Explore the Health Benefits of Vitamin D-Rich Foods for Vegetarian

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Updated on Feb 1, 2024

Do you know the importance of vitamin D in our body? Do you know that lack of vitamin D can make a person lethargic and exhausted all the time. People with deficiency of vitamin D are likely to experience muscle weakness and joint pains as well.  Sunlight is a good source of vitamin D.  In this post, we are talking about the top vitamin D rich foods for vegetarians. 

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What is Vitamin D?

As already discussed, Vitamin D is an important nutrient required by our body. Also known as sunshine vitamin, it is produced by our body naturally when we get exposed to sunlight.

However, since many people do not get enough sun exposure due to busy schedules and other reasons, they show a lack of this essential nutrient in their body in the form of pain and weariness etc. Thus, it is important to intake enough food rich in vitamin D to compensate for the lack of sun exposure.

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Are There Any Health Benefits of Vitamin D?

Yes, Vitamin D help calcium to absorb in our body and thus keeps our bones healthy. Further, this vitamin help the body with many other benefits like:

  • Keep bones and teeth healthy
  • Enhances immunity of the body
  • Support the health of lungs and heart
  • Controls diabetes by regulating insulin levels in the body
  • Help curb the growth of Cancer Cells

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How Do You Know if You Have Vitamin D Deficiency in Your Body?

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to many health issues, especially our bone health.  If you have vitamin D deficiency your body may show symptoms of diseases like Rickets, Muscle Weakness, Inflammation and Joint Pain, Low Bone Density, Low Immunity and Deformity of Bones etc. It can also show symptoms like Fatigue, Dizziness, Excessive Sweating, Digestive Issues and so on.

Let us now check the various vitamin d rich food items available for vegetarians that can be consumed to have a balanced vitamin D requirement in our body.

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Top 10 Healthy Vitamin D Rich Foods for Vegetarians

Below is a detailed list of the vitamin d foods vegetarians can consume:

1. Dairy Products

Dairy products of all kinds are rich in vitamin D. So, by consuming milk, butter, yogurt etc. you can fulfill the requirement of vitamin D in your body.

2. Alternative Milk

Alternative milk options like coconut milk, almond milk, rice, and soy milk are also vitamin D rich vegetarian foods and can be consumed by people who are allergic to dairy products or who don’t want to consume dairy items.

3. Cheese

Cheese is another vitamin D rich food option for vegetarians.  Cottage cheese is the best source of vitamin D along with other cheese options like Cheddar, Monterey, Fontina etc. A 50 gram serving of any cheese can give your body about 0.6 micrograms of vitamin D.

4. Soy Products

Don’t forget to count soy products like tofu or soy chunks. Though a new product in India, Tofu has been very popular in western countries for a long time. It is a rich source of vitamin D along with calcium and protein.

5. Fortified Cereals

Fortified cereals is another source of vitamin D that is available in the form of oatmeal, muesli etc. Have a combination of fortified cereals for breakfast and have enough vitamin D in your body.

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6. Mushrooms

There are some types of mushrooms that are rich in vitamin D if they are grown under the sun. Hence, they serve as a good source of vitamin D.

7. Fruits

Oranges and bananas also allow vegetarians to gain vitamin D in good quantities. Moreover, they are also rich in vitamin C and calcium.

8. Vegetables

Like fruits, there are certain vegetables that allow your body to gain vitamin D. Spinach is one such ideal vegetable that is a rich source of vitamin D, A, iron, as well as fiber.

9. Margarine

Margarine is another rich vitamin D food. Intake of a spoonful of margarine allows 0.5 micrograms of vitamin D into your body.

10. Sunshine

Last but not the least, sunshine is the most essential and freely available source of vitamin D. Anyone can easily refill their body with vitamin D by sitting under the early morning sun for 10 – 20 minutes. Morning sunshine is recommended as it is free of ultraviolet rays.

Read More: 6 Benefits of Healthy Eating & Regular Exercise

What about supplements for Vitamin D?

