Why is Vitamin D So Important? Best Sources of Vitamin D.

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Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential to the body.   A few of Best sources of Vitamin D come from shrimp, sardines, cod and eggs. The FDA has set the reference value for nutrition label for vitamin D at 400 IU’s. Therapeutic ranges fall between 400 to 1000 IU’s.

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, and actually functions more like a hormone then vitamin. It works with the parathyroid hormone to maintain proper levels of calcium in the blood.

We need vitamin D to help our bones and teeth. It also helps regulate the growth and activity of cells. Vitamin D also helps prevent excessive inflammatory immune related activity, it builds your immune system and helps protect against disease.

Vitamin D deficiency results in decreased absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Prolonged deficiency can lead to an impact on your bone mineralization, Thus experiencing bone thinning (osteopenia), bone pain and or soft bones (osteomalacia).

It is estimated that nearly 75% of Americans are deficient in vitamin D1.  For many people, basking in the sun may not be an answer because of skin conditions and sensitivities. Eating oily fish on a regular basis also may not be an option, much of our seafood is over-fished or contaminated from pollution so it can be difficult to find pure sources. Surprisingly, there are several foods packed with vitamin D that are easy to incorporate into your everyday routine.

If you think you’re going to get enough vitamin D from the sun you need to have at least 40% of your skin exposed for at least 15 minutes a day.  Otherwise you will need to get your vitamin D from food and or supplementation.

If you prefer to get your protein vitamins or minerals from a plant-based diet, try mushrooms. 3 ounces portobello mushrooms is 20 cal, 3 g of protein, 1 g dietary fiber, zero cholesterol, 15 mg of sodium, 300 mg of potassium and 4% of your vitamin D for the day.

Other Great Sources of  Vitamin D:

Swiss Chard

Most leafy greens are high in vitamin D, but chard trumps them all.  Add to your omelet or steam with garlic and onions.  Try swiss chart instead of raw Kale in your smoothie and your stomach will thank you for the easier digestion.

Squash and Pumpkin Seeds

Go for Raw and sprouted!My favorite variety of pumpkin seeds are pepitas, the shelled pumpkin seed that has been roasted and sometimes tossed with spices and sea salt.

Beef Liver

Most people remember (not-so-fondly) being forced to eat liver and onions, but beef liver can actually be delicious. Try it in chili or even mix half beef liver and half bison or beef in your favorite meatball recipe.  Organic is SO Important!

Mushrooms

Mushrooms, especially ones grown in sunlight, are very high in vitamin D. Portobello mushrooms are actually considered one of the best vegan sources of vitamin D.3

Caviar

It may not be for everyone and it can be quite expensive, but caviar is also high in vitamin D. If you can’t afford a fresh tin of expensive caviar (which typically isn’t sustainable anyways), try fresh fish roe next time you go out for sushi. Many brands carry organic, sustainably roe at affordable prices.

Almond Milk

While almonds are very high in vitamin D, many people don’t remember to eat a couple handfuls every day. Try buying almond milk instead of dairy.

Chicken Liver

Liver may turn some people off, but they can be so tasty if cooked right. Try it with Black rice, which has sautéed onions, garlic,  peppers, spices and chicken livers.

Dark Chocolate

Good news! Dark chocolate that has over 60% cacao content is packed with vitamin D, so the next time you have a sweet craving, indulge in a few small pieces of high-quality dark chocolate, Organic of course! Look for Cacao not Cocoa.