Getting the “Sunshine Vitamin” Without the Sun

Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin” because we usually associate it with soaking up the rays.

But, how do we get Vitamin D safely without risking sunburn or harmful rays?

And on top of that, why is it important, and what’s the big deal if we don’t get enough?

Why Vitamin D?

Vitamin D plays an important role in bone growth and development by absorbing calcium and helping regulate the immune system, but research has found Vitamin D acts as a hormone rather than a vitamin.

The studies have found almost every tissue type in our body has receptors for Vitamin D and requires it for optimal performance.

How much should I get?

600 IU (international units) is a common recommendation, but considering genetics, input, and output, recommendations depend on the individual.

There is also debate on the general recommended amount in the medical community. If you haven’t had a Vitamin D test, most doctors include them in annual physicals.

Depending on the amount in your blood, they might suggest over-the-counter supplements, or in severe cases, start you on a prescribed amount and continue regular measurements.

How do I get my Vitamin D?

Getting outside and exposing your skin for ten minutes each day can raise your levels of Vitamin D.

But, if you’re fair-skinned, live in the city, or don’t get outside much, that’s ten minutes too many. Outside of supplements, the best way is through your diet.

Based on the 600 IU recommendations here are some of the best Vitamin D rich foods:

A cup of mushrooms exposed to sunlight contain: 
  • Portabellos 163% DV (daily value)
  • Maitake 131% DV
  • Morel 23% DV
  • Chanterelle 19% DV
  • Oyster 4% DV
  • White 1% DV
Three ounces of oily fish contains:
  • Trout 108% DV
  • Smoked Salmon 97% DV
  • Swordfish 94% DV
  • Canned Trout 86% DV
  • Salmon 75% DV
  • Smoked White Fish 73% DV
  • Mackerel 65% DV
  • Halibut 33% DV
  • Tilapia 21% DV
  • Sole and Flounder 20% DV
  • Tuna Steak 12% DV
Three ounces of tofu contains:
  • Firm 23% DV
  • Lite Silken Tofu 21% DV
  • Sprouted Tofu, Extra Firm and Firm Tofu 14% DV
Dairy Products per cup contains:
  • Queso Fresco 22% DV
  • Buttermilk, Fortified Low Fat Fruit Yogurt, Fortified Whole Milk, Fortified Goat’s Milk 20% DV
  • Fortified Semi-Skim Milk 20% DV
  • Fortified Skim Milk 19% DV
Three ounces of pork contains:
  • Extra Lean Ham 12% DV
  • Spare Ribs 15% DV
  • Turkey and Pork Sausage 12% DV
  • Pork Shoulder 9% DV
  • Pork Loin 8% DV
A cup of eggs contains:
  • Hard-Boiled 20% DV
  • Raw, scrambled, poached, or omelets 7% DV
A cup of dairy alternatives contains:
  • Plain Soy Yogurt 22% DV
  • Soymilk 20% DV
  • Almond Milk, Chocolate Almond Milk, Non-soy Imitation Milk or Rice Drink 17% DV

Although the recommended amount of Vitamin D is under debate, the importance of it is not.

If you’re found to have a deficiency, talk to your doctor about taking supplements and introduce Vitamin D foods into your diet.

Stress is something that could affect your health. Manage your stress, even if you are busy!