You can’t get through the winter months without these eats.
One of the major downsides of the cold winter months is our lack of sunlight exposure. The days are shorter and grayer, meaning the natural energy source that allows our bodies to create the vitamin D it needs isn’t as available. So instead, we have to turn to our diets to make sure we score enough of this vital nutrient.
Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, which keeps your bones strong and healthy. It also helps your immune systems protect you from infections and illnesses, and it can aid proper muscle function as well. To ensure that you’re giving your body all of these important benefits, incorporate the following foods into your weekly diet (especially when your sun exposure is lacking).
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, and certain types of fish are loaded with it alongside omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is the best pick here, especially wild-caught salmon. A single serving contains 165 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin D. Farm-raised salmon is also a solid choice, providing your body with 42 percent of your recommended daily value of the vitamin. And if fresh fish just isn’t on the table, reach for affordable canned tuna instead. A serving of the fishiest fish can meet about half of your vitamin D needs for the day, and if you opt for a light variety, you’ll keep your methylmercury exposure to a minimum, too.
Shrimp is one of the few creatures of the sea that contains plenty of protein and vitamins while keeping fat to a minimum, making it a friendly choice for anyone closely watching their diet. Plus, from a chilled shrimp cocktail to tasty grilled kabobs, there are countless ways to enjoy this style of shellfish and snag 25 percent of your vitamin D for the day.
Eggs are a great vegetarian source of vitamin D — especially the egg yolks. But the amount of vitamin D they contain does depend on how the hens were fed and raised prior to laying their eggs. Pasture-raised chickens that wander around in the sunlight produce eggs with up to four times the amount of vitamin D that conventionally raised chickens do. What’s more, chickens that eat a vitamin D-rich diet can make egg yolks that provide you with 10 times your daily need of vitamin D. So read those labels on your egg cartons at the grocery store!
Vitamin D-Fortified Foods
Since every other food on this list isn’t fitting for a vegan or plant-based diet, it’s important to know which products on supermarket shelves can give you a boost of vitamin D without other unwanted ingredients that typically come along with processed foods. A cup of fortified soy milk can give you 20 percent of your daily vitamin D needs, a cup of fortified orange juice can provide 25 percent of your daily requirement, and a half-cup serving of fortified cereals and oats contain 25 percent of your vitamin D for the day as well. Just be mindful of those labels so you’re not consuming a bunch of added sugar and preservatives unintentionally.