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10 ways to naturally boost Vitamin D intake during winter

Vitamin D is an essential element, thanks to its role in maintaining bone health, muscle contraction, nerve signalling, and immunity. However, a recent study from Kashmiri medicos warns us about the deficiency of Vitamin D in the general population of Kashmir, especially women.

Vitamin D is essential for our overall health. It plays a vital role in helping our bodies absorb and utilise calcium which is needed to maintain healthy bones. It also helps strengthen immunity, fight off viruses and battle lethargy and fatigue. This magic Vitamin has also been linked to good mood – with Vitamin D deficiency associated with a risk of depression and anxiety.

With the recent research conducted by Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), highlighting its deficiency in Kashmir, it’s time we revisit this fat-soluble vitamin yet again.

The study maintains that about 65% of the Kashmiri males and nearly 88% of the females studied were vitamin D deficient. Experts share that deficiency of Vitamin D is an epidemic in the valley making it a nutrient of immediate public health concern.

While that statistic is startling, don’t panic! There are proactive steps you can take to add to your daily routine to help you up your daily dose of Vitamin D.

Here are 10 ways to naturally enhance your Vitamin D intakes during winter, spring, summer or fall!

1. Sunshine:

The fastest way to increase Vitamin D levels in the body is by exposing the skin to natural sunlight. Vitamin D has long been considered “the sunshine vitamin,” for it naturally activates Vitamin D synthesis within the body.

The human skin has a natural layer of cholesterol which helps in procuring this vitamin. When this cholesterol comes in contact with UV radiations from the sun, it produces Vitamin D. This is why getting enough sunlight is very important for maintaining optima levels.

Most of the Vitamin D we get from April to September is from natural sunlight. Outside of these months, sunshine does not provide enough UV rays needed to make significant amounts of Vitamin D in the skin – even if it is a sunny day. Therefore, it is recommended that during the autumn and winter months, we should eat foods rich in Vitamin D or take a daily supplement.

2. Cow milk:

A glass of whole cow milk would be the perfect way to start the day! Health experts and nutritionists suggest that adding a glass of cow’s milk in our daily diet will give us 20% of the daily Vitamin D requirement. Cow milk is a great source of Vitamin D and calcium. Make sure you drink your milk full fat, as it has maximum Vitamin D content in it.

3. Cheese:

Now, who doesn’t love this delicious dairy product? Cheese is amongst the best foods rich in Vitamin D. It is valued for its high content of phosphorus, calcium, fat, protein and an array of vitamins. So, eat cheese raw if you like it, add it to your dishes, or try cheese spreads over any kind of bread.

4. Eggs:

Eggs, whether eaten as an omelette, scrambled or boiled, are another excellent source of Vitamin D. This is especially the case when the eggs come from free-range hens who have had access to sunlight and a good diet. The Vitamin D content in eggs is basically all in its yolk. The more sunlight the hen absorbs, the higher level of Vitamin D in the yolk.

5. Orange juice:

Yes, you heard that right! Orange juice comes first in the list of drinks rich in Vitamin D along with a range of other nutrients. The citric acid in orange juice increases the effectiveness and uptake of vitamins and minerals in the body, making it a rich source of the vitamin. Always opt for fresh homemade orange juice to avoid adulteration or artificial additives.

6. Dark chocolate:

If you are someone who loves indulging in dark chocolates, there’s some good news right up for you. Studies have revealed that cocoa is a major source of Vitamin D. Hence, food rich in cocoa like cocoa powder, dark chocolates, cocoa butter etc can effectively boost your Vitamin D intake.

7. Bananas:

When looking for fruits containing Vitamin D, banana is one of the best options out there. This is because bananas are a great source of magnesium, which activates Vitamin D in the body. Also, as per research, an essential amount of magnesium is necessary to get the optimal benefits of Vitamin D. So add them to your smoothies, oats or have them whole, this happy fruit will never disappoint you!

8. Mushrooms:

A Vitamin D-rich diet is incomplete without mushrooms. Mushrooms, especially the wild ones, are exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays while growing, which increases its Vitamin D value. A cup of diced mushrooms provides a hearty 64% of the daily value of Vitamin D while being extremely low in calories.

9. Oatmeal:

Like many other whole grains, oatmeal is also an excellent source of vitamin D. Besides, oats are brimming with essential minerals, vitamins, and complex carbs, which are required by our body to stay healthy and in shape.

10. Limit your caffeine intake:

Studies have shown that caffeine may interfere with Vitamin D receptors and inhibit its absorption in the body. Because of its effect on Vitamin D, caffeine can also negatively affect calcium levels in the body, since Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium.

Therefore, to increase the level of Vitamin D, avoid overconsumption of caffeine-heavy products like coffee, tea, and caffeinated soft drinks.


Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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