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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 May 25, 2019

20 Spaghetti Squash Recipes For Anyone Who Is Looking For Delicious, Healthy Comfort Food

20 Spaghetti Squash Recipes For Anyone Who Is Looking For Delicious, Healthy Comfort Food

Spaghetti squash is similar to cucumber. It has a shell which is difficult to pierce and this hard flesh surrounds a hollow cavity filled with seeds. When you cook this vegetable, the squash flesh falls away from the inner cavity and only the reminiscent of spaghetti remains. You can get surprised and delighted to see how this vegetable transforms with cooking.

It can act as a great substitute to pasta. It tastes as delicious as the traditional pasta and is equally satisfying but healthier. It is gluten free and contains many nutrients like vitamin A, potassium and folic acid.

This incredible vegetable can be boiled, baked or steamed. And, a lot of recipes can be prepared with spaghetti squash as the chief ingredient. I’m sure the following recipes will make your mouth water.

Breakfast

1. Spiced Coconut Squash Breakfast Porridge

1

    This unconventional porridge, prepared for breakfast, is a perfect dish to start your day. The ingredients include spaghetti squash, organic coconut milk, ginger, coconut flour, maple syrup, cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla extract. It has a comforting and creamy texture and is best served with fresh fruit topping. (Click here for recipe)

    2. Egg and Avocado Spaghetti Squash Boats

    2

      If you’re looking for a light, healthy, gluten free, vegetarian breakfast then avocado spaghetti squash boats is the best option. Besides chopping the squash, breaking the egg and slicing the avocado, this recipe doesn’t require much effort in its preparation. It tastes amazing with egg yolk and salsa and has a rich decadent texture. (Click here for recipe)

      3. Spaghetti Squash Frittata for One

      3

        This frittata, if prepared perfectly, can be an excellent choice for a healthy meal. It is a combination of lots of spaghetti squash, a few white eggs, some red pepper for color and texture, few onions and garlic for flavor, and some fresh herbs for brightness. This dish is usually served large in size and tastes great with tomato sauce and bean balls. (Click here for recipe)

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        4. Ingredient Spaghetti Squash Brunch

        4

          It’s a fast and easy breakfast that contains a poached egg and feta on a pre-roasted pile of spaghetti squash bed. The yolk from the egg floods through the scraps of squash underneath. It almost tastes like an Italian pasta and the light crumble of feta adds more calcium and protein. (Click here for recipe)

          5. Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns

          5

            A very healthy take on hash browns in which spaghetti squash is used in place of potatoes and coconut oil in place of butter. This reduces stress, inflammation and starch, making it healthier than traditional hash browns. It helps lose water weight as well which is helpful for weight loss. The final product is fluffy on the inside but crispy on the outside. It is best served alongside some dippy eggs. (Click here for recipe and image source)

            Lunch

            6. Spaghetti Squash Chow Mein

            6

              Spaghetti squash can not only replace Italian pasta but it can also replace the Chinese noodles. They are a delicious, satisfying dish, prepared by stirring and frying spaghetti squash with a rainbow of other vegetables along with a sweet smelling mixture of fish sauce, rice vinegar and soy. They are gluten free and grease free which makes them healthier. (Click here for recipe)

              7. Parmesan Zucchini and Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts

              7

                This dish is a marvelous combination of garlic, spaghetti squash, parmesan, toasted pine and zucchini nuts. It’s super healthy, gluten free, full of vegetables and delicious. Tossed with olive oil, this dish meets all the dietary needs and is perfect for light lunch. You can also add some chicken to increase protein.  (Click here for recipe)

                 8. Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms Parmesan

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                8

                  Though spaghetti squash provides low calories, you can add meaty mushroom and a good amount of parmesan cheese to increase the amount of calories. It’s a healthy, full of flavor, vegetarian dish, and has cheap and easy ingredients which you can find in market. The final product is yummy and satisfying and can make your lunch, perfect.  (Click here for recipe)

                   9. Spaghetti Squash with Vegan Fire-Roasted Tomato Cream Sauce

                  9

                    A pile of roasted squash is flavored with a sauce made from five ingredients. The vegan fire-roasted tomato cream sauce is made from the mixture of tomatoes, cashews, basil, salt and water. This spicy sauce makes it more delicious and some small amount of basil adds fresh green color and flavor. (Click here for recipe)

