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10 Foods Highest In Vitamin D That You Should Include In Your Diet

10 Foods Highest In Vitamin D That You Should Include In Your Diet

Vitamin D – aka “the sunshine vitamin -” is important to our overall health and feelings of wellness. Most people connect vitamin D and sunshine because research has taught us that it is naturally produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D-1, D-2, and D-3. It can affect as many as 2,000 genes in the body.[1]

Vitamin D has several important functions. Perhaps the most vital are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous, and facilitating normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is important for normal growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as improved resistance against certain diseases.

The National Institutes of Health,[2] along with Health and Human Services, has determined the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 IUs (15 mcg) for individuals between the ages of 13 and 70. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set the recommended amount at 400 IUs which is slightly lower than other recommendations but still much higher than most people consume daily.

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Vitamin D deficiency is a global epidemic.[3] An estimated 1 billion people do not have adequate vitamin D levels. And 64% of Americans do not get the sufficient amount of vitamin D to keep all of their tissues operating optimally.

Eating foods high in vitamin D is key in maintaining proper levels

Eating foods high in vitamin D is even more critical today than it was years ago. Our modern, indoor lifestyle limits the amount of vitamin D we receive. Even those who do spend lots of time outside still have insufficient levels of this important nutrient due to necessity of having to wear sunblock. Sunscreens do more than just block harmful UV rays it also limits the amount of vitamin that is absorbed by the skin. Because few foods have high amounts of this vitamin – and our limited exposure to the sun – it is critical to maintain a diet that is purposefully chock full of vitamin D rich foods.

10 Foods High in Vitamin D

1. Cod Liver Oil

This is the holy grail of vitamin D. One tablespoon contains 1,360 IUs,  which is more than twice the RDA. Cod liver oil is also a great anti-inflammatory agent and has properties that promote cardiovascular, hormonal, immune, reproductive and neurological health.

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2. Portabello Mushrooms

Portabello mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light contain about 375 IUs per serving.[4] When grilled, that number jumps to 493 IUs per serving. Mushrooms are a great substitute for meat and are an excellent complement to many dishes.[5]

3. Oily Fish

Fatty fish, like tuna, trout, mackerel, and salmon, are rich in vitamin D. This group’s vitamin D content ranges from 760 IUs down to 100 IUs per serving. The oily fish ranking the highest are swordfish, salmon, trout and then mackerel. Besides being a vitamin D-rich food, fish rich in omega 3 fatty acids provide a plethora of health benefits – both physical and mental – and are considered a “superfood” among many nutrition experts.[6]

4. Fish Roe (Caviar)

Besides being fortified with vitamin D (484 IUs per serving), caviar[7] is a source of vitamins and minerals, including omega 3,[8] which helps to promote a healthy nervous, circulatory and immune system. One serving of this expensive delicacy also has an adult’s daily requirement of vitamin B12.[9] Other nutrients included are vitamins A, E, B6, iron, magnesium and selenium.

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5. Orange Juice (fortified)

Orange fortified with vitamin D contains 137 IUs per eight ounce cup.[10] Fortified orange juice also comes packed with calcium and is an excellent source of vitamin C. And with OJ, a little goes a long way.

6. Fortified Breakfast Cereal

Instant oatmeal rates the highest in this category when it comes to vitamin D content. Most brands come in around 342 IUs per serving.[11] Traditional dry cereals are also great sources for packing in a large variety of vitamins and minerals in a single serving. When the cereal is combined with milk, the vitamin D content is further enhanced.

7. Dairy Products

Naturally, milk and other dairy products do not contain high amounts of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential in the process the body undergoes to absorb calcium. It is for this reason, foods that naturally contain calcium, have been fortified with vitamin D. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt and margarine all have vitamin D added to enhance the potency of calcium.

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8. Beef Liver

Beef liver is not only a pretty good source of vitamin D,[12] but since it is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid), and minerals such as copper and iron, it naturally transfers those vitamins to us when we consume it. Liver is an “organ meat,” and generally speaking, organ meats are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than corresponding muscle meats.

9. Eggs

Eggs are a convenient way to get vitamin D.[13] They’re popular in many breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes. Vitamin D is contained in the yolk of an egg. One large egg contains around 44 IUs of the sunshine vitamin.

10. Dairy Alternatives

For those who are lactose intolerant or have sensitivities to dairy, getting the daily dose of vitamin D may prove to be a bit tricky. Thankfully, dairy alternatives such as soy and almond milk, dairy-free cheese, yogurt and many others have been fortified with calcium and vitamin D.

Maximizing the vitamin D in your food

How we prepare and consume food vastly effects its nutritional benefits and can either heighten or completely nullify certain nutrients.[14] When it comes to preparing foods to preserve their vitamin D content, its important to keep a few things in mind:

  1. Vitamin D is a very stable nutrient in foods. It will not be significantly damaged by most low-heat cooking techniques.
  2. Foods cooked in oil will lose some of their vitamin D content. Eggs, for example, when fried lose about 20% of their vitamin D, compared to only a 10% loss during the poaching process.
  3. The best way to preserve any food’s vitamin D content, based on information from various studies, is to avoid cooking food at higher heats and lengthy baking times.

Vitamin D is vitally important for proper functioning of our bodies and aids in preserving our mental health. A conscious effort must be made daily to ensure your diet includes the appropriate amount of the sunshine vitamin.

Reference

[1] https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/
[2] https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
[3] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/vitamin-d-deficiency-united-states/
[4] http://www.mushroominfo.com/all-about-vitamin-d/
[5] http://allrecipes.com/recipes/15172/fruits-and-vegetables/mushrooms/
[6] http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/superfoods/Pages/is-oily-fish-a-superfood.aspx
[7] http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/fish-eggs-a-superior-vitamin-d-boost/
[8] )http://www.besthealthmag.ca/omega/
[9] http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-B12.aspx
[10] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-vitamin-d-idUSTRE64667K20100507
[11] http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-008102000000000000000-w.html?maxCount=165
[12] https://chriskresser.com/natures-most-potent-superfood/
[13] http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/10-foods-containing-vitamin-d/
[14] http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=110

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Last Updated on September 28, 2020

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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Con #2: Less Human Interaction

One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

Con #4: Unique Distractions

Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

Final Thoughts

Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

More About Working From Home

Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

Reference

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