Foods with vitamin D: the most effective foods to supplement their intake

Vitamin D is essential for our body from many points of view:

  • it is closely related to the intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate, two minerals essential for the formation and health of bones and teeth
  • it affects the maintenance of correct muscle and cardiovascular function
  • contributes to the proper functioning of the immune system
  • it is able to attenuate depressive states, favoring the production of serotonin and dopamine
  • it acts positively on the skin - which is the main organ responsible for its assimilation, as we will see shortly - helping to combat pathologies such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.


This fat-soluble vitamin is present in the body in two forms: vitamin D2 - or ergocalciferol - which is contained in some foods of plant origin (such as mushrooms) and can therefore be absorbed through food, even if in very limited quantities. and vitamin D3 - or cholecalciferol - which is synthesized by the skin upon exposure to sunlight. And it is precisely the latter, rather than nutrition, the most important and effective source of intake of vitmain D: in fact, a provitamin, dehydrocholesterol, is present in the skin, which in contact with solar radiation is transformed into cholecalciferol.

A diet rich in foods with vitamin D can, however, help to slightly increase its levels, especially if consumed with a certain consistency. To ensure the right intake, it would be enough to stay in the sun 15-20 minutes every day, as long as you stay outdoors, without having applied creams with ultraviolet rays protection filters (UVA and UVB) to the skin and possibly leaving the face, arms and face uncovered. legs. As this is rather difficult, especially at certain times of the year but also due to the type of life we ​​lead today, the result is that there is a widespread deficiency of vitamin D in most of the population. In fact, it is estimated that in Italy 5 out of 10 people have an amount of vitamin D in their blood below the warning levels and that after the age of 65/70, over 8 out of 10 women are in a state of deficiency.

The daily requirement is estimated at around 400 - 600 IU (international units), but these figures rise significantly if we do not expose ourselves sufficiently to sunlight, reaching 1,000 IU per day. Although, as already anticipated, the intake through nutrition is not decisive (it would represent only 10-20% of our needs), eating foods rich in vitamin D with a certain regularity can be a concrete help. supplementation with drugs and supplements to be agreed with a specialist doctor, after verifying the value present with specific blood tests (it should not be less than 30 ng / ml). Remember that calcium is also very important in children, for their development and even in the growth phase, it is therefore essential to guarantee them the right amount of vitamin D from the earliest years of age.

Below we suggest a list of foods that contain it in discrete quantities, such as salmon which is also an effective antidote against the onset of cholesterol, along with these other foods.

See also

Vitamin A foods: which are the richest ones?

Vitamin B6: what is it for? All the benefits (even on the premenstrual phase)!

Vitamin B foods: the foods to be preferred to benefit

The list of foods richest in the "sunshine vitamin"

But where is vitamin D found? This substance, so precious for the health of the bones and the immune system, is more guaranteed by fish, mushrooms and eggs, foods rich in addition to many other properties and nutrients useful for the well-being of our body. But let's go into more detail with the list of products that contain a fair amount of the sun vitamin and that should be properly integrated into our daily diet:

Cod liver oil
It is undoubtedly the best source of vitamin D; since it is not really a delicate and pleasant taste, it is advisable not to drink it pure, but to add it as a dressing to a salad or a smoothie.

Mushrooms
They represent the only true vegetable source of vitamin D. Among the species indicated are Crimini, portobello, chanterelle, champignon and maitake (or grifola frondosa).

Fish
But what types? Green light to smoked salmon, tuna in oil, swordfish, mackerel, herring, sardines, eel and halibut; in general, opt for all fish from the Northern seas, which are also rich in omega-3 fats, essential for good functioning of the nervous system and the cardiovascular system.

Molluscs and crustaceans
Specifically oysters and gameri.

Liver meat
Beef species, also rich in iron, zinc, folic acid and vitamin A.

Milk and yogurt
In particular in the whole one, but also in goat milk. In this case, you can also choose the "fortified" versions, ie added with the vitamin.

Fat cheeses
Those produced with whole milk are considered fat; among these we include: brie, Camebert, caciocavallo, fontina, Gorgonzola, provolone, taleggio, robiola and stracchino or crescenza.

Egg
Especially the egg yolk, which is also rich in carotenoids, vitamins A, E and the B vitamins, including B12.

Fortified foods
Then there are fortified foods, just like with milk and yogurt. These include cereals and oat flakes, soy milk and orange juice. Having a daily breakfast based on milk or yogurt, cereals and juice is therefore a marvelous natural method.

Vitamin D in fruits and vegetables

Unfortunately, contrary to what one might think, fruits and vegetables do not contain large amounts of vitamin D; in particular it is the fruit that is practically devoid of it.

For vegetables, however, the situation is slightly more rosy: in fact, it can be found in minimal quantities in large and dark leafy vegetables, chicory, beets, broccoli and in black cabbage or kale.

The fact remains that these foods are still essential for the health of our body as they are foods rich in essential properties, including fiber and vitamins, and should therefore consider the basis of all diets.

Vitamin D deficiency: how to understand it and what to do

As already mentioned, to understand how much vitamin D we have, it is necessary to take a blood test that measures its level.

Its insufficient intake continued for a long period of time can give rise to different types of disorders; especially in children, it can lead to rickets and the development of fragility and bone malformations. For this it is necessary to keep it monitored even among children and enrich their diet with foods rich in calcium.

In women, as early as 40-45 years old, and then in both sexes after 55-60 years, a low quantity of viamina D can favor bone loss and the development of osteoporosis.

For pregnant women it is essential to keep the levels of vitamin D under control, together with those of folic acid and omega-3, as their deficiency can negatively affect the skeletal and nervous system development of the fetus and cause problems even in baby's first years of life.

In cases of significant deficiency, it is advisable to take drugs or supplements at a higher dosage always on medical advice, considering that the diet is not sufficient. As already mentioned, the best source is always exposure to the sun, so make sure to often stay outdoors, especially in summer.

For more information, you can consult the Niguarda hospital website

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