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How To Increase Vitamin D Levels With Vegetarian Food?
Our body needs various vitamins and nutrients to stay healthy and function properly. Each vitamin plays an important role in the body’s functioning. Deficiency of any vitamin may result in various diseases and disorders. Vitamin D has its role crafted out for the body. It has several benefits for our body. Let us understand some of the major benefits vitamin D has on our body.
Maintaining the right quantity of Calcium
Vitamin D works on our bones in a way that it makes them stronger. Whatever food you eat, your body processes it, and with the help of vitamin D, absorbs the amount of calcium required to make the bones strong. So, vitamin D helps in adjusting the calcium level in the body. With an optimum level of calcium in our body, the chances of any sort of bone damages become very less.
Maintaining good health
Vitamin D helps not only in making the bones strong but also in improving our immune system to a good level. Studies have revealed that it helps keep us healthy by preventing terminal diseases such as cancer and heart diseases and guarding us against diabetes and depression.
Vitamin D – the quantity that suffices
Vitamin D is important to us but how much of it is sufficient, is an important point to remember. As per various studies, it is suggested that for persons aged up to 70 years, a maximum of 600 International Units (600 IU) of vitamin D is sufficient. For kids it is close to 200, for middle-aged, it is close to 400 and for older folks; it is close to 600 IU. If you get this much amount of vitamin D daily, then you can rest assured about the vitamin D levels in your body.
Sources of Vitamin D
There can be multiple sources of vitamin D which includes both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices. Let us have a look into what are the different sources of vitamin D for the vegetarian folks.
The Sun has it all- The primary source of Vitamin D
If you are looking for some vitamin D, it is right there, in your balcony or terrace. Yes, you got it right, it is the sun waiting for you with all the vitamin D stored somewhere in its rays. Well, the truth is that sun rays do not contain vitamin D in them, but they do help you get that vitamin D. Sun’s ultraviolet rays cause a form of synthesis when in contact with your body and eventually results in the production of vitamin D in your body.
So, it is your skin that produces vitamin D and not the sun rays. Anyways, you get vitamin D when sitting out in the sun and that is important for you. You need to sit out in direct sunlight for around 5 to 30 minutes daily or at least in alternate days to fulfill your body’s vitamin D requirements. There may be cases when there is no sunlight available in some location or the weather is cloudy or you have applied sunscreen. In all these cases sun cannot be relied upon for vitamin D. In such cases we need to find other sources of vitamin D.
Mushrooms – a tasty source of vitamin D
If you have the likings in Mushroom and are also in search of vitamin D, you are going to have a tasty feast of vitamin D. Mushrooms by themselves do not have vitamin D but when exposed to ultraviolet rays, they become a good source of vitamin D. So, although mushrooms can be a good source of vitamin D, you cannot be sure that how much UV exposure the mushrooms that you are eating are. So, you should not entirely depend on mushrooms for your vitamin D needs. Normally, a cup full of sliced or diced mushrooms may contain around 600 to 700 IU of vitamin D.
When it’s not real – It is fortified
There are different other sources also available for vegetarians in the market, however, they may not naturally contain vitamin D in them. Such food items are processed to include the desired amount of vitamin D in them. These food items, which are artificially made good in vitamin D, are called fortified food items. These include vitamin D fortified milk, cheese, Soy milk, almond milk, ready to eat cereals and yogurt among others. All these items are fortified with vitamin D and are readily available in the nearby markets for personal use.
Apart from natural sources and processed food items, the other category of vitamin D sources is vitamin D supplements. These supplements are readily available in the market but should be considered only after getting a piece of advice from a health care professional. A health care professional will keep you updated on your body’s exact requirement of vitamin D and can suggest you the supplements accordingly.
Vitamin D deficiency
Although there are various sources available for vitamin D including the readily available sun rays, today’s lifestyle may lead us to a deficiency of vitamin D. This needs to be taken seriously since vitamin D deficiency causes several health issues. There may be a possibility that your body is not able to produce the required vitamin D even after good exposure to sun rays. In such cases, you are prone to vitamin D deficiency and should look for alternate means of fulfilling your vitamin D needs.
Vitamin D is an important ingredient for our body’s health needs. For those who have it in the right quantity, the bones are strong and they are less prone to bone diseases. Vitamin D helps in protecting us from other terminal diseases as well and helps us in leading a healthy life. Sun, fortified food and supplements are the different sources of vitamin D. We should keep track of our vitamin D levels through periodic lab tests and in case of deficiency should consult a doctor and should improve our vitamin D intake.