Vitamin D is a vital nutrient best known for its ability to help us build strong and healthy bones, but it could also aid in other essential body functions, such as promoting the circulatory, digestive, immune, and nervous systems. However, despite this vitamin’s incredible health benefits, many people around the world are suffering from vitamin D deficiency, failing to meet their recommended daily intake. Thankfully, there are plenty of simple and efficient ways to increase your vitamin D levels on a daily basis. How to get Vitamin D? – here’s how:
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Spend more time outdoors
When we spend time outdoors, the direct sunlight coming into contact with our skin encourages our body to produce vitamin D, making it one of the most natural and efficient options. Surprisingly, even as little as 20 to 30 minutes of sun exposure a day can help raise our vitamin D levels, and allow them to circulate for longer periods of time.
However, the amount of sunlight your body needs might depend on several factors, as the sunlight is less likely to meet your daily needs during the winter, at higher altitudes, if you have a darker complexion, or if you are older. But regardless of the variable or the season, the sun can still be quite harmful, leading to irritation, dark spots, or even skin cancer, which is why it’s necessary to protect yourself from dangerous sun rays with an SPF 30+ sunscreen every day.
Include fatty fish in your diet
Fish is also among the best natural sources of vitamin D, especially the types we consider to be fatty or oily. For instance, about 85g of cooked salmon has shown to have 570 IUs (amount of substance) of vitamin D, while the same amount of cooked rainbow trout can have up to 645 IUs. What’s more, other types of seafood, such as tuna, shrimp, sardines, oysters and cod liver oil, contain a fair amount of vitamin D as well, making them a great addition to a healthy diet.
But apart from beneficial vitamin D, most of these fatty fish and seafood products are also packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have been known to promote good heart and brain health.
Eat certain types of mushrooms
Similarly to humans, mushrooms also have the ability of making their own vitamin D when they are exposed to direct sunlight or UV light. However, as most commercially available mushrooms are grown in dark environments, they need to be specifically treated with UV light for optimal vitamin D levels, which is why the content of this healthy vitamin varies greatly from one type of mushroom to another. Of course, that’s not to say that there aren’t certain mushroom varieties available that will provide you with more than enough vitamin D, as wild maitake mushrooms can offer as much as 2,348 IUs per 100-gram serving.
Being the only natural source of vitamin D that is entirely plant-based, mushrooms are also an ideal option for vegans or vegetarians, whether they decide to buy wild or commercially grown varieties.
Opt for a vitamin D supplement
Considering the fact that certain groups of people are more likely to experience vitamin D deficiency than others, such as infants, toddlers and people who don’t get enough sun exposure, taking vitamin D supplements is one of the best ways to ensure a proper intake, as prescribed by their doctors. As far as the rest of the population is concerned, a daily supplement of vitamin D of no more than 10 micrograms (μg) is advised.
In either case, it’s essential to only opt for high-quality supplements that have been previously tested and approved, to make sure you are getting an adequate intake, along with pure and quality ingredients. It’s important to note that you should always consult a doctor or a pharmacist before taking any additional supplements.
While vitamin D might be an essential nutrient that helps us maintain overall health and well-being, a significant percentage of people don’t get a proper intake on a daily basis. That is why spending more time in the sun, eating vitamin D rich foods, and taking supplements might be the best way of increasing your vitamin D levels.