Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, is unique because it can be synthesized by human body. Although vitamin D is not an essential dietary vitamin for human beings, its deficiency can cause illnesses like rickets and osteomalacia. Vitamin D is best known for improving bone health right from infancy to old age and is increasingly being considered an important part of diet.
Vitamin D helps the body in absorbing calcium from food and is generally added to milk which children drink. In older adults, it can prevent fractures and brittle bones. Like other compounds called vitamins, vitamin D is being added to staple foods, like milk, to avoid diseases caused due to its deficiency. It is important to get yourself and your family tested for Vitamin D (the test is referred to as 25(OH)D) which apparently was ignored in the past. Be aware that excess intake of vitamin D over a long period of time can cause more calcium to be absorbed than can be excreted and, thereby, harm the body. Consult an expert for determining the exact requirement. Some good foods which can serve as important sources of vitamin D include the following.
Vitamin D Rich Foods
A good Breakfast with Fortified Juice or Shake
About 40-50% of the human skeletal mass is build during puberty and adolescence, signifying the need for vitamins intake. Children can largely get affected by rickets which is a vitamin D deficiency outcome causing soft bones. A good breakfast not only provides you with sufficient energy to continue with the day but also takes care of the nutritional requirements which are treasured for overall growth and development of bodily system. Fortified juice (like orange juice) or fresh fruit milkshake can be an ideal food to begin the day. When you choose your breakfast foods wisely, you can get a substantial amount of vitamin D to avoid its deficiency. You can also use fortified dairy products along with milk, including some soy milks. You can check labels for precise information about the vitamin and nutritional content of the pack. You may opt for the low fat juice and dairy products to keep a check on the fat intake. In an American diet, fortified foods can provide most of the vitamin D.
Fish, egg and Yoghurt
In a fast forward life, it is obvious to turn to convenient foods like burgers and processed food items. But these can do more harm than good. Fish is considered one of the best sources of vitamin D. Tuna (as in tuna salad), cooked mackerel, cooked eel, catfish, sardines canned in oil (drained) and cooked salmon can be some worthy sources of vitamin D for human body. Besides fish, other sources include eggs, cheese, liver and yoghurt. A whole egg, 200 g of cooked beef liver and about one tablespoon fish liver oil can make your diet better enriched with vitamin D. Paneer and yoghurt contain as much Vitamin D as milk.
More Sources of Vitamin D
With growing age, you cannot drastically change your skeletal structure; but you can maintain it to a great extent. Focus on not allowing your bone density to fall below the recommended limit by adopting an active lifestyle, having good food like tuna, fortified cereal and mushrooms. Some mushrooms provide vitamin D2; mushrooms having enhanced levels of vitamin D2 are also available. Cod liver oil, although has a pungent aroma and can be terrible in taste, is a rich source of vitamin D. It is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, the good fats for human body. Cod liver oil can be used to prevent osteoporosis as it has the ability to keep bones strong and healthy. It potentially improves functioning of the nervous system including the brain. If you are not getting enough sunshine, ensure to eat dark green leafy vegetables on a consistent basis.
Consider Supplements if Needed
The need for Vitamin D can increase after 50 years of age and it can be difficult to fulfill the requirement with just a regular diet. Supplements can provide an alternative to make up for the deficit but you should always ask your doctor about supplements before taking any. If you are at a high risk of osteoporosis, supplements may help. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, adults under age 50 should get 400 – 800 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day. For adults aged 50 years and older, 800 – 1,000 IU of vitamin D should be taken every day.
Breast Milk and formula Milk may need Supplementation for Vitamin D
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), exclusively and partially breastfed infants get supplements of vitamin D soon after being born. This can continue for the time till the children consume about 1,000 mL/day of vitamin D-fortified formula or whole milk. It is particularly important for babies and young children (less than five years) to get adequate vitamin D. The United States and Canada mandate the fortification of infant formula with vitamin D.