                     10. Thai Peanut Spaghetti Squash

                    10

                      Most of the dishes listed here are either Mexican or Italian. This recipe however will give you a fresh Asian feeling. To prepare this, all you need are spaghetti squash and peanut sauce, then by adding some ginger, lime and vinegar you’ll get one of the most delicious recipes. The texture of this dish reminds you of heavenly beaches in Thailand. (Click here for the recipe)

                      Dinner

                      11. Spaghetti Squash Comfort Bowl

                      11

                        This is the perfect kind of bowl that you want to have on a cold evening, sitting on a couch and watching TV. You’ll enjoy its lightly steamed veggies, allspice beans, and the strands of squash as well. It feels creamy but doesn’t seem too heavy. It’s a great dish with intense indulgence, with our best spaghetti squash, the warm beans, and the comforting steamed veggies. (Click here for the recipe)

                        12. Spaghetti Squash Crust Pizza

                        12

                          As you already know, spaghetti squash is a great substitute for pasta, but this dish here shows how these chewy shreds can make a great stand-in for pizza. You can add anything like meat or veggies to the base which is bound with egg whites and flour. The end product is a great gluten free dish. (Click here for the recipe)

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                          13. Spaghetti Squash Fried Rice

                          13

                            Spaghetti squash works as a good substitute to the cauliflower as the base of a fried rice. This recipe includes almost all of the usual ingredients of a fried rice. With green onions, eggs, peanut oil, and some garlic, this dish gives a unique texture that you can never find in your local restaurants. (Click here for the recipe)

                             14. Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

                            14

                              If you’re looking for something delicious for the winter evenings, you’ll get fond of these cheesy spaghetti squash boats. To lighten it up, it is filled with tomato sauce, cheese, chicken sausage, parmesan and ricotta. You can easily complete its arrangement ahead of time and bake it before dinner. (Click here for the recipe)

                              15. Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

                              15

                                This Mexican inspired dish has spaghetti squash as a serving bowl and inside it goes enchilada sauce, chicken, cheese, black beans and other veggies wrapped inside a corn tortilla blanket. You can also use spinach in place of the corn and black beans. Topped with sauce galore, this dish can be served as a family fun meal.  (Click here for the recipe)

                                Dessert

                                16. Sweet Spaghetti Squash Kugel with Apples and Raisins

                                16

                                  If you can afford spaghetti squash, coconut sugar, some eggs and few other ingredients, then this dish must be your cheapest choice. This noodle is a delight in all seasons. The addition of some apples and raisins results in its fruity freshness. (Click here for the recipe)

                                  17. Spaghetti Squash Coconut Custard Pie

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                                  17

                                    With the fine sweetness from vanilla extract and coconut, this dessert can be a great hit among guests. The spaghetti squash drowns in an egg batter to make it lighter than a cream pie. You can play and experiment with the ingredients and see surprising results.  (Click here for the recipe)

                                     18. Spaghetti Squash Cake With Cream Cheese Glaze

                                    18

                                      This desert will be a delicious treat to those who are a fan of carrot cake. Spaghetti squash is a vegetable with pleasant taste, lending fiber, potassium and vitamins. So, if you drape it in cream cheese frosting, you will end with this mouth- watering cake. This dessert has so many health benefits and is also great for a Thanksgiving dinner. (Click here for the recipe)

                                       19. Spaghetti Squash Kheer

                                      19

                                        Kheer is a rice pudding made by boiling rice with cow milk and sugar. But this type of kheer replaces boiling rice with noodles swapped out of spaghetti squash and cow milk with coconut milk. By pouring some ghee, you can add necessary richness in it. It is healthier than traditional kheer and can act as a great dessert for your evenings. (Click here for the recipe)

                                         20. Cinnamon Spice Spaghetti Squash Cake

                                        20

                                          By now, you must be surprised by the versatility of spaghetti squash. But your best surprise will probably come after you finish preparing this cake. This cake is a game changer. You’ll have the taste of lots of veggies like cinnamon, allspice maple syrup and ginger, all inside a single cake.  It’s a perfect treat for picky eaters. (Click here for the recipe)

                                          Featured photo credit: Spaghetti Squash with Fire Roasted Tomato, Olive and Baby Spinach Sauce via commons.wikimedia.org

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