People love to focus on calcium to have the healthiest bones possible. The “got milk?” campaigns left an impression on the general public, so most people believe milk is the answer for their calcium needs. Excess dairy consumption can lead to excess mucus production and inflammation in the body. Plus, calcium isn’t the only nutrient you need to worry about if you want healthier bones.
Not only is vitamin D a key player in bone health, but it may also prevent osteoporosis, a condition that makes bones brittle. Vitamin D deficiency also contributes to a gradual loss of bone strength over time. You see, the body needs vitamin D in order for bones to properly absorb calcium. In fact, you can consume all the calcium in the world, but your bones don’t absorb it without vitamin D, according to health professionals.
When it comes to how much vitamin D you need per day, the Institutes of Medicine recommends 600-1000 internal units (IU) of vitamin D per day to meet 95% of the population’s needs. Unlike other nutrients, which are measured in grams or milligrams, vitamin D is measured in IU for recommended daily intake. Read on to learn about plenty of vitamin D sources for optimal health.
Open the door and go outside in order to encourage the body to make vitamin D. A small amount of sunlight per day can help you meet your recommended daily intake of vitamin D. Experts say that 20-25 minutes of sun exposure can aid your efforts. You should also be mindful that the sun is less likely to provide you with your daily needs at higher altitudes or during the winter. If you have a darker skin tone, it will also be harder to meet your daily vitamin D needs in the sun. Sun exposure also increases the risk of skin cancer, so make sure to apply sunscreen when necessary.
Just like humans, mushrooms can also produce vitamin D. UV light rays from the sun essentially fortify mushrooms with vitamin D. A 2018 study found that, with exposure to UV radiation, mushrooms could generate nutritionally useful amounts of vitamin D2. Oftentimes, mushrooms grow in darker environments, so they have to be treated with UV light for exposure. Certain mushrooms, like portobello and maitake varieties, are still beneficial sources of vitamin D.
Ultraviolet Lamps And Bulbs
People at a high risk of vitamin D deficiency may require UV-emitting lamps or bulbs. Healthcare professionals may recommend people who are unable to absorb vitamin D these devices. People who cannot get enough sunlight in the winter months may also benefit from these lamps and bulbs. These lamps are similar to tanning beds, but on a much smaller scale. Each lamp is about 24 inches by 16 inches. An important note is that they do carry some skin cancer risks and you should wear protective eyewear when near them.
Fresh Fatty Fish
Many dietitians agree that different types of fish are excellent to consume to increase vitamin D levels. Fattier and oily fish, including rainbow trout, salmon, tuna, and sardines are all great sources of vitamin D. Three ounces of cooked salmon has 570 IUs, while the same amount of cooked rainbow trout has 645 IUs. A 2021 study found that Atlantic mackerel and herring were rich in vitamin D. Adding these types of fish to your diet also increases your intake of valuable omega-3 fatty acids.
A lot of people enjoy eggs and they happen to be a great way to meet your recommended daily amount of vitamin D. Vitamin D in eggs comes from the yolk, so don’t just opt for the egg whites. One yolk provides about 40 IUs, but dietitians suggest getting more vitamin D from other sources. The reason for this is because one egg contains about 200 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol. A 2019 study found that too much dietary cholesterol, including the type that comes from eggs, increased the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cod Liver Oil
Unfortunately, this is one of those foods that does not have an appetizing taste or smell. Commonly sold in capsule form, cod liver oil is often flavored with mint or citrus to mellow the fishy taste. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that one tablespoon of cod liver oil contains nearly 1,300 IUs of vitamin D, which is about twice the recommended daily allowance of 600 IUs. Although this amount doesn’t exceed the maximum upper-level intake of 4,000 IUs for people over the age of eight, it does exceed the daily maximum for infants, which is 1,000 IUs.