Vitamin D intake can also be enhanced by vegans with the intake of vitamin D supplements. However, you must keep in mind that not all supplements of vitamin D rich food for vegetarians are vegan-friendly. Hence, it is necessary to research for a good brand before planning to buy vitamin D supplements.

For better benefits, it is suggested to take the supplement of vitamin D with your meal. Further, you can include food/fruits that come with a good amount of fat. Some such food items include nuts, seeds, and fruits like avocados, which especially help with greater absorption of vitamin D.

Studies reveal that people who get high vitamin D rich food supplements or high vitamin D intake along with a high-fat meal are likely to have 32 % enhanced vitamin D in their bloodstream in 12 hours as compared to those who consume a meal without any fat intake.

Vitamin D Supplement Brands for Vegetarians

Below are some brands that serve as good sources of vitamin D supplements for vegan-friendly people.

  1. Country Life Vegan D3
  2. MRM Vegan Vitamin D3
  3. Doctor’s Best Vegan D3

How much vitamin D do you need? 

The quantity of vitamin D required by an individual on a per day basis depends on their age.  As per studies, 400 to 800 IU of Vitamin-D intake is enough for 97% of people on a daily basis.

Below is the recommendation of daily average vitamin D veg food or supplement intake as per age of people:

  • Newborn Babies of 0–12 months of age – 400 IU
  • Children of 1 to 13 years of age – 600 IU
  • Teenagers need 600 IU
  • Adults below 70 years of age require – 600 IU, whereas
  • Adults above the age of 70 need 800 IU

However, there is an upper limit of vitamin D intake in terms of diet for people above the age of 9, which is 4,000 IU per day. Intake of vitamin D supplement beyond that might cause symptoms, such as loss of appetite, weight loss, nausea, constipation, weakness, and vomiting etc. Excess of vitamin D can even enhance the calcium levels in an individuals’ blood, which in turn causes an irregularity in your heartbeat.

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To Sum Up

Vitamin D is an indispensable nutrient required by our body. It helps calcium to get properly absorbed and retain the phosphorus levels in the body as well.  Everyone including children should have adequate quantities of vitamin D by means of early morning sun exposure and proper intake of foods rich in vitamin D. Non-vegetarians have enough options of vitamin D rich food that they can consume.

However, vegetarians also have equally good options of vitamin d3 foods that can be used to level the intake of sunshine vitamin in their body. Deficiency of vitamin D can cause diseases like rickets and bone deformation among others. Children as well as adults can have various issues due to lack of vitamin D.

Thus, getting enough vitamin D is important from various sources like sunlight, non-vegetarian and vegetarian food items which are available in plenty.

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FAQs: Top 10 Vitamin D Rich Foods for Vegetarian

Which vegetarian food has highest amount of vitamin D?

Mushrooms provide a good amount of vitamin D. Some mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster and portobello are high in vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D in them depends on how they are grown.

Which fruit is highest in vitamin D?

Oranges are high in vitamin D because their juice is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. This is one of the greatest vitamin D sources for people who are lactose intolerant and cannot consume milk or dairy products.

How to get vitamin D intake without milk or dairy?

Whole plant food including leafy greens and colourful vegetables and fruits can be consumed for vitamin D rich foods in veg along with moderate amount of sunshine to get vitamin D without consuming dairy.

How can I increase my vitamin D levels quickly?

Below are vitamin d sources vegetarian:

# Spend some time under the sun
# Eat enough mushrooms
# Eat fortified food
# Take a supplement of Vitamin D
# Consume leafy green and fruits

Which dry fruit is rich in vitamin D?

Almonds and Anjeer are a rich source of Vitamin D.

What are the key signs of vitamin D deficiency?

Fatigue, sleep deprivation, bone ache, depression, loss of hair, weak muscle, loss of appetite etc.

What happens if vitamin D is low?

Vitamin D deficiency leads to weak bone density, which in turn contributes to osteoporosis or broken bones.

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Oct 13, 2022
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