In today’s day-and-age of closed office spaces and climate change, it’s important to get as much Vitamin D as possible.
According to Health Magazine, Vitamin D is essential for bone health. Recent research also suggests that getting enough Vitamin D helps protect against colds and fighting depression.
If you are cooped up in your Pittsburgh home or office, you most likely don’t absorb enough vitamin D. Here are 12 ways to ensure adequate intake, as suggested by Health Magazine.
Being Under the Sun
Sunlight spurs the body to make vitamin D. According to Stephen Honig, MD, director of Osteoporosis Center at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, in NYC, “If you’re going to get [Vitamin D] from the sun, about 20-25 minutes of exposure is helpful.” The sun is less likely to provide your daily needs at high latitudes, in the winter, or if you’re older or dark skinned.
Fatty fish can be a good source of vitamin D. Common options include salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and eel. A 3-ounce sockeye salmon fillet contains about 450 international units (IUs) of vitamin D—a good portion of the 600 IUs that is the Institute of Medicine’s recommended dietary allowance (800 IUs if you’re over 70).
Canned tuna fish
Canned tuna fish and canned sardines both contain vitamin D, and are usually less expensive than fresh fish.Plus, a longer shelf life makes the canned products easy to stock up on and use at your leisure. Canned light tuna has the most vitamin D—about 150 IUs per 4 ounces— while canned albacore tuna has about 50 IUs per 4 ounces, and canned sardines have a little more than 40 IUs per two sardines.
Just like humans, mushrooms have the capacity to produce vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet light. Check to see if vitamin D–rich ‘shrooms, like Dole’s Portobello Mushrooms, are available at a store near you. They’re perfect for vegetarians looking for plant-based foods that contain the vitamin. Dole’s portobellos will give you 400 IUs of vitamin D per 3-ounce serving (about 1 cup of diced mushrooms).
Almost all types of cow’s milk in the U.S. are fortified with vitamin D, but ice cream and cheese are not. In general, an 8-ounce glass of milk contains at least 100 IUs of vitamin D, and a 6-ounce serving of yogurt contains 80 IUs, but the amount can be higher (or lower) depending on how much is added.
If you’re not a fan of milk, you can get vitamin D from fortified orange juice like Florida Natural Orange Juice. One 8-ounce glass of fortified juice usually has around 100 IUs of vitamin D, but the amount varies from brand to brand. Not all brands are fortified, so check the label.
Vitamin D supplements can help you get your proper daily dose, and as Dr. Honig points out, you don’t run into the issue of skin cancer as you might with UV rays. “And it’s not like calcium,” he says. “You don’t have to split up your vitamin D dose; you can take it all at one time.”
Eggs are a convenient way to get vitamin D. They’re popular in many breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes. Since the vitamin D in an egg comes from its yolk, it’s important to use the whole egg—not just the whites. One yolk will give you about 40 IUs, but don’t try to get your daily vitamin D just from eggs.
If you’re a vitamin D seeker looking for a crunch, look no further than fortified cereals. Choose a low-calorie fortified cereal like Multi Grain Cheerios to get part of your daily fill of vitamin D. You can pair it with fortified milk and a glass of fortified OJ too.
Although it might not be the most appealing source, a 3.5-ounce serving of cooked beef liver contains about 50 IUs of vitamin D—and several other nutrients. You’ll also be getting vitamin A, iron, and protein. However, beef liver is also high in cholesterol, so you might want to choose an oily fish instead.
Cod liver oil
While its name might suggest a less-than-savory flavor, cod liver oil is often flavored with mint or citrus, or comes in capsule form. One tablespoon contains about 1,300 IUs of vitamin D, which is more than twice the recommended dietary allowance of 600 IUs per day.
Ultraviolet lamps and bulbs
People at high risk of vitamin D deficiency may resort to UV-emitting lamps and bulbs. This includes people unable to absorb the vitamin (malabsorption) or those who can’t get enough in winter months, says Michael F. Holick, MD, a professor of medicine, sociology, and biophysics at Boston University Medical Center.
Click here for more ways to get your daily dose of Vitamin D.