Healthy living starts within your reach, with a lifetime commitment. Living to eat what is essentially important to your body and exercising is basically what you need for a long healthy life. But what lacks in most people is what is important for them to eat so that they can lead a healthy life. One of the most important things people are failing to check nowadays is their consumption of the most important vitamins in their bodies, one of those vitamins being vitamin D. There are several sources of vitamin D food that one can take for their health benefits.
This article will talk more about vitamin D foods that you should include in your diet to lead a healthy life. Join us in reading the article so that you may get informed of what you didn't know about vitamin D sources and vitamin D deficiency.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids which are used by the body to increase intestinal absorption of calcium magnesium phosphate and other vital compounds to the body. There are five types of vitamin D: ergocalciferol (vitamin D1) ergocalciferol( vitamin D2) cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) 22-dihydroergocalciferol (vitamin D4) sitocalciferol (vitamin D5). The most important compound in vitamin D is the cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol( vitamin D2).
The major source of the vitamin is the synthesis of cholecalciferol through the skin after exposure to sunlight especially the UVB radiation. Our bodies need vitamin D for a couple of activities mostly due to the absorption of calcium. However, very few people have a clue as to what foods they are supposed to eat to get the vitamin. Let us look at some of the vitamin D foods sources.
Vitamin D food and drinks
On average a healthy adult, aged 19 to 50 requires 200 IU of vitamin D daily. 51 to 70 years, 400 IU will be needed. And adults aged above 70 years will require 600 IU of vitamin D., however, there are many people who don’t get the required units of vitamin D. The following is a list of vitamin D foods you can take to increase your daily dosage of this vitamin.
1. Cod liver oil
Most of us took cod liver oil when we were young. We surely didn't like it. But what we didn't know was that cod liver oil was a rich source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and vitamin D and it still is. Considering that most of us don’t get exposure to sunlight due to our busy schedules, Cod liver oil can act as good supplement for that.
Just like the name suggests cod liver oil comes from codfish. You can choose to eat it wholly to get the whole benefits or get processed cod liver oil for one of the supermarkets or chemists around you. And apart from being a rich source of vitamin D cod liver oil will help you in the following:
- Lowering high cholesterol in your body
- Preventing diabetes
- Lowering the risk of heart disease
- Lowering the risk of getting kidney disease
Cod liver oil is one of the best supplements you can give to your children since not all vitamin D foods might be good for your child.
Mushrooms are one of the delicious examples of vitamin D foods in vegetables. However, not all mushrooms can give you vitamin D. In fact, some of them are even poisonous, the likes of death cap and conocybe filaris . Mushrooms that are a source of vitamin D are : -
- Maitake mushrooms
Maitake mushrooms are an example of low-calorie vitamin D giving foods. A cup of diced maitake mushrooms can contain up to 700 IUs of vitamin D. Other than vitamin D, maitake mushrooms will also help you in lowering high blood pressure and controlling diabetes. They are also useful in weight loss and preventing various types of cancer.
- Chanterelle mushrooms
Chanterelle mushrooms are also a good example of foods high in vitamin D. a cup of chanterelle mushrooms contains more than 100 IUs of vitamin D. Chanterelles are also a good source of potassium, iron copper vitamin B3 and B5 for your body. These minerals will improve your brain function and decrease your risk of getting diabetes and skin diseases.
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- Uv exposed portabella mushrooms
Normally, portabella mushrooms have a small amount of vitamin D but when exposed to UV radiation the amount of vitamin D is boosted. A whole portabella mushroom contains about 375 IUs of vitamin D, which is a good amount for your body. They are also an excellent source of vitamin B complex, potassium, and selenium.
Do you want to learn to cook mushrooms the right way? Click here.
3. Orange juice (fortified)
Most vitamin D rich drinks in the supermarkets today are fortified. orange juice has been shown to be the most effective way of delivering the vitamin in foods. major selling orange brands have 100 IUs of vitamin D added to each 8-ounce serving. In addition to vitamin D, you will be able to manage your weight improve your hearts health and prevent kidney stones. Some of the fortified orange brands include Tropicana and minute maid.
Shrimps have now gained a lot of popularity due to their health benefits. They have been hailed for the high levels of omega 3 fatty acids which are responsible for healthy bones lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation.
Shrimps are a good source of vitamin D, 3 ounces of shrimp contains about 2 IU of vitamin D. However, shrimps contain a significant amount of cholesterol, about 152 mg. however, this should not be a concern unless you have dietary restrictions.
