According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin D not only promotes calcium absorption, which is important for maintaining healthy bones, but it also contributes to cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and helps reduce inflammation in the body. To make sure you’re getting enough of this power-packed vitamin, here are a few reminders and as always, consult your doctor.
Spend time outdoors. Sun exposure is the easiest way to get vitamin D. Make sure your arms, face, and legs are in the sun, and remember that sunscreen and cloud cover will negatively affect the amount of sun and potential vitamin D your body will produce. In case you’re wondering, being in direct sunlight behind a window does not count since glass cuts out the radiation that makes vitamin D. Aim for 10-30 minutes of the midday sun, a bit more if you have darker skin.
Eat oily fish. If you’re not a fan of the sun, consider eating oily fish such as herring or swordfish. Herring contains 306 (IU) international units per fillet about half the (RDA) recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D. Swordfish is an even better option because it contains over twice as much Vitamin D. An alternative to eating fish is to introduce supplements such as cod liver oil capsules to your diet.
Munch on mushrooms. Some types of mushrooms contain high amounts of vitamin D and are perfect if you’re a vegetarian or vegan. Raw maitake mushrooms contain close to 100 percent of a person’s RDA. Dried shiitake mushrooms contain 12 percent of a person’s RDA. Ask your local vegetable producer if their mushrooms have been exposed to ultraviolet light. For example, UV-exposed raw Portobello mushrooms contain 95 percent of a person’s RDA, while UV-exposed raw white mushrooms contain 87 percent of a person’s RDA.
Scramble egg yolks. Free-range egg yolks are a great source of vitamin D and are an easy food to buy. If you enjoy a dish of scrambled eggs using two large hen eggs, you’ll be eating 15 percent of your RDA. Why not make it easy for yourself and add one of the mushrooms listed above?
Increase your vitamin D intake this summer with a few adjustments to your day. With a little time in the sun and a nutritious meal, you’ll be on the right track to maintaining a body that’s healthy, strong, and full of vitality.—RG