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Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that is produced by the body when exposed to direct sunlight. Vitamin D functions by absorbing calcium and phosphorus to maintain your overall health. This ‘sunshine vitamin’ is an important source to boost the immune system, support the bones and muscles and prevent hazardous diseases.
While it is easy to attain vitamins from external sources, according to the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 50% of the world still faces vitamin D deficiency. This makes the intake of vitamin D rich foods essential.
Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, it is most commonly available in natural sources like fish, egg and dairy products. This probes a problem for vegetarians and vegans who are limited for options. Scroll down for an ultimate guide on vitamin D fruits and vegetables that can serve your nutrition needs just right.
Fruits And Vegetables Rich In Vitamin D
Mushrooms are the only plant-based source of vitamin D. Wild mushrooms that are grown under the exposure of adequate sunlight are considered more enriched with vitamins. 100 gm of mushrooms is usually packed with 2300 IU of vitamin D. These can be consumed raw as a part of salads or cooked as main or side dishes in your meals.
Mushrooms also contain other important nutrients like riboflavin, folate, thiamine, pantothenic acid, niacin and vitamin B.
Tofu is a vegetable protein derived from the plant soybeans. Rich in calcium and vitamin D, tofu can help improve your bone structure and induce adequate proteins into your body. 100 gm of tofu often contains 39% of your daily intake of vitamin D. You can incorporate this versatile ingredient in a traditional curry meal or have it seared, grilled or baked. Sometimes, raw tofu is also added in salads.
Other nutrients infused in tofu are essential amino acids, iron, manganese, selenium, vitamin B1 and more.
Raw spinach may not be a great source of vitamin D, however, when cooked to form a soufflé, spinach can improve the intake of this vitamin. 100 gm of spinach soufflé offers 31 IU of vitamin D. This soufflé can be had as a side dish in your meals. Spinach soufflé is also enriched with calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates.
4. Orange Juice
One of the most common vitamin D fruits is orange. Oranges are fortified with vitamins and calcium using its pulp. Orange juice can absorb bone-boosting minerals that are essential to strengthen and energize your body. 1 cup of orange juice is good enough to supply 142 IU of vitamin D. Orange juice can easily become a part of your everyday breakfast to start the day right.
Other nutrients found in oranges are vitamin C, folate and potassium.
How Much Is Good?
The Recommended dosage of the vitamin is a reflection of how much of each vitamin should be consumed each day. This index may vary with age, gender and body type. Following are the suggested dosage of the same considering minimal sun exposure:
Below 12 years: 400 IU
1-70 years: 600 IU
Above 70 years: 800 IU
The deficiency of vitamin D is often associated with Rickets in children and Osteomalacia in adults. These are both conditions that are characterized by the softening of bones. The common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are as follows:
- Muscle weakness
- Bone pains
- Getting sick often
- Impaired wound healing
- Hair loss
Increased deficiencies can even cause severe health risks like low blood levels, cardiovascular diseases, cognitive impairment in older adults, asthma in children and more.
Spending time outdoors is probably the easiest way to attain adequate vitamin D. However, it may not always be enough! That’s when food rich in nutrients come in play. The options of dietary supplements are limited for vegetarians and vegans. It is for this reason that sometimes, fruits and vegetables are also fortified with vitamins to improve their nutrition content. These vitamins are important to maintain a healthy lifestyle for a healthier you.