For a country that gets abundant sunlight (at least for most parts of the year) it's strange to find a significant part of our population being diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency. It's almost become a pandemic.
Vitamin D or the 'sunshine vitamin' is an essential nutrient that keeps the bones and teeth healthy. It also plays a major role in regulation and absorption of calcium in the body. "Calcium strengthens the bones but is only useful in the presence of Vitamin D. The Vitamin acts on cells in the body and allows them to absorb calcium from the intestines. This ensures that there is enough calcium for the body to use. So essentially, one cannot do without the other" says nutritionist Niharika Ahluwalia.
"I would recommend consumption of more of high protein and calcium foods like homemade white butter, broccoli, avocado, kiwi and papaya. Also cereals like all your whole wheat grains including ragi, barley and soy bean atta and dry fruits like walnut and peanuts also help in overcoming a Vitamin D deficiency," she added.
Physicians and nutritionists see this deficiency as a serious medical condition. Vitamin D has several important functions. It helps increase bone density and improves the body's resistance against certain diseases. It plays an important role in warding off chronic ailments like heart diseases and diabetes. And finally, it promotes cell growth and strengthens the immune system.Sunlight is the best source Vitamin D. Since the sweltering heat makes us run away from sun exposure, doctors usually prescribe Vitamin D supplements to cure its deficiency. But you should know that there are quite a few natural sources that can help boost your Vitamin D levels.
We suggest you bulk up on these 5 foods to get your required dose of Vitamin D.
Mushrooms are the best natural sources of Vitamin D
The power of mushrooms will leave you astounded. Include them in your diet four times a week and watch your Vitamin D levels shoot up. They can be cooked, baked or pan fried and turned into a tasty and healthy delight. In order to reap more benefits you can sun dry them before consumption. Mushrooms can naturally produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. (More: 10 best mushroom recipes)
Ricotta cheese is a good source of Vitamin D
Who doesn't love cheese? Cheese can single-handedly provide more satisfaction than any other food and we're thrilled to give you another reason to enjoy it. Cheese is one of the top 5 foods high on Vitamin D. Well, spreading an additional layer of cheese on that morning slice of toast may not be such a bad idea after all. Ricotta cheese provides the maximum amount of Vitamin D amongst others. (More: 10 best cheese recipes)
The flesh of fatty fish & fish liver oils are good sources of Vitamin D
All kinds of fish are high on Vitamin D. Typically oily or fatty fish contain more Vitamin D than less oily fish. An example of oily fish would be a juicy thick fillet of salmon. Other common options are trout, mackerel, tuna or eel. (More: 10 best fish recipes)
Vitamin D is concentrated in the egg yolk
Egg yolk is back in vogue and this time it's here to stay. Since the vitamin D in an egg comes from its yolk, it's important to use the whole egg--not just the whites. So bid farewell to the egg white craze and indulge in the most nutritious part of the egg. (More: 10 best egg recipes)
5. Soy Milk
While cow's milk is a great source of calcium, soy milk is packed with Vitamin D
Soy milk is a plant-based milk produced by soaking dry soybeans and grinding them with water. While it contains the same amount of protein as regular cow's milk it boasts of high Vitamin D, Vitamin C and iron.
The only dietary recommendation to deal with Vitamin D deficiency is to consume natural sources of Vitamin D and also calcium rich foods.