What might surprise you is that nearly half of Americans are Vitamin D deficient—which means we’re not getting enough of a nutrient that’s vital for nearly every part of our bodies.
If you’re feeling like you might not be getting enough of the good stuff—which supports strong bones and your immune, circulatory, digestive, and nervous systems—don’t despair. There are plenty of easy ways to pack more vitamin D into your daily routine. Read on to discover seriously easy ways to boost your vitamin D intake and reap all the healthy benefits.
image by Kristen Kilpatrick
image by Kristen Kilpatrick
Soak Up the Sun
This one is a bit of a no-brainer—Vitamin D is nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin” after all—but it’s likely that most of us aren’t getting our full recommended daily value (which ranges from 600-1,200 IU) from sun exposure alone, even if you spend plenty of time outside. The reason? Sunscreen.
This is truly the only time we’ll ever recommend going without sun protection while soaking up some rays, because unfortunately the same chemicals that protect our skin from becoming burned block the UV-B light that our bodies process as vitamin D. That said—studies show that spending as little as 15 minutes outside without sun protection should get most of us the vitamin D we need. Though if your skin is darker, you may need to spend a little bit more time sunbathing before slapping on some sunscreen to get the full effect.
image by ashleigh amoroso
If even thinking about spending 15 minutes in the sun without SPF makes you feel burned (welcome to the club, my friend!), then turning to other sources to get your daily dose of vitamin D may be a better idea. The good news is that plenty of healthy, easy to cook foods come complete with hefty doses of vitamin D.
In addition to packing in brain-boosting omega-3’s, fish (especially salmon), egg yolks, and mushrooms all are great sources of vitamin D. Incorporating a few meals with these ingredients—like salmon roll sushi bowls or wild mushrooms, sautéed kale, and eggs—into your weekly meal plan should give your body a serious boost. For those of us who are vegetarian or vegan, look for foods that are fortified with the vitamin. Grabbing a glass of fortified orange juice or a bowl of whole-grain cereal are great ways to incorporate the nutrient if you are skipping fish and dairy.
image by wynn myers
Take Your Vitamins
For many of us, adding a vitamin D supplement into our daily routines is likely going to be the easiest way to ensure you’re getting enough of the nutrient. The key here is choosing the right one for your body.
Typically, vitamin D supplements contain either D2, which is extracted from plants, or D3, which is extracted from animals, so be sure to check the label of whatever you are buying if you are vegan or vegetarian. While you’re there, you are also going to want to look for seals of quality and purity from third-parties like USP. Since the U.S. has pretty loose rules on regulating vitamins, seals like these ensure you’re getting something that won’t do your body more harm than good. Once you’ve found a few high-quality supplements, play around with which type makes you feel the best.
It’s also important to note that it is definitely a good idea to consult your doctor if you feel like you may not be getting enough vitamin D. This rings especially true if you are thinking about adding a vitamin D supplement into your daily routine, as your doctor can help you determine the correct dosage of vitamins to be taking.