Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is made in our bodies when we are exposed to sunlight. Studies say that in India, a majority of people suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin D. This is despite the fact that most parts of India receive sunshine in abundance. Deficiency of Vitamin D can weaken our immune system and soften our bones. This means that the Vitamin D that we get from sunlight is not sufficient enough to meet the body’s requirements.
Delhi-based nutritionist Pooja Malhotra agrees that deficiency of Vitamin D is rampant in the country. “Sunlight is abundant yet Vitamin D deficiency is rampant in our country. This happens because we require exposure of about 30 minutes in the morning sun to get adequate Vitamin D. However, when we go out, the amount of our skin exposed is just a fraction, and many of us cover the exposed areas with sunscreen lotions to avoid tanning. Hence taking vitamin D supplements becomes a necessity,” she explains.
Talking about some natural sources of Vitamin D, she says, “Vitamin D is found in eggs, fish, milk, milk products. When sunlight (ultraviolet B radiation or UVB) falls on the skin, it converts 7-dehydrocholesterol (a form of cholesterol) into vitamin D3.”
So here are some natural sources of Vitamin D:
1. Salmon and sardine
Salmon is known to be a good source of Vitamin D. Sardines, on the other hand, are known to be an excellent source of Vitamin D. Sardines are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, protein, and Vitamin B-12.
2. Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is something which is quite widely consumed. People who don’t eat fish consume cod liver oil in order to get nutrients which are difficult to get from other sources.
Shrimp is a popular kind of shellfish. The food is low in fat and also contains omega-3 fatty acids. Shrimp is also high in dietary cholesterol which is safe to consume cholesterol. Cholesterol in shrimp does not have any major impact on cholesterol levels in the blood.
4. Egg yolks
Egg yolks can be eaten in order to make up for Vitamin D deficiency in the body. Whole eggs end up being the only source of Vitamin D for people who are non-fish eaters. Egg whites contain most of the protein. The fat, vitamins, and minerals are all present in egg yolk. However, eggs from chickens that are raised outside in the sun and eggs that are labeled as high in Vitamin D should be your preferred options for getting Vitamin D from egg yolks.
Mushrooms are known be the only plant source of Vitamin D. When mushrooms are exposed to UV rays of the sun, they synthesize the vitamin. While animals produce Vitamin D3, mushrooms produce Vitamin D2. Wild mushrooms are known to be very good sources of Vitamin D2.
6. Cow’s milk and soy milk
Cow milk is often fortified with Vitamin D. It is also rich in other essential minerals such as riboflavin, calcium, and phosphorus.
Soy milk is often fortified with Vitamin D since it is probably one of the few sources of Vitamin D for vegetarians and vegans.
Many whole grain products are fortified with Vitamin D and oats are one of them. Along with Vitamin D, oats are rich in fibre as well
To increase calcium absorption in the body, dairy products are often fortified with Vitamin D. Hence eating yogurt fortified with Vitamin D can be beneficial for the body.