You may be surprised to learn that in Sunny Australia, 30% of us are deficient in vitamin D. Luckily the harsh sun isn’t the only way to get a good dose of the sunshine vitamin; there are a number of foods rich in this vital nutrient – here are our top 3.
Vitamin D is integral to a number of bodily processes from aiding the body in absorbing and retaining bone-building nutrients phosphorus and calcium to reducing inflammation and booting immunity. Some research even shows that vitamin D deficiency can raise your risk for autoimmune conditions, and we’ve long known that the sunshine vitamin plays an integral role in preventing osteoporosis, a disease characterised by brittle bones – in fact, studies show an alarming connection between vitamin D deficiency and osteoporosis even in children; contrary to popular belief, it’s not just older adults who develop this condition. But we also know that in Australia – and around the world – exposure to the sun poses a deadly risk for the development of skin cancer, after all here in the land downunder, we have one of the highest rates of this cancer in the world and nearly one in three cancer patients are dealing with skin cancer. So, we can’t blame Aussies for avoiding the sunlight or slathering on sunscreen and layers to avoid those rays – but we still need to do something about our vitamin D problem. Luckily, there are a number of foods through which we can get a good dose of this stuff – here are 3 to have in your dietary arsenal.
We’re not talking about just any mushrooms here – we’re referring specifically to sunbathed mushrooms. When exposed to sunlight, our fungal friends can actually synthesis the vitamin from the UV rays – something they have in common with us humans – and as a result these mushrooms can pack a good dose of the sunshine vitamin. But it’s important to choose your mushrooms carefully; many you find in the supermarket have been grown in dark conditions, so it’s essential to do your research and find a brand that has exposed theirs to UV light. UV-exposed cremini mushrooms, for instance, can pack a whopping 139% of the recommended daily intake in just one cup! It’s worth noting that mushrooms produce vitamin D2, while humans and other animals produce vitamin D3, the latter of which is more effective in raising our levels of the nutrient – but that doesn’t mean you should brush off D2, it still has a positive effect on our vitamin D blood levels.
Fish are another source of vitamin D, particularly salmon. Just 100 grams of Atlantic salmon can pack 66% of the daily recommended intake, but wild salmon have even higher levels of the nutrient, depending on the time of year and location, for instance, salmon in the Baltic sea were found to have up to 111% of the recommend intake.
You’ll also find a good dose of vitamin in other seafood:
- Cod liver oil
Eggs are a surprising vitamin D hero with two eggs providing 10% of the daily recommended intake – though this may vary depending on the sun exposure the chickens have, along with dietary vitamin D in their feed. Eggs of chickens that are allowed to wander outdoors under the sun are found to have around 4 times as much of the sunshine vitamin as their shaded counterparts. Chickens fed a vitamin D enriched diet may also produce 2.5 times the daily recommended intake in just one yolk – so be sure to do your research on the farm’s ethics and practises.
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