The human body is a complex aggregation of different components which are put together in a synchronized manner to function and keep it running. There are energy producing components like carbohydrates, fats, and proteins and are called nutrients. There are other components which are required basically in small quantities but are essential to the metabolism of the body and they are known as Vitamins. American researchers Elmer McCollum and Marguerite Davis in 1914 first discovered vitamins in “cod liver oil”. Vitamins are critical as they fight off diseases and build a strong immune system for the human body. There are majorly thirteen vitamins known and the human body cannot produce them by itself. There are two categories of Vitamins – Fat-Soluble and Water-Soluble.
Of the thirteen Vitamins only one vitamin can be produced by human body and that is – Vitamin D. Vitamin D is fat-soluble and can be stored in the body. Vitamin D is required for healthy and strong bones, muscles, cell growth, immunity and neuromuscular operations. The vitamin is produced in the skin and is present in the form of 7-dehydrocholestrol. The ultraviolet B light from the sun converts it into Vitamin D3. This is possible only when the human skin is exposed directly to Sunlight (UVB). And high exposure to this wavelength of sunlight may cause Skin-Cancer. Hence human body must get vitamin D rich foods from outside to fulfill the body’s requirement of Vitamin D.
10 Best Vitamin D Rich Foods
It is quite surprising that even if India as a country gets enough sunlight, approximately 40% of the population is vitamin D deficient. There are reasons, though we will not discuss the reasons, but it is very important to explore vitamin D rich foods in India. India has abundant natural resources by virtue of which you can find vitamin D rich foods very easily, though not much of the vegetable-eaters will be benefited as there are very few vitamin D rich vegetables. Let’s explore few vitamin D rich foods in India:
1) Mushrooms and Potatoes
Mushrooms are probably the only plant produce which is rich in Vitamin D. All type of mushrooms has them but the best source is the “Shitake Mushrooms”, which are probably the second most consumed mushroom in the world. One of the exotic varieties of mushrooms they great taste and texture. In addition to the sunshine, vitamin mushrooms are rich in Selenium and antioxidants which play a pivotal role for healthy skin. It is one of the vitamin D rich foods for the skin as it protects from discoloration and wrinkles. Potatoes are also known to have vitamin D in them.
2) Mackerel (Bangra)
One of the fish varieties in India with high omega-3 fatty acids and hence the rich source of Vitamin D (as it is fat-soluble vitamin). Mackerel can provide you up to 90% of the recommended dietary index of vitamin D.
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3) Herring (Hilsa)
Herrings feed on vitamin D rich planktons and hence they are themselves a very good source of vitamin D. They are usually consumed in the form of pickles, creamed or sometimes smoked. They are also very good source of selenium, phosphorous, calcium and iron.
4) Cod Liver Oil
Regular consumption of cod liver oil – a fish oil supplement, will develop strong bones, and enhance the brain activity. It is a rich source of vitamin D and is also available on the market in the form of capsules.
5) Ricotta Cheese
One of the options for vegetarians to get vitamin D rich food is cheese. And amongst all cheese “Ricotta Cheese” contains more than five times vitamin D. Amongst all other dairy products cheese contains highest levels of vitamin D.
Milk, as you know, is a complete food; it is also a rich source of vitamin D. But as vitamin D is fat-soluble skimming the milk may take out the essential nutrient. It is always better to have whole fat milk. There are chances that some skimmed milk be fortified with vitamin D so you may check the label before consuming.
Also Read : Top 10 Benefits of Aloe Vera Juice
7) Orange Juice
Orange juice is full of vitamin D and a glass of fresh orange juice is the best way to fulfill the need. It contains 100IU of vitamin D.
Though people on dieting may not like it but butter also has small amounts of Vitamin D and it also helps in absorption of the same.
Sea-food lovers will be happy to find that this food contains 139 IU of vitamin D in every 85 grams.
10) Soya Products
Tofu or soya milk contain good amount of vitamin D and offer from 581 IU to 338 IU of the vitamin D, in addition to vitamin A and calcium, and hence are good Vitamin D rich foods for pregnancy.
Babies or infants need 400 IU of vitamin D a day, older than 1 year need 600 IU and must be given from vitamin D rich foods for babies.