As we head into the colder months, we say goodbye to longer days, trips to the beach, and barbecuing outside. With this transition, we also say goodbye to sunshine and the high levels of vitamin D that our body produces in the summer. Adequate intake of vitamin D is crucial for the body’s regulation of calcium and phosphorous absorption and it helps maintain healthy bones and teeth. Some research also suggests that vitamin D strengthens the immune system and lowers our risk of diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, and cancer.
Despite the various health benefits, a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that nearly half of all adults and children have less than ideal levels of vitamin D. Furthermore, as many as 10 percent of children are highly deficient. So how can we boost our vitamin D intake? Luckily, there are a variety of foods that are naturally high in vitamin D. Incorporate these foods into your diet to keep your “sunshine vitamin” levels up all year long.
Thinkstock / HandmadePictures
Thinkstock / gresei
Surprisingly, most cheeses are low in vitamin D because they are not fortified. Ricotta stands out as the exception. Weighing in at 25 IUs per cup, it is the highest natural cheese source for vitamin D.