Did you know that 40% of the American population is vitamin D deficient? That staggering statistic comes from the National Institute of Health, which states that there are three main reasons why Americans are not getting enough of this nutrient. Americans do not get enough sunlight year round, we wear sun blocker, and are not eating enough foods high in vitamin D. Due to these factors, Americans are ripe for the deficiency. Adding fish as a regular part of your diet can be a great way to combat this vitamin deficiency.
What is Vitamin D & Why Do We Need It?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient your body requires primarily to build strong bones and for overall good health. Perhaps the most vital function of vitamin D is regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, and facilitating normal immune system function.
Often called the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D can be gained through a diet rich in said vitamin or when it is produced in the skin as a response to sunlight. Our body naturally produces the vitamin when we are exposed to sunlight. However, as Americans who live in the northeast and suffer through long months of gray winter weather, many of us are not getting the right amount of sunshine to produce this vitamin naturally in our body. That leaves us to get it through diet or supplements.
What Foods Have Ample Amounts of Vitamin D?
Since many New Englanders, and people living along the northeast corridor of our nation, are not getting enough sunshine to naturally produce vitamin D within our bodies, we are left to find foods and supplements that can provide this much needed nutrient.
Many foods, like cow’s milk. soy milk, orange juice, and certain cereals, are fortified with vitamin D. Other foods naturally have the nutrient. Here are a few of those. Surprise, surprise, some of the top choices are FISH!
- Salmon is a great source of vitamin D! According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Composition Database, one 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of farmed Atlantic salmon contains 526 IU of vitamin D, or 66% of the daily value.
- Herring & Sardines can have 27% of the daily value and can be eaten raw, canned, smoked, or pickled.
- Canned tuna packs up to 268 IU of vitamin D in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, which is 34% of the daily value.
- Egg yolks and whole eggs can be another great source of vitamin D. The level of nutrients in an egg really depends on the type of feed the chickens are receiving so check your packaging well if you are using eggs as a major source of vitamin D.
- Mushrooms are a good plant source of vitamin D and can be eaten in many different forms by adding to your salads, sautes, vegetable mixtures, and in your stir fry.
So, if you are looking for ways to add more of the much needed vitamin D to your diet, check out the options provided by fish meals. By adding two meals of fish weekly to your diet, you will not only be adding vitamin D that your body is not producing enough of but also many other nutrients like omega-3s, Vitamin B, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium.