Lack of vitamin D has become quite the issue among the Lebanese community nowadays and I'm hearing lots of concerns of what foods provide you with your daily needs of this vitamin especially that this vitamin is associated with good, strong bone health!
Vitamin D insufficiency can result in thin and brittle bones and thus increasing the risk of rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Together with calcium, vitamin D helps protect from osteoporosis, modulates neuro-muscular function and reduces inflammation.
So where can you provide yourself with enough vitamin D?
Sunlight helps your body to make vitamin D. But because of the skin cancer risk, there are no official "sunlight" recommendations up till now. Therefore, exposing yourself to small amounts of sunlight - 15-20 minutes - could be helpful. Keep in mind that the sun is less likely to provide your daily needs at higher latitudes, in winter, if you're older or dark skinned. So with this scorching sun during summer in Lebanon, it is important to use sunscreen when you're spending the day at the beach! Saying "I'm getting my daily dose of vitamin D" is not actually a wise decision to take!
Fatty fish such as salmon, trouts, mackarel, tuna, eel and canned tuna & sardines can provide with you with good amounts of vitamin D as well as heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
Fortified milk/yogurt can be fortified with vitamin D >> the key is to read your nutrition facts label. And a good note to keep in mind is that ice creams, labne and cheeses are never fortified with vitamin D! On the other hand, some soy/rice milks can be fortified so yea, keep reading those food labels!
Egg yolks- the yellow part of an egg- is what contains the vitamin D you want. Therefore having boiled eggs can be a part of healthy diet when eaten in moderation, but make sure to adjust your cholesterol intake during your day because the American Heart Association recommends that you consume no more than 300 mg of cholesterol per day, and just one egg contains 200 mg!
Vitamin D can also be found in fortified cereals, fortified orange juices and in beef liver. Though I personally don't recommend that you have your vitamin D from beef liver because it's super high in cholesterol - and no you don't need that much of cholesterol in your diet!
Supplements can provide you with your vitamin needs but it shouldn't be your first option, like most doctors in Lebanon advise you to go for! Supplements are surely needed if you have low levels of vitamin D and best thing about them is that you don't have to split your supplement doses. Just don't go buying supplements, consult your doctors ahead of time because vitamin D can be toxic in large amounts.