There’s nothing like a little sunshine to brighten up your day. Not only does it boost your mood, but it has a positive impact on your health and wellbeing. Boost Vitamin D, often called the sunshine vitamin, is produced in your skin in response to sunlight. It’s a type of fat-soluble vitamin that plays a role in immune health and supports the absorption of other essential nutrients like calcium and phosphorus.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommend a daily intake of 600 to 800 IU vitamin D per day, through food, supplements, or natural sunlight. Here are the best ways to boost your vitamin D intake.
Simple Tips to Boost Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D plays a role in the growth of bones and teeth and, according to clinical research, may reduce the risk of respiratory infection and common viruses like influenza. The simplest way to meet your vitamin D requirements is through exposure to natural sunlight, though you can also get it by eating certain foods.
Without adequate vitamin D intake, you’re at risk for bone abnormalities like osteoporosis, not to mention the potentially detrimental effects on your immune system.
Here are five simple tips to boost your vitamin D levels:
Eat More Fish and Seafood
When it comes to natural food sources of vitamin D, fatty fish and seafood are at the top of the list. These foods are also loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A single 3.5-ounce (100g) serving of canned salmon provides 386 IU of vitamin D which is about half your recommended daily intake. Tuna, mackerel, oysters, shrimp, sardines, and anchovies are also rich in vitamin D.
Cook with Mushrooms
Mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D. Like humans, they synthesize this vitamin when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. The thing to remember, however, is that wild mushrooms tend to contain more vitamin D than commercially grown mushrooms. Commercially grown mushrooms are often cultivated in the dark, though some brands are treated with UV light. These mushrooms provide an average of 130 to 450 IU per 3.5 ounces (100g) while wild mushrooms contain as much a 2,300 IU per 3.5-ounce (100g) serving.
Enjoy Fortified Foods
Many commercially prepared foods are fortified with vitamin D which makes it easy to reach your daily recommended dosage. Here’s the vitamin D content of common fortified foods:
- Dairy Milk – 115 to 130 IU/cup
- Soy Milk – 107-117 IU/cup
- Orange Juice – 100 IU/cup
- Yogurt – 127 IU/cup
- Tofu – 100 IU/100g
Take Vitamin D Supplements
Long-term vitamin D deficiency can put you at risk for bone problems, so your doctor may suggest a daily supplement. Vitamin D supplements typically come in two forms: D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 is derived from plants (like mushrooms) while D3 is derived from animals (like fatty fish). The latter of these is the most powerful, so aim for 1,000-4,000 IU or 25-100 mcg vitamin D3 supplement daily.
Go for a Daily Walk
Exposure to natural sunlight is the best way to boost your body’s production of vitamin C. Something as simple as going for a 15-minute walk can help you meet your daily requirements. In fact, sun-derived vitamin D may circulate in your body twice as long as vitamin D from food and supplements. Make time for a walk in the middle of the day when the sun is out but don’t forget to protect your skin from UV damage with sunscreen and vitamin C serum for good measure.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient in all stages of life, but it becomes more important as you age. Adequate vitamin D intake may protect you from bone problems, respiratory infections, and a variety of other health concerns. Fortunately, boosting your vitamin D intake is easy with these 5 simple steps.