When you know the best sources of vitamin D, you can help protect your bones by making sure you're getting enough of this essential vitamin.
Vitamin D is essential for building and maintaining strong bones. It may also help protect against osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and certain cancers—but you, like many Americans, may not be getting enough of it. As we age, our bodies' ability to make vitamin D diminishes. That's why it's important to find the best sources of vitamin D so you can feel confident that you're getting enough of this essential vitamin.
The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IU for adults up to 70 years old and 800 IU for those over 70 years old. People with certain conditions or deficiencies may be advised to take more than the RDA. However, ingesting too much of this vitamin can be harmful, so you should always consult with your doctor or Rite Aid Pharmacist to determine the amount that's right for you.
Some people may opt to take a vitamin D supplement to help ensure that they're getting their RDA. However, while a supplement may be convenient, if you're eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet, it may be unnecessary. You can find healthy doses of this nutrient in the following vitamin D-rich food and beverages:
• Fortified milk, orange juice, cereals, and yogurt are great sources of this important vitamin because you can consume a good portion of your RDA in one serving. According to the National Institutes of Health, one cup of fortified skim, whole, or reduced-fat milk contains between 115 and 124 IUs, and a cup of fortified OJ has roughly 137 IUs. Check the nutrition facts label to make sure a product is vitamin D-fortified.
• Fatty fish, such as salmon (especially wild salmon), tuna, and mackerel, are loaded with vitamin D as well as heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
• If you can't find fresh fish, canned salmon, tuna, and sardines are convenient options that can boost your vitamin D intake and jazz up your lunch salad.
• While most mushrooms grow in dark places and aren't exposed to the UV rays necessary for the production of vitamin D, some grocery store brands are grown under ultraviolet light to stimulate vitamin D production. One cup of diced Dole's UV-exposed portobello mushrooms packs about 400 IUs, making them an ideal source of this essential vitamin for vegetarians.
• Cod liver oil provides 1,360 IUs in just one tablespoon. It's also packed with omega-3s and vitamin A and is associated with reduced arthritis symptoms.
• If cholesterol is not a concern for you, scramble a few whole eggs for breakfast. Take note: the vitamin D (roughly 40 IUs per egg) is in the yolk, so an egg-white omelet won't provide you with any.
• Vitamin D-fortified oatmeal is another great breakfast option that contains about 150 IUs per packet and can be especially comforting on a chilly morning.
By Joelle Klein
Mayo Clinic, Vitamin D
Harvard School of Public Health, Low Vitamin D: What Increases the Risk?
Vitamin D Council, How Do I Get the Vitamin D My Body Needs?
Medical News Today, Cod Liver Oil: Health Benefits, Facts and Research
National Institutes of Health, Vitamin D Fact Sheet
Prevention, 17 Surprising Ways to Get More Vitamin D
Everyday Health, 8 Ways to Get More Vitamin D in Your Diet
Live Science, 9 Good Sources of Disease-Fighter Vitamin D
New York Times, Vitamin D Tied to Alzheimer's Risk
These articles are not a substitute for medical advice, and are not intended to treat or cure any disease. Advances in medicine may cause this information to become outdated, invalid, or subject to debate. Professional opinions and interpretations of scientific literature may vary. Consult your healthcare professional before making changes to your diet, exercise, or medication regime.