How to Get More Vitamin D in your Diet
When following a plant powered diet, vitamin D should be on your radar. Vitamin D is found in animal sources including meat, fish and eggs and is essential for numerous vital functions in the body. Its most critical role is to help the body absorb calcium and utilize it in the formation of strong, sexy bones. Vitamin D also helps regulate the neuromuscular system and plays a crucial role in immune function. A lack of vitamin D can result in soft bones in children or deformed bones in adults, and deficiencies have been linked to cancer, heart disease, depression, chronic pain, diabetes and weight gain.
Being the insanely wise vehicles of love that they are, our bodies are capable of producing vitamin D on their own, but only when the skin is exposed to sunlight. This isn’t a problem for most of us in the summer time, but as these dark winter months approach, bringing in colder air and shorter days, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere are going to need all the help we can get! Here are a couple of our go-tos to ensure we're soaking up all the sun's power, all winter long:
Mushrooms: When mushrooms are exposed to UV light, their vitamin D levels are shown to increase far above the daily requirement for vitamin D. If you consume just 1/10th of a sun treated shitake mushroom, you will fill more than your daily requirement of vitamin D, without having to get too much sun exposure.
Spectrum or blue light therapy: This is a much more expensive way of getting your D dosage, but if sun exposure isn’t an option, this is the closest thing. While light therapy can help you with your vitamin D levels, it also exposes you to UVA and UVB radiation, meaning that you can burn just like you would from the sun. Use with caution!
Supplements: While we always advocate to focus on lifestyle and dietary nutrition sources first before turning to supplements, a vitamin D supplement is a worthy option if sunlight and/or mushrooms are not on your forte. It is important to keep in mind that there are two different types of Vitamin D supplements, and one is better than the other. Vitamin D2 is not efficiently stored in the body, and is much harder to utilize. Vitamin D3, the kind your body naturally produces, is metabolized 500% faster than Vitamin D2, and is more effectively utilized. So if you’re going the supplement route, make sure you choose Vitamin D3!