Most people wrongly assume that the greatest sources of Vitamin D can be found only in milk and other dairy products. That is great if you happen to enjoy the taste of milk, but what if you are one of the many who do not particularly care for the taste of milk, or worse, you are among the millions who suffer from lactose intolerance? Well, the good news is that if milk makes you gag, or causes you stomach upset, there are other ways to ensure you are meeting your daily Vitamin D requirements.
Exposure to sunlight causes the body to produce Vitamin D. This statement seems almost like an oxymoron, especially in light of the fact that exposure to sunlight may also increase a person’s risk of developing skin cancer. According to Dr. Stephen Honig, director of the Osteoporosis Center at the Hospital for Joint Diseases in New York 20-25 minutes without sunscreen is adequate, and does not put a person at risk for sunburn. However, if you are depending solely on sun exposure to meet your daily Vitamin D intake requirements, you may have a problem meeting that need if you live in a higher latitude, if it is during the winter months, if you are an older person, or if you have a dark complexion.
Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and trout are good sources of Vitamin D. For instance, three ounces of salmon may contain up to 450 IUs (international unit) of Vitamin D. When you consider that the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D is 600 IUs (800 if you are over the age of 70), then you have almost met your daily goal. Plus, you get the added bonus of Omega-3 fatty acid which is essential to heart health. If you live in an area that does not have access to fresh fish, do not fret: Canned fish such as tuna and sardines can also help bolster your intake of Vitamin D. And since canned fish has a longer shelf life than fresh fish, you can pop open a can of tuna and make a sandwich, sprinkle over salad, or add to a casserole.
Mushrooms, like humans, are able to produce Vitamin D when they are exposed to UV rays. Most mushrooms, however, are grown in dark places and therefore do not contain this essential vitamin. There are specific brands such as Dole Portobello Mushrooms that are rich in Vitamin D. This particular brand of mushroom will provide you with 400 IUs of Vitamin D per three-ounce serving.
Most brands of cow’s milk come fortified with Vitamin D; however, the same cannot be said about cheese and ice cream. Generally, eight ounces of milk contain approximately 100 IUs of Vitamin D. A six-ounce serving of yogurt contains approximately 80 IUs, but this number will vary depending on how much milk has been added. Certain types of rice and soy milk come fortified with approximately the same IUs as cow’s milk, but be sure to check labels as that is not always the case.
If you are not a fan of milk, you can get approximately 100 IUs of Vitamin D from one glass of fortified orange juice. However, not all brands of orange juice are fortified. Florida Natural Orange Juice and Minute Maid Kids Plus Orange Juice are two brands that contain at least 100 IUs of Vitamin D per eight ounce serving.
Eggs are great source of Vitamin D. They are convenient, delicious, and can be prepare in a number of ways. Keep in mind that the Vitamin D is found in the yolk; therefore, it is important to use the entire egg in your omelets or desserts. There are approximately 40 IUs in each egg yolk; however, one egg also contains approximately 200 milligrams of cholesterol (the American Heart Association has recommended cholesterol consumption not to exceed 300 milligrams daily).
While most people do not care for organ meat, a three-ounce piece of beef liver contains approximately 50 IUs of Vitamin D and is also high in other essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin A, protein and iron. Since most people tend to be turned off by liver, you may just want to stick with fish.