Abigail Joy Dougherty: Registered Dietitian, Nutrition Expert & Lover of Life
2015, Eggs, Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Immunity, Mindful Eating, Nutrition, Nutrition Tips, Registered Dietitian, Salmon, Superfoods

Vitamin D Boosters

Vitamin D Boosters!

Sun Set(Photo taken during Kelly’s (fabulous intern) Engagement Photo Shoot with Lauren Pauline!)

Spring has officially sprung! And with warmer weather comes the brighter SUN (especially if you live in Florida)! While this is great news for beach-goers, it is even better news for individuals who are looking to boost their Vitamin D levels the natural way! Exposure to sunlight stimulates the body’s natural production of Vitamin D, which is an essential compound the body needs to regulate calcium and phosphorus in the body for bone health and plays a role in nerve, muscle, and immune function. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin D is 600 IU (15 mcg) for those who are 1-70 years old and 800 IU (20 mcg) for those over 70 years old. While the majority of Americans have adequate levels of Vitamin D, the CDC reported that 8% of Americans have a Vitamin D deficiency and a quarter of Americans were “at risk” for Vitamin D inadequacy. Why is this important to you? Vitamin D deficiency is linked to several chronic diseases  and adequate intake is essential for optimal health and well-being.

While spending time out in the sun without sunblock is an excellent way to boost your Vitamin D levels and increase bone health and immunity, it comes with the increased risk of skin cancer! However, a small amount of unprotected sun exposure is beneficial and “about 20 to 25 minutes of exposure is helpful,” says Stephen Honig, MD, director of the Osteoporosis Center at the Hospital for Joint Diseases, in New York City. Like I said, this is great news for those of us who live in Florida and other areas closer to the equator, but what about those who live at higher latitudes further away from the equator or during the winter when the sun is less “stimulating?” I have MORE good news! You can boost your vitamin D levels naturally by consuming foods that are naturally high in Vitamin D!

Here are the top 5 Vitamin D foods:

1) Salmon

A 3-ounce serving of salmon contains about 450 international units (IUs) of vitamin D! That’s 75% of the RDA for Vitamin D in one serving! And as an extra bonus, salmon provides heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids so you get twice the band for your buck! Try this delicious Salmon Salad recipe from Health.com packed with Vitamin D and omega-3s!

salmon-salad(Photo compliments of Health.com)

2) Canned Tuna

Fresh fish aren’t the only way to boost your vitamin D intake; you can get vitamin D from a can, too. Canned light tuna has the most vitamin D—about 150 IUs per 4 ounces—while canned albacore tuna has about 50 IUs per 4 ounces. Try this simple and lighter version of the traditional tuna salad from The Foodie RD. You can eat the tuna salad in a whole wheat wrap or pita for lunch or as a snack with celery sticks or whole grain crackers!

Tuna Salad(Photo compliments of thefoodierd.blogspot.com)

3) Sardines

Similar to salmon and tuna, sardines are a fish full of Vitamin D (canned sardines have a little more than 40 IUs per two sardines) but they may not be as popular for many consumers – myself included! Sardines are packed with essential nutrients, however, and contain an abundant amount of heart-healthy omega-3s, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin D for cardiovascular and bone health. If you like sardines (or are brave enough to try) check out this awesome Smoky Artichoke Sardine Salad recipe from eatingwell.com and get the health benefits from this power-packed fish!

Sardines(Photo compliments of eatingwell.com)

4) Eggs

Yes, that’s right – along with several other essential nutrients found in eggs, this “superfood” also contains an abundant amount of Vitamin D. The Vitamin D is found in the yolk only, so it is important to consume the yolk and not just the egg whites. One yolk contains 40 IU of Vitamin D and can be easily incorporated into any meal or snack throughout the day. You can make a vegetable omelet with one egg + 2 egg whites, hard-boil an egg as a healthy snack or chopped up on a salad for lunch or dinner. For tips on how to boil the perfect eggs every time, check out this article from finecooking.com.

hard boiled eggs(Photo compliments of finecooking.com)

5) Mushrooms

Mushrooms are like humans, well at least when it comes to Vitamin D synthesis when exposed to sunlight! While most mushrooms are typically grown in the dark, certain brands are grown in UV light to spur Vitamin D production. Dole’s portobello mushrooms, for example, provide a whopping 400 IU’s per 3 oz serving (about 1 cup of mushrooms). So head to your local grocery store and pick up a pack of Dole’s portobello mushrooms and use them in this delicious stir-fry recipe from HolyCowVegan.net. Pair as a side dish with salmon or chicken breast or place it over a bed of brown rice as a meatless entree that is packed with antioxidants and Vitamin D!

mushroom recipe(Photo compliments of holycowvegan.net)

Now doesn’t that look delicious! So go ahead and eat your Vitamin D – packed meal outside in the sun to soak up the bone-strengthening and immunity-boosting effects of Vitamin D the natural way 🙂

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