In Pakistan, as well as the majority of other South Asian countries, vitamin D deficiency is prevalent. In a country that gets so much sunshine, the fact that 3 out of 4 people struggle with this deficiency is shocking.
What are the signs of the deficiency?
Some symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include being prone to sickness and infections often, unexplained fatigue, hair loss, and depression. Low levels of vitamin D in your body may be indicated by weak and sore muscles, porous bones, and easy fracturing.
Other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, dementia and psoriasis. You can also gain weight because of low levels of vitamin D in your body.
Here’s why it’s important to get proper amounts of Vitamin D
Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium and it helps promote healthy bone mineralization, which can prevent osteoporosis. The sunshine vitamin also boosts the immune system and helps fight depression. Research suggests vitamin D may provide protection from hypertension, psoriasis, several autoimmune diseases, and reduce chances of fractured bones. Studies suggest that it has an important role in defending against cancer and reducing cancer cell growth.
Here’s how you can get Vitamin D, naturally
Vitamin D is unique because it can be obtained through sun exposure and food. The body makes vitamin D when your skin is directly exposed to the sun. Skin exposed to sunlight indoors through a window will not produce vitamin D. Cloudy days and having dark-colored skin also cut down on the amount of vitamin D the skin makes.
Egg yolks are packed with vitamins D, E, and K and numerous minerals. Eating six free-range eggs a week (if you don’t struggle with high cholesterol) is a healthy way to boost vitamin D.
Orange juice is considered one of the healthiest beverages due to its amazing health benefits. A small glass of orange juice provides 100 IU of vitamin D, however, make sure you are opting for natural orange juice without preservatives.
Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel
Fatty fish not only contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids – but are great sources of vitamin D. Salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna, and eel are great options for fresh fish. Canned tuna is also a great way to boost your vitamin D, and is less expensive than buying fresh fish.
Mushrooms are the only vegetarian food that can make vitamin D. They are known for their properties to reduce inflammation and protect the body against harmful viruses. Mushrooms exposed to the sun or UV light can provide as much vitamin D as a health supplement.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means the small amount provided by whole milk is lost when milk fat is removed. Milk is often fortified with vitamin D to help promote calcium absorption. Soy milk and almond milk also have good amounts of vitamin D.
Grains and Cereals
Cereals and grains are a good source of fiber, omega-3, vitamins, and minerals. Vitamin D is added to many kinds of breakfast cereal and bread. Barley and oatmeal are usually fortified with healthy amounts of vitamin D.
Who doesn’t love cheese? Cheese is a great source of calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Ricotta cheese provides the maximum amount of vitamin D amongst others.
Cod Liver Oil
If you don’t like fish, taking cod liver oil can be a good way to obtain certain nutrients that are hard to get from other sources. You can take it in capsules, flavored liquids, or straight (if you’re brave). Cod liver oil is a good source of vitamin D – according to studies, it gives you 1,360 IU per tablespoon.
Vitamin D supplements may be necessary for people who are older, those living in northern latitudes, or are dark-skinned people who need extra time in the sun. Vitamin D is found in supplements in two different forms: D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Both increase vitamin D in the blood. The recommended intake is as follows:
Get your vitamin D levels checked ASAP!
cover image via: woopse.com