5. Sardines and herring
One of the best rich vitamin D foods is the herring fish. Herring from Atlantic provides 1,628 IU per 100-gram serving. Herring is also good sources of omega 3 fats and vitamin B 12 . Vitamin B 12 is needed for helping the body improve its immune system and improving mental health.
Unlike with other fish, you don’t have to worry about the level of mercury in herring since it is more unlikely for the fish to have high levels of mercury.
6. Canned tuna
Canned tuna are loved because of their light flavor and the fact that they are cheaper than buying fresh fish. They are good vitamin D dietary sources since one can contain up to 236 IU of vitamin D per 100-gram serving. Canned tuna is also a good source of quality protein omega 3 fatty acids and B vitamins.
However, canned tuna is known for its quite significant levels of mercury. Mercury is known to have adverse effects on the nervous system, brain function, vision and the skin, and you surely wouldn’t like to get yourself any of these problems. So, for a safer option, you can choose light tuna since it is lower in mercury than white tuna.
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Many people love baked oysters. Whether baked boiled or fried, we can all agree oysters are a delicious nutritional powerhouse. Oysters contain 320 IU of vitamin D per 100 g of serving. In addition, oysters contain zinc and are low in calories. They are also good sources of vitamin A, E, C, iron calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin B12. These vitamins help the body to maintain a healthy heart and skin.
One good thing about oysters is that they are low in fat and can help you lower your cholesterol levels.Oysters contain the “good cholesterol levels “ and this leads to lowering the “bad cholesterol levels” when consumed.
However, most people complain the high prizes attached to oysters in the markets. This has made people living on budgets not able to purchase the high prized oysters.
8. Egg yolk
½ large egg yolk gives 10 IU, which are good examples of vitamin D rich foods for babies. Eggs are also important due to the presence of iron and b vitamins in it.
9. Milk (fortified)
Milk which is not fortified doesn’t contain a significant amount of vitamin D but fortified milk does. ½ fortified milk can provide your child with 49 IU. The amount of vitamin D in the fortified milk can provide your child with more of the vitamin than the eggs, this makes it one of the best sources of vitamin D.
Benefits of vitamin D
If taken consistently, it has so many benefits.Here are some of the amazing benefits of vitamin D
1. Prevents cancer
Cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer, is one of the killer diseases in average aged men and women. Did you know that you can lower your chances of getting the disease by just ensuring you have the right amount of vitamin D daily?
According to studies it has been seen that vitamin D is very important in controlling cell health and growth. It has also been found that calcitriol, a compound in vitamin D can help prevent some of the cancer symptoms. Vitamin D deficiency can also cause several life-threatening problems such as hypertension, asthma and Alzheimer's disease.
2. Helps to combat low fertility problems
Do you have problems with your fertility? Vitamin D helps in increasing fertility. According to a recent study involving mice showed that mice that had vitamin D deficiency had the inability to form mature eggs which resulted in infertility. In humans, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with certain pregnancy complications like gestation, hypertension, and diabetes.
3. Helps in weight loss
There is a clear relationship between weight gain and vitamin D deficiency. A daily dosage of vitamin D to obese people helps them boost their energy levels and thus preventing fatigue dizziness which makes their journey on losing weight a little bit less stressing. With high energy levels, the obese people are able to do more physical activities which will eventually lead to a significant weight loss.
4. It helps to have stronger bones and improved muscle function
Vitamin D promotes healthy bones and muscles. Vitamin D helps your body in absorbing calcium and phosphorus which are essential for bone health.
5. Vitamin D for a healthy heart
Maintaining a healthy heart is what you should strive to do if you wish to live a long life. One of the things you can do to maintain a healthy heart is to maintain the correct levels of vitamin D in your diet. Previous research has shown a relationship between vitamin D and an increase in heart disease heart attack and stroke. A number of studies have also linked low vitamin D levels with increased arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction.
A new study conducted by researchers of Copenhagen university hospital with more than 10,000 people showed that those with low levels of vitamin D were 64 percent more likely to have a heart attack than those who have enough vitamin in their bodies. The vitamin D deficiency people also had a 40 percent risk of getting ischemic heart disease and a 57 percent risk of early death. Other minerals important for your health include sodium magnesium and potassium.
5. Helps to reduce depression
It’s surprising that vitamin D works as a mood enhancer. A research reported in the New England Journal of medicine by the vitamin D council showed that there is a link between depression and vitamin D deficiency. This was after a study involving 31,424 participants, which showed those who lacked vitamin D had a greater chance of depression.
