Nitish was a young man who was feeling lethargic and fatigued over the past few weeks. This otherwise active gentleman of age 39 years was fond of playing football but now he experiences weakness in muscles and joint pain too. When he consulted a doctor, the doctor advised him to get some blood tests done. The test reports revealed he had a deficiency of vitamin D. Since, Nitish was a vegetarian, therefore his doctor advised him with plenty of Vitamin D foods vegetarians can take along with a vitamin D supplement powder sachet.
This example sheds some light on the importance of vitamin D, which many of us are unaware of. The lack of vitamin D can make an otherwise energetic individual feel exhausted and lethargic all the time in addition to experiencing other symptoms such as joint pain and muscle weakness. Getting enough sunlight is essential, but with the changing work and lifestyle trends post pandemic, people are spending more time indoors away from the sun. Fulfilling the daily FDA-suggested requirements of Vitamin D is extremely important. This can be a little difficult for vegetarians due to comparatively less food alternatives available to them than to non-vegetarians. Here, you will find some excellent examples of vitamin D rich foods for vegetarians.
But before that, Let’s first understand what vitamin D is, why is it essential for our body and then we will help you identify the best Vitamin D Sources Veg.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is produced naturally by the body when it is exposed to sunlight. However, for various reasons and due to a busy lifestyle, we hardly sit in the sunshine to help our body produce this essential vitamin on its own. So, it is necessary to fill in the daily value with foods rich in vitamin D.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is responsible for the proper absorption of calcium in our bodies to keep our bones healthy. Besides, there are various other health benefits of this sunshine vitamin. Let’s have a look at these benefits:
- Promotes Healthy Teeth and Bones
- Good for Overall Immunity of the Body and Nervous System
- Helps to Support Lungs and Cardiovascular Health
- Regulates Insulin Levels in Body and Controls Diabetes
- Prevents the Development of Cancer Cells
- Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms
What will happen if you don’t feed your body with an adequate amount of vitamin D? It will result in a deficiency disease. Since Vitamin D is essential for our bone health therefore the inadequate amount of this nutrient in our body is bad for bone health. Some other Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are:
- Depression and Anxiety
- Muscle Weakness
- Inflammation and Joint Pain
- Excessive Sweating
- Low Bone Density
- Deformity of Bones
- Low Immunity
- UTI or Urinary Tract Infection
- Hair Loss
- Digestive Issues
- PMS Issues in Women
- Erectile Dysfunction in Men
List of Vitamin D Rich Foods For Vegetarian
The first free-of-cost source of vitamin D that can be availed both by vegetarians and non-vegetarians is sunshine. Yes, rightly called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D can easily be refilled in your body by sitting for just about 10 to 20 minutes in sunlight, especially in the early morning hours when the sunlight you will absorb will almost be free of the ultraviolet rays.
2. Dairy Products
After sunshine, vegetarians can grab all kinds of dairy products to get an adequate amount of vitamin D in their bodies. Milk, yogurt, butter, and whatever is extracted out of milk is counted as a dairy product and is known to be a rich source of vitamin D.
The additional fat content in most dairy products can enhance the absorption of vitamin D by the body. Your gut usually has enough fat so that you can easily absorb vitamin D from foods without dietary fat.
3. Soy Products
Likewise, do count on soy products when searching for the best vitamin D foods vegetarian. Be it tofu or soy chunks, these are ultimate sources of vitamin D and are very easily available in the market. Tofu is a new product in the Indian market, but it has a prominent place in western countries due to its richness in calcium, protein, and vitamin D.
When counting different vitamin d rich foods vegetarian, feel free to choose cheese. Cheese, especially cottage cheese, is rich in sunshine vitamin. Apart from it Cheddar, Fontina, and Monterey cheese are also full of this vitamin. You can easily get about 0.6 micrograms of vitamin D with just 50 gram serving of any type of cheese.
5. Fortified Cereals
Another good option for those looking for vitamin D sources vegetarian is fortified cereals. You may easily add oatmeals and other fortified cereals to your breakfast to make it vitamin D-rich. The Internet is full of recipes that teach you to use such fortified cereals healthily to prepare breakfast and other meals.
Not many people know that certain types of mushrooms hold on to vitamin D content when grown in sunlight. Due to this reason, they form an excellent source of vitamin D for vegetarians. You can easily feed your body with about 28 micrograms of vitamin D with about 100 grams of mushrooms grown under ultra-violet rays.
You may also include fruits like oranges, and bananas in your diet to get a daily supply of vitamin D in a vegetarian way. You will be surprised to know that a glass of orange juice is packed with Vitamin C, D, and calcium as well.
Likewise, some vegetables like spinach are ideal for fulfilling your vitamin D quota of the day or daily value. Besides being rich in vitamin D, spinach is rich in vitamin A, iron, and fiber content too. Thus, making it a nutritious component of your diet.
Butter is not as rich in vitamin D, as margarine. These days, many margarine brands contain vitamin D content. Just a spoonful of margarine can feed your body with about 0.5 micrograms of vitamin D with ease.
Although margarine is not considered the best fat to include in your diet as it may raise the levels of bad cholesterol in your body, consuming it in small quantities to get some vitamin D is acceptable.
10. Alternative Milk
People allergic to lactose found in dairy products can choose alternative milk to get a daily supply of sunshine vitamins. Options are galore when it comes to choosing alternative milk like coconut milk, almond milk, rice, and soy milk. All these are rich sources of vitamin D.
The Bottom Line
Vitamin D is one of the most essential nutrients that our body requires for proper absorption of calcium and to maintain the right levels of phosphorus. People, especially growing children must be given an adequate amount of vitamin D through food and through sunlight to prevent the chances of rickets and deformation of bones. Whereas, adults may suffer from osteoporosis and other health disorders due to vitamin D deficiency. Getting vitamin D is indeed easier in a non-vegetarian diet, but mother earth has blessed us with plenty of vitamin d foods vegetarian too. You can easily incorporate most, if not all, vitamin D foods for vegetarians in your diet.
Vitamin D Foods for Vegetarians FAQs
How to increase vitamin D content for vegetarians?
One of the easiest ways to increase vitamin D levels in a vegetarian’s body is by soaking in the sun during early morning or evening hours when the UV rays are minimum. Exposing at least 25% of the body for about 8–10 minutes per day is adequate for your body to produce the recommended amount of vitamin D. Besides, you can consider increasing the amount of foods packed with vitamin D for vegetarians in your diet. Additionally, you can consult your doctor for some supplements if you are unable to get the recommended amount through your diet and lifestyle.
What vegetarian foods are high in vitamin D?
Food items such as milk, paneer, cheese, soy milk, soya beans, spinach, oranges, bananas, and mushrooms are all great examples of vitamin-D-rich foods for vegetarians. You can learn more about them in detail in the previous sections on this page.