Top 5 Vitamin D Rich Foods For Vegetarians

Top 5 Vitamin D Rich Foods For Vegetarians


What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble non-essential vitamin that can be synthesized by the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight. Non-essential doesn’t mean it is not important, it simply means that it can be produced by the body and need not to depend solely on food sources.

However, many people may not get enough sunlight. This is maybe because people spend more time indoors, wear sunscreen when stepping outside.

Spending time out in the sun in the morning is the best way to get your daily dose of vitamin D as getting enough vitamin D from the diet alone may be a little difficult however, we also need to consume foods rich in vitamin D in order to prevent a deficiency in this nutrient.

Cholecalciferol or Vitamin D3 is the form produced by the skin when exposed to ultraviolet rays from sunlight while Ergocalciferol or vitamin D2 can be found in food, also used as a dietary supplement.

Why Vitamin D is important?
Vitamin D is crucial for health and has many important roles in our organism. it is essential for maintaining our bones strong and healthy. Vitamin D improves the absorption of calcium and responsible for maintaining both calcium and phosphate adequate concentrations in our body which are vital for the normal growth and health of the bones. It contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system.

Vitamin D deficiency may cause rickets in children which are characterized by soft bones and skeletal deformities and osteomalacia or softening of bones in adults. It may also increase the risk of developing osteoporosis, which is characterized by fragile bones prone to fractures.

Also read: 7 Reasons You Might Need More Vitamin D

Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)
The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin D per day:
Age 1 - 70 years – 600 IU (15 mcg)
Age 70+ years – 800 IU (20 mcg)
1 mcg is equal to 40 IU

Below are the 5 Vegetarian Foods That Are High in Vitamin D:

1.Sunlight



Though I am discussing here foods rich in vitamin D but nothing can beat sunlight when it comes to getting adequate vitamin D. Before discussing foods one by one later in this chapter, I must let you know about the fact that getting enough vitamin D through food only is quite difficult. One should get enough sun exposure as well as food to get recommended daily intake of vitamin D.

Here is the process of getting safely Vitamin D from the sunlight without getting sunburn and harmful UV radiations:

·      10-25 minutes of sun exposure before 12 pm as the ultraviolet B rays wavelength is 290-320n during this period which is essential for skin to produce vitamin D.
·      When the sun rays hit the skin, they stimulate the production of vitamin D in the body.
·      The more the exposure to the sun, the more the vitamin D production. But don’t overdo it otherwise you will get sunburn and other skin problems.
·      Daily sun exposure is must to get enough vitamin D. If it is not feasible then sun exposure at least twice per week is necessary.

·      One should get direct exposure to the sun, not the rays that are diffused by the glasses on the windows.
·      To boost vitamin D levels when under the sun, expose your face, arms, and hands, or an equivalent area of your body.
·      It is advisable to not use sunscreen during this period as sunscreen block the sun ray entering your skin. Wear sunscreen otherwise whenever you leave the home.



2.Mushrooms
Just like humans, mushrooms can synthesize vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. Mushrooms’ plant sterol, ergosterol converts to vitamin D when exposed to light. Next time when you eat mushrooms, expose them to sunlight in the morning for about 10-15 mins to make it richer in Vitamin D. You can eat mushrooms as stir-fried and can even use them in stuffing for sandwiches or add them in Hakka noodles.




3.Whole Cow's Milk
Cow's Milk is considered as complete food because it comprises almost all the essential nutrients. Not only whole milk is a good source of vitamin D, riboflavin and vitamin B12, but it's a complete protein source as well, also a very good source of the minerals such as calcium, iodine, and phosphorus.



4.Cheese
Cheese is another great source of vitamin D, along with calcium, fat, and protein. It is also rich in vitamin A, riboflavin and vitamin B12. But for maximum health benefits, make sure you choose the right kind of cheese. Cottage cheese, ricotta, and Feta are some of the healthy cheeses you can add to your diet. Though cheddar cheese is on the fattier side still it is a very good source of vitamin D. 100 grams of diced cheddar cheese has 6% of your daily value of vitamin D.



5.Yogurt
Yogurt may not be excellent but a good source of vitamin D. It is rich in protein and lower in calories as compared to cheese. Yogurt is a probiotic and is good for your gut health. To meet your daily recommended intake of vitamin D, have yogurt as well as milk every day. 







Conclusion
Vitamin D plays an essential role in our body. It keeps our teeth and bones strong and healthy. It prevents osteoporosis. It contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system. The best way to get required vitamin D is to expose skin is to direct sunlight. However, many people need to take supplements as their exposure to sunlight is limited as well as diet doesn’t provide a sufficient amount of vitamin D. But you should never take dietary supplements without consulting with your doctor as high doses of vitamin D supplements can cause adverse health effects. It can increase calcium levels in the body and can also damage the blood vessels, kidneys, and heart. On the other hand, vitamin D toxicity is not caused either by excessive sun exposure or by excessive consumption of food with vitamin D. So, it is better to stick with natural ways as much as possible.


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