctor. You should never have any kind of supplements without medical guidance as overdose can harm you and make you sick.

Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D supplements

If you are experiencing any symptoms of deficiency, you should consult a doctor first and then have supplements.

Which people are more likely to need supplements?

1. People who don’t get enough exposure to sunlight.

People who are working from home or working in night shifts or always cover their skin do not get enough vitamin D from the sunlight. They are more likely to need supplements.

Elderly people are also included in this category as they do not have enough exposure and stays under a roof most of the time.

2. People with a dark complexion

Melanin reduces the amount of vitamin D and blocks absorption. That’s why dark-skinned people are more likely to need vitamin D supplements.

Skin with a low amount of melanin can absorb the sunray better. In that case, they are less likely to need supplements if they get enough exposure to sunlight.

3. Obese people

increment of body mass index ( BMI) means decrement of vitamin D. People having a BMI of more than 30 are more likely to need vitamin D supplements.

4. People who are already having bone issues

After 30, bone density starts to decrease. For some people, bone-related issues start at an early age.

Bone related issues can also be genetic. People having bone-related issues are more likely to need supplements for vitamin D.

4. Malabsorption

It is a physical condition in which the body’s ability to absorb nutrition decreases. In that case, supplements fill up the gaps.

Not only vitamin D, but people with malabsorption also may have to intake supplements for other nutrition as well.

At first, a blood test should be prescribed by the doctor to make sure your body is lacking vitamin D. After that, you can take the supplements as prescribed.

Ending words

Our body functions go well because of the nutrition we absorb from nature. Vitamin D is an important element that our body needs in a balanced amount.

In today’s busy city life, it is nearly impossible to get enough exposure to sunlight to absorb the right amount of this vital vitamin.

That is why we need to intake some foods for vitamin D to balance the amount in our bodies.

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