By Sheela Prakash
Vitamin D is often referred to as the “happy vitamin” because it may have an affect on your overall mood. It’s got a myriad of other health benefits, though, including maintaining bone and teeth health, supporting the immune and nervous system, and assisting with heart and brain function. We produce this vitamin when we’re exposed to sunlight but because of more time spent indoors and the usage of sunscreen, many of us don’t get the recommended amount of vitamin D per day, which ranges from 600 to 1000 IU depending on the person. While there aren’t many foods that are rich sources, there are a few, all of which happen to be common in everyday diets.
Well specifically, egg yolks. Even more specifically, egg yolks from pasture-raised chickens. Chickens that have been raised indoors lay eggs with yolks that aren’t a rich source of vitamin D. Allow them ample opportunity to run around outside in the sun, however, and they yolks they produce can have three to four times the amount of vitamin D. Some chickens are also given feed that’s enriched with Vitamin D, which is another way to get your fill. So either choose eggs that are marketed as such or eggs that are pasture-raised.
Salmon is another rich source of vitamin D, but again it’s all about what you buy. You’ll get a good dose in both farm-raised and wild salmon, but while you’ll get about 250 IU in a serving of farmed salmon, you can get up to 4 times that amount in wild salmon depending on just how much sunlight the fish absorbed in its lifetime. Serving simple salmon fillets for dinner is an easy way to get your fill, but try slipping some smoked salmon into your scrambled eggs for breakfast or opening a can of salmon for an affordable lunch.
Mushrooms are actually the only plant-based source of vitamin D. It’s important that they’re wild mushrooms, however, because they need to be grown outside in ample sunlight in order to absorb a good amount of the vitamin. Commercially-grown mushrooms are usually grown in the dark, though some are grown under UV light to force vitamin D production. There’s just about endless opportunities when it comes to slipping mushrooms into your everyday diet. Enjoy them simply on toast for a savory breakfast, in a grain bowl for lunch, and tossed with pasta for dinner.