Not only is vitamin D essential for bone health, but a lack of it can lead to a number of health problems, including diabetes, autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
The so-called "sunshine vitamin" is one of the most common of all vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. In the United States, vitamin D deficiency has affected around 40 percent of the whole population.
Vitamin D Deficiency And Obesity
What's more, a new study has just discovered an important link between obesity and vitamin D deficiency. The findings suggested that people who have higher levels of belly fat could be suffering from vitamin D deficiency as well.
Rachida Rafiq, the author of the study, along with her team of researchers from VU University Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands are advising people who have higher levels of belly fat to go and get their vitamin D levels checked immediately in order to prevent health issues.
The good news, however, is that vitamin D can be obtained from food, as well as sun exposure. If people aren't getting enough sunlight, then they should try to spend a little more of their time outdoors. They should, on the other hand, also eat more foods that are high in vitamin D.
Here's a list of foods that can boost people's vitamin D levels.
The best sources of vitamin D are the flesh of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines, herring, and mackerel. Three ounces of cooked salmon contains over 450 international units or UI. Also, another good source of vitamin D is fish liver oil.
Mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D in plants. They can synthesize ultraviolet or UV light similarly to the way humans can when exposed to the sun. However, mushrooms are known to provide vitamin D2 in variable amounts, whereas animals provide vitamin D3.
Whole eggs are another good source of vitamin D. Most of the protein in the egg is contained in the egg white, while the majority of vitamins and minerals are contained within the egg yolk. People should take note that a conventionally grown egg yolk has only a tiny amount of vitamin D. However, eggs coming from chickens that roam under the sunlight contain three to four times more vitamin D.
Because natural sources of vitamin D are limited, there are certain foods available that don't naturally have vitamin D but are fortified with it. Examples of foods that are fortified with vitamin D are orange juice, cow's milk, soy milk, and certain cereal and oatmeal.
According to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements, fortified foods provide most of the vitamin D in the American diet, with nearly all of the country's milk supply being fortified with 100 IU per cup.