Sunshine on Your Plate: Natural Ways to Add Vitamin D to Your Diet
When it comes to essential nutrients, vitamin D takes the spotlight as the “sunshine vitamin.”
Not only is vitamin D essential for strong bones and teeth, but it also supports a strong immune system. “It helps our bodies absorb calcium, promotes muscle function, and even contributes to mood regulation,” Faye Williams, Morton Plant Hospital's food and nutrition services supervisor said.
While spending time in the sun is a great way to soak up some vitamin D, Williams said there are plenty of other natural and delicious ways to incorporate this vital nutrient into your diet.
Dairy Delight: Milk, yogurt and cheese are often fortified with vitamin D, giving you a delicious way to meet your daily needs. Whether you prefer a glass of milk, a dollop of yogurt, or a cheesy indulgence, these dairy delights can give you the boost of vitamin D you crave.
Mushroom Magic: Did you know that, just like plants, mushrooms have the power to harness the sun's energy? Certain varieties of mushrooms, such as shiitake or maitake, naturally produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. That’s why you will want to look for mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light during growth. Get creative by adding this nutrient-packed fungi to your salads, omelets, or stir-fries.
Seafood Sensation: Elevate your vitamin D intake by fishing for a sunny boost! Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and halibut serve as excellent sources of vitamin D and are rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. So, cast your net wide and incorporate fish into your meals a few times a week.
Egg-cellent Solution: Eggs are nature's little nutrient powerhouses with vitamin D packed right in the yolk. Including eggs in your diet can provide a significant amount of this sunshine vitamin. From a simple breakfast omelet to a protein-packed egg salad, there are endless ways to incorporate eggs into your daily diet.
Plant-Based Boost: For plant-based lovers, vitamin D-rich options can be found in fortified plant-based milk varieties, such as soy, almond or oat milk. Additionally, exploring vitamin D-rich alternatives like fortified tofu or orange juice can help you meet your daily requirements.
“Remember, a balanced diet and a bit of sunshine can go a long way in keeping your vitamin D levels in check,” Williams added. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and if a vitamin D supplement may be needed to ensure you're meeting your specific dietary needs.