Vitamin d rich foods

Vitamin D - The Sunshine Vitamin Essential for Good Health

Vitamin D has a vital role to play in the body and influences the bones, intestines, muscles, and brain, as well as the immune and cardiovascular systems. This blog covers some of the functions of vitamin D and vitamin D rich foods.

Introduction

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin as it requires the presence of fat in our diet for it to be absorbed by our cells. It is unique as it functions as a hormone and can be made when our skin is exposed to sunlight. However, it is also necessary to consume vitamin D rich foods to ensure a steady supply of this sunshine vitamin. Read on to discover why this nutrient is important for you and the foods that have vitamin D.

Importance of Vitamin D

Foods that contain vitamin D are essential parts of the diet as vitamin D can help with the following functions:

  • Helps maintain Bone Health:

    Vitamin D helps with calcium and phosphate absorption in the intestine and is involved in maintaining good bone health. Vitamin D functions to ensure the calcium that is consumed through food is better absorbed. 
  • Facilitates cell growth:

    Vitamin D also plays a role in the growth and maturation of cells. This is a very important function to prevent cellular irregularities.
  • Insulin Secretion:

    Insulin is a hormone secreted by our pancreas to stabilise blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes. Vitamin D is also vital for regulating the secretion of insulin.
  • Regulates Blood Pressure:

    Adequate vitamin D levels may aid in decreasing the risk for cardiovascular diseases. How? Vitamin D can reduce the secretion of a hormone called renin, the presence of which leads to increased blood pressure.
  • Essential for the immune system:

    Vitamin D deficiency is linked to infections and diseases as vitamin D is required for regulating the functions of the immune system. Hence, including vitamin D sources in your diet is paramount for your health.

Vitamin D rich foods

  1. Fish:

    Fish can store large quantities of vitamin D in their liver and fat tissues, including the fat associated with muscle. This makes fish the best source of vitamin D, especially oily fish including salmon and mackerel. A point to note is that the amount of fat present in the fish is an important consideration when consuming it as a Vit D food. If you’re looking for ideas to incorporate fish into your diet for Vit D, you may want to check this appetising recipe of Fish Cutlet. 
  2. Mushroom:

    Mushroom may be considered one of the vitamin D foods for vegetarians as it is the only non-animal, unfortified food source of vitamin D that has the potential to provide a good amount of this vitamin. When the mushrooms that are commonly consumed are exposed to sunlight, they can generate nutritionally relevant amounts of vitamin D. While the amount of Vit D in mushrooms can reduce with storage and cooking, if they are consumed before the ‘best-before’ date, they can still contribute substantially to provide the sunshine vitamin. You can try out this Mutter Mushroom to obtain your dose of Vit D for lunch or dinner. 
  3. Egg yolk:

    The egg is one of the most essential Vitamin D food sources and most of the vitamin D in the egg is present in the yolk, which proves to be a vital contributor of this micronutrient in the diet. Since egg is so commonly available, it can be consumed in the form of several dishes, be it Egg Salad or Egg Paratha.
  4. Meat:

    Most animal products are usually a fine source of vitamin D. It is observed that animal kidney and liver are particularly good sources of vitamin D, whereas the lowest concentrations are present in muscle meat. Since meat is widely consumed among non-vegetarians, it has the potential to be a modest supplier of Vit D in the diet.
  5. Yeast: Vitamin D sources

    include nutritional yeast, as the species of Saccharomyces cerevisiae seems to be a promising alternative in treating Vit D deficiency. Yeast can act as a platform to produce Vit D that is essential to man and can then be utilised in the form of bread and other foodstuffs to deliver its full benefit of the nutrient.
  6. Milk and milk products:

    Milk and dairy products are usually fortified with vitamin D, although milk contains a small amount of Vit D naturally too. The cows may also be supplemented with Vit D, thus increasing the overall Vit D content of milk. Because Vit D is a fat soluble vitamin, its concentration is higher in butter and cheese when compared to standard milk.
  7. Fortified foods:

    Micronutrient deficiencies usually tend to exist in regions where diets lack diversity and intake of animal products is low. The fortification of staple foods like chapati flour, maida, rice flour and rice, are good strategies to tackle the situation. The foods currently available in the market that contain Vit D are milk (cow or of vegetable origin), butter, margarine, orange juice, and breakfast cereals.

Conclusion

Vit D is an essential micronutrient that acts as a hormone in our body. However, a lot of people are deficient in this vitamin, making it a global problem that is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. The situation can be tackled by consuming Vitamin D food, and one can thereby ensure the levels of the sunshine vitamin are maintained, leading to optimum overall health.

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