It seems that anyone who lives in a cold climate is always hearing that they need more Vitamin D in the winter. In fact, most people who do not proactively find sources of Vitamin D tend to have a deficiency during winter months.
The challenge with Vitamin D is also that most people are not aware that they need it and they are often not aware that they have deficiency.
One easy way to get Vitamin D is to get it from the sunshine. The problem with that is that for a lot of people, when it is winter, there is barely any sunlight and the days get much shorter.
The main benefit of Vitamin D is the absorption of calcium for healthy bones, however it has other roles as well including cell growth and neuromuscular as well as immune functions. With that being said, it’s pretty darn important.
One of the main sources of Vitamin D is the lovely sunshine. For those of us dealing with shorter amounts of daylight in winter we don’t have as much of an opportunity to soak up the rays and this greatly contributes to less of a daily intake, contributing to seasonal affective disorder (S.A.D.) or just a general sense of the winter time blahs and lack of energy.
One recommended fix is hitting the tanning bed a couple of times a week, but, unless you like your vitamin D with a side of cancer and a dash of leather face, this is not the most ideal.
Very few foods in nature contain Vitamin D—here are a few that are not widely recognized but are even higher in content than dairy. (For a point of reference, one cup of Vitamin D fortified milk contains about 30% of our recommended daily intake.)
1. Cod liver oil: One tablespoon contains 340 percent of our daily value! Tastes disgusting au natural, but have no fear, gel tabs are very easy to find.
2. Swordfish: Three ounces, cooked, has 142% DV
3. Salmon: Three ounces, cooked, contains 112 percent DV
4. Tuna fish: Three ounces, from the can, drained in water has 39 percent DV
5. Orange juice: Fortified with Vitamin D, one cup has about 35 percent DV
6. Mushrooms: Due to the fact that some strains are grown using ultraviolet lights, fungi can be an excellent source. Portabella provides 70-90 percent DV, depending on whether grilled or raw—and maitake contain around 150 percent DV.
So if a tropical vacation is not on your agenda for the next three-to-five months, hit up your local fish market or organic produce section and use the extra time indoors to get creative in the kitchen!
Your bones and melatonin levels will thank you!