Hello everyone! This blog will look at the importance of Vitamin D in our diets. It will also help you to make sure you get enough of this vital vitamin by showing you where you can get it including some common food stuffs which contain sources for vitamin D. You may also want to see Dr Vegan for a great range in vitamins (including multi-vitamins which can be taken daily). These are all suitable for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. I am an associate affiliate which means I earn a small commission on items purchased through this site. The price you pay is still the same!
Why do we need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. Calcium and phosphate are important for healthy bones, teeth and muscles. The inclusion of Vitamin D in a healthy diet contributes to a boost in our immune systems.
Where does Vitamin D come from?
The best place to get Vitamin D is from direct sunshine. It is produced naturally by the body when your skin is exposed to direct sunlight.
Having said that, you will only be able to utilise the suns natural powers, in producing vitamin D, from late March or early April right up until the end of September. During this time frame, most of us should be able to get all the vitamin D we need from the suns direct contact on our bare skin.
You should try to get out in the sun daily and for short periods of time. The sun needs to have direct contact with your skins. This means you should go out with bare forearms, hands or leave your lower legs uncovered (and without adding sunscreen) where possible. Try to get out in the sunshine during the peak period of 11.00am to 3.00pm.
Ultra Violet Light:
The Sun gives off ultra violet B (UVB) rays and these rays are the ones your body needs in order to produce Vitamin D. These rays cannot penetrate through glass – so sitting by a window on a sunny day will not help your bodies ability to produce Vitamin D – direct sunlight on your bare skin is needed.
How do you avoid skin damage?
Please take care not to burn! If you are going to be in the sun for long periods of time you must cover up and use a sunscreen.
There are many factors which come into play which make it hard to say how long you should be in direct sunlight. For instance, those of us from African, African-Caribbean or South Asian origin will have to spend a little longer in the sun in order to produce the same amount of Vitamin D when compared to those with lighter skin tones.
How can you get Vitamin D in Winter?
In the UK, the sunlight does not contain enough UVB radiation for most people to produce Vitamin D naturally.
This blog as already identified the peak times when you can (and should!) seek the benefits from the sun. However, during winter we clearly need to source Vitamin D from other places.
The easy answer is that a clearly planned diet will help your body get all the Vitamin D you need. The next bit of this blog will identify some common sources of Vitamin D.
On a vegetarian or vegan diet you may already know that some food stuffs have been fortified with Vitamin D. These include the following:
Fortified alternative dairy products such as soy milk and alternative dairy spreads. Other sources include:
- Cereals (breakfast cereals)
- Egg Yolk
- Fortified Tofu
- Fortified Orange Juice
In some circumstances, it may be necessary to consider using Vitamin D supplements. This may be the case for those who cannot get enough natural sunlight during the peak tines, this group can include babies, children under 5 years old. This group may also include those who are housebound, frail or in care homes.
Everyone (or the majority of people aged over 5 years of age) should consider a supplement which provides 10 micro grams of Vitamin D. I tend to use supplements during the winter months or if I have been poorly during the Suns peak times. This is because, when I am sick or run down, my diet is less likely to provide my body with what it needs. You will know yourself best. If you are poorly and unable to leave the house but can eat food sources which contain Vitamin D then you are less likely to need a supplement.
A word of warning – it is possible to have too much vitamin D when using supplements so it is important to speak to your Doctor or Health Care worker before taking any supplements. Also, note – there is no risk that your body will make too much vitamin D from direct sun light – but do remember to cover up or use sunscreen if you are out in the sun for a long time.
Hopefully, this blog will have made you more aware of the health benefits of direct sunlight. Vitamin D is commonly known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ for this reason. You will also now be aware of foodstuffs which contain Vitamin D so that your body gets enough of this vitamin all year around.
Do also check out Dr Vegan for a great range of vegetarian and vegan vitamins. I am an associate affiliate, that means I earn a small commission on products purchased through my site. The price you pay remains the same!
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