by Dr Jen VanDeWater
I recently posted an article explaining the many health benefits from a vitamin-rich diet, but now, I’d like to help you discover the best sources through food and other natural behaviors that will give you these beneficial nutrients.
I want to start with a look at the ways we can maximize our intake of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed to fight disease, so it is worth considering your intake at times like these. We are repeatedly told “drink your milk for healthy bones,” but milk isn’t the only source of D. One of the best sources of Vitamin D is natural sunlight. Our body can make Vitamin D from cholesterol which comes from the ultraviolet rays of sunshine touching our skin. Each person has a different tolerance for how much natural sunlight they can handle. I recommend you self-monitor based on your individual skin type but do not forget the natural benefit of getting some sun every day.
There are also many foods that provide us with essential vitamin D. Did you know that tuna and other different types of fish contain a good supply of vitamin D? Besides vitamin D, fish also adds Omega 3 fatty acids to aid in inflammation, in anti-oxidation and it is a very good source of protein. Salmon is so rich in vitamin D that with just half a filet, you can obtain your daily requirement. Cod is a light flavored white fish that is packed with vitamin D. It’s a saltwater fish and like tuna and salmon, it’s a great source for Omega 3 fatty acid and high in protein. You might be familiar with cod liver oil. This is available in gel caps for a supplement that provides omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Trout are freshwater fish, loaded with not just vitamin D, but omega 3 fatty acid and protein, just like the fish listed above. Like the salmon, one filet of trout is so full of nutrients that you can almost obtain your full daily intake of Vitamin D at just one meal! Certainly, fish is important in our diet for protein and fatty acids and it is an excellent source of vitamin D.
In the vegetable world we have options as well. Mushrooms are high in vitamin D and they are one of the most important sources of vitamin D, especially if you aren’t so fond of fish. Mushrooms grown in natural sunlight have the highest concentration of vitamin D, as compared to those grown under a heat lamp. Mushrooms are an excellent source of protein as well. Some mushrooms to try are portabella, crimini, and white button.
Cheese is a dairy product that is full of vitamin D. Most dairy products are fortified, or the nutrients are added, so you might not be eating a cheese that gives your body adequate vitamin D. Cheese, especially cheddar, is an excellent source for natural vitamin D.
Eggs are another great way to get natural vitamin D, especially when they are farmed from free-range chicken which are exposed to natural sunlight. This is interesting as chicken have no Vitamin D, but their eggs are an excellent source. Most people look at eggs as a danger to health, but that is a myth. Eggs are an excellent source of a healthy cholesterol which our bodies require to function properly. Eggs are also a way for our bodies to obtain choline, which is converted into acetylcholine, that aids in memory and cognitive functions. Eggs are proven to be an extremely excellent source of protein, high in essential amino acids and a very nutritious food overall.
Beef or red meat is another source of vitamin D. Beef is another food source that we have been told to avoid. Beef is an essential requirement to our diet. Beef contains not only vitamin D, but essential amino acids, healthy fats, minerals, and many other vitamins. Beef is an essential source of protein, energy booster, and helps maintain a strong and healthy muscles. Pork, like chicken, does not contain natural vitamin D.
Definitely, it is important to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle to gain the best and most out of what we choose to put into our bodies. Hopefully as we near summertime activities and BBQs, we will be outdoors loading up on natural vitamin D and building up our bodies for optimal health!