Soak in ‘D’ rays
Vitamin D, like the rest is an essential vitamin, which possesses a unique quality of being fat-soluble and thus exists in the fatty tissue of our body. This vitamin is not only obtained from the consumption of certain foods that contain it, but is also produced by a hormone in one’s body when under the sun’s rays. It is therefore also called the ‘sunshine vitamin’. A study at Harvard states, “some people do not make enough vitamin D from the sun, among them, are people who have a darker skin tone, who are overweight and who are older. In addition to this, correctly applied sunscreen reduces our ability to absorb vitamin D by more than 90 percent.”
Carrying out functions such as absorption of calcium and phosphorous, it helps facilitate bone building making it absolutely essential especially for growing kids. A deficiency in this vitamin would lead to osteoporosis in adults or rickets in children. Osteoporosis is when bones loses density due to lack of minerals and are therefore prone to fractures. Even though its main function is to deliver minerals to bones, it also helps in the following spheres:
- The heart: Being a skeletal muscle, vitamin D is found as a receptor in the heart. People with low levels of the vitamin are more prone to heart attacks.
- Cancer: A lot of studies that have been undertaken (some that are still being undertaken) suggest that cancer help to lower the risk of cancer, especially colon cancer.
- The immune system: Vitamin D helps to boost our immune system against illnesses such as tuberculosis and even seasonal flu.
There are about 5 forms of Vitamin D out of which D2 and D3 are most important and are taken in the form of supplements. D2 (or ergosterol) are good absorbers of harmful UV rays and therefore serve as a sunscreen to help protect these rays. It is produced in invertebrates but not in vertebrates. D3 (or cholecalciferol) is generated in the body when UV light reacts with the skin.
Vitamin D is found in a bunch of everyday foods that we should all make a point to incorporate into our daily meals. Such as:
- Fish/Oysters/Caviar: Raw fish contains higher levels of Vitamin D than cooked. Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as fish liver oils are good examples of the same. While oysters too are a good source of vitamin D, they have cholesterol so should be eaten in moderation.
- Soy products: Soy products such as tofu and milk are usually fortified with vitamin D.
- Dairy products: Milk products are so rich in calcium that it’s but sensible to fortify it with vitaminD.
- Eggs: Along with other vitamins and nutrients, eggs are also rich in vitamin D.
- Mushrooms: Also rich with a good content of the vitamin.