Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a crucial role in bone health. Our body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium, the mineral that is integral to bone health. It also helps maintain adequate phosphate and serum magnesium concentrations in our body.
Vitamin D deficiency leads to various complications. Some of the symptoms of the deficiency in the body include muscle pain, fatigue, weak bones, and more. The deficiency could also cause stunted growth in children.
In this article, we list a few sources of vitamin D for people on a plant-based diet.
Needless to say, the sun is the best source of vitamin D. When exposed to the sun’s UVB rays, the skin produces vitamin D.
Some studies have suggested that exposing legs, arms, and face to the sunlight 5-30 minutes two times a week is enough to generate adequate vitamin D.
However, it is not an easy option for all. The geographical location and the climate may not be favorable all the time and that is when we should look for other sources of vitamin D.
Egg yolks contain vitamin D. However, the amount depends on the diet of the chicken and whether or not it can access outdoors.
Chickens that are allowed to walk around outdoor spaces get vitamin D from the sun and the eggs they lay will have three to four times more vitamin D than that of the eggs laid by chicken kept indoors.
Similarly, chickens that are given vitamin-D enriched feed lay eggs that have higher levels of vitamin D than chickens that are given ordinary feed.
Certain Varieties Of Mushrooms
Some varieties of mushrooms can make vitamin D when exposed to UV light. Such varieties of mushrooms can be identified and exposed to UV light artificially. Consuming them will supply adequate levels of vitamin D.
Note that the commercial mushrooms that are grown in the dark do not contain much vitamin D. Also, all wild mushrooms are not edible. Some can be poisonous and you have to avoid them at any cost.
If you know your diet is lacking vitamin D, the next best option is to get supplements. Vitamin D supplements come in two forms.
- Vitamin D2: The supplement is usually obtained from yeast or mushrooms exposed to UV light.
- Vitamin D3: Mostly derived from sheep wool or fish oil. Vegan D3 supplements are derived from lichen.
With vitamin D-rich foods in their diet, vegan dieters need not worry about developing vitamin D-deficiency.