Vitamin D is essential for bone health. It’s also super important for protecting against colds and fighting depression. However, if you don’t spend enough time in the sun or if your body has trouble absorbing the vitamin, you may not get enough. As an Indian woman, I suffer from low Vitamin D and I know many of my other brown girlfriends have the same problem so today I am sharing with you ways to raise your vitamin D and ensure you are getting enough!
Sunlight 20 to 25 minutes of sun exposure
20 to 25 minutes of sun exposure will help immensely. Be sure to lather sunscreen, wear sunglasses, and wear a hat so you do not get sunburned.
Of course this only applies if you a non-vegetarian. 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).
This one was a surprise to me and also a win win since I LOVE mushrooms. Mushrooms apparently have the capacity to produce vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet light. Who would have knew!? Mushrooms, however, are usually grown in the dark and don’t contain the vitamin. Specific brands, however, are grown in ultraviolet light to spur vitamin D production. Check to see if vitamin D–rich ‘shrooms, like Dole’s Portobello Mushrooms, are available at a store near you. They’re especially 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 (bummer I know). 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. Some soy and rice milks are fortified with about the same amount, but as always check the label since not all contain vitamin D.
If you are not a fan of diary, no problem. You can get your Vitamin D and indulge in fortified 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. Again, not all brands are fortified, so check the label. Two fortified brands, Florida Natural Orange Juice and Minute Maid Kids+ Orange Juice, contain 100 IUs per 8-ounce serving.
If you have tried everything and you still are low on Vitamin D then Vitamin D supplements can help you get your proper daily dose. Vitamin D supplments are also good because you can have your dose all at once and not have to worry about it for the rest of the day. Too much vitamin D can be toxic, however. The upper limit is at 4,000 IUs for people aged 9 and older. That includes all sources—food, sun, and supplements. Talk to your doctor before choosing and starting a dosage.
Eggs are another convenient way to get vitamin D. 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. Don’t forget that one egg contains about 200 milligrams of cholesterol, and the American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 300 milligrams a day for heart health.
If you’re low on Vitamin D and are looking to eat something with then fortified cereal will be your new best friend. Choose a low-calorie fortified cereal like Multi Grain Cheerios to get part of your daily fill of vitamin D. Genius idea for you! Pair it with fortified milk and a glass of fortified OJ so a vitamin D happy day!
A 1-cup (29 gram) serving of Multi Grain Cheerios with one-half cup of fortified milk is 90 IUs; add in an 8-ounce glass of fortified orange juice, and your total is close to 200 IUs.