Causes of vitamin D deficiency diseases
If you minimal exposure to the sun, suffer from milk allergy or even have a strict vegetarian diet you might be at a risk of having vitamin D deficiency. lack of vitamin D in the body can cause quite a number of serious health issues, but before we get to the health issues lets first take a look at some of the factors that may make one suffer from vitamin D deficiency
- Failure to consume the recommended levels of vitamin D in your diet
Excluding vitamin D foods nutrition form your diet may cause you vitamin D deficiency. This might be due to a strict adherence of a vegan diet and avoiding fortified foods. Some of the best sources of vitamin D as mention above are egg yolks fish oils and beef liver.
- Limited exposure to sunlight
Most people who live in the northern latitudes, or those who wear long robes either with head covering may not get the required amount of sunlight exposure required. This may lead to vitamin D exposure. Some experts advice a daily exposure of sunlight of about 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight exposure. This should be done before 10 am. Or after 3 pm.
- Dark skin
Having a dark skin may be another issue when it comes to sunlight exposure for vitamin D. studies show that adults with a darker skin are at a higher risk of getting vitamin D deficiency during old age. Also, people with darker skin are expected to have five more exposure time to the sun than light skins.
- Kidney failing to convert vitamin D to its active form
Failure of kidneys to convert vitamin D to its active form may be sometimes due to old age and his keeps one at a higher risk of getting vitamin D deficiency.
- Failure of the digestive tract to absorb vitamin D efficiently
Some medical problems such as cystic fibrosis, Crohn's disease, and celiac disease may affect the ability of your intestines to absorb vitamin D. this leaves the people with such kind of medical problems at a risk of getting vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D deficiency diseases
Before you even think of having a vitamin D deficiency diseases, there are some symptoms that can alert you if they are consistent. Vitamin D deficiency symptoms include, Fatigue, chronic pain, constipation, high blood pressure. You can always look out for this symptoms. Below are some of Vitamin D deficiency diseases
1. Prostrate cancer
A recent study published in may 2014 in the clinical cancer research journal showed a link between low vitamin D levels in the blood and prostate cancer in African –American men and European American men.
The study showed that African American men with low levels of vitamin D had more chances to test positive for cancer than other men with normal vitamin D levels.
2. Heart disease
There have been numerous studies linking low vitamin D levels with heart disease. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with heart disease problems such as stroke atherosclerosis and hypertension.
To maintain a healthy heart its advisable to maintain a healthy weight exercise regularly and eat a diet rich in lean meat nuts and fruits.
Rickets is disorder mostly in infants due to low vitamin D levels. It is caused by poor nutrition, lack of exposure to the sun and failure of the intestines to absorb nutrients from foods.
Signs of vitamin D rickets in infants include:
- Lack of sleep
- Slow growth
- Delayed sitting or walking
In serious conditions bones may become fragile and easily get fractured. Bending of the wrist and ankle joins may also occur.
4. Dental cavities
Dental cavities are mainly caused by the activity of microorganisms in the mouth. Vitamin D deficient people are more likely to have weaker bones and teeth. This encourages cavities formation in the teeth.
5. Diabetes type two
Vitamin D helps to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin. This helps to keep diabetes away, since type 2 diabetes is caused by insulin resistance. It also believed that vitamin D may also help in regulating the production of insulin in the pancreas.
Vitamin D supplements
Vitamin D supplements can be taken in form of pills prescribed by the doctor or drops for children. Most of the multivitamins provide a dosage of 400 IU. However, there are some companies manufacturing pills with a dosage of above 400 IU which might be dangerous when consumed in large amounts. So how much of vitamin D supplements should you take?
The recommended daily intake of vitamin D for adults is 5mcg (200 IU). People over 50 years to 70 years should take 10 mcg daily (400 IU) daily, those over 70 should take 15 mcg daily(600 IU). Children below 5 years of age should get 5 mcg daily (200 IU).
Most doctors will prescribe vitamin D supplements to vitamin D deficient people, with doses ranging from 2000 IU to 10000 IU per day or even more. However, you should know mega doses of vitamin D may cause a build-up of calcium in the blood. This may cause nausea, poor appetite, constipation, weakness vomiting and even weight loss. So ensure you know the right dosage for you before you go ahead to take the pills.
Note before you decide to take any multivitamin pills, consult your doctor first.
Always remember; Your body is one of the most priceless possessions you’ve got. so make a point of taking care of it.
The information in this article is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this page is for general information purposes only.