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April 10, 2020

Vitamin D Booster: How to Shine Bright during self-isolation

Rianne Britten


Generally speaking, it’s easy to get our daily dose of vitamins without even trying. However sometimes because of unforeseeable circumstances or lifestyle changes, this is unfortunately not the case. It is times like these where we have to make sure we’re getting all the nutrients we need through our diets. Vitamin D is one we should be particularly aware of. This article will teach you how to incorporate Vitamin D into your diet if you can’t get outside during self-isolation.

Vitamin D is produced in our body when our skin is exposed to sunlight, hence why it’s sometimes called the sunshine vitamin. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D varies but, the official NHS website suggests that adults should get 10μg of vitamin D a day. However, if we can’t get outside as much as usual (for example, during a lockdown caused by a global pandemic!) our bodies won’t be able to produce normal levels of the vitamin. This could cause tiredness, headaches, muscle pain and can even cause Rickets. Trust me, having been severely vitamin D deficient myself, I can tell you that it’s worth putting in the effort to keep those levels up! With recent surveys showing 1 in 5 people in the UK are already deficient in the sunshine vitamin, it’s vital that we’re aware of how much vitamin D we’re getting.  One way to do this is through getting supplements from your local pharmacy. Usually, this may seem like the most natural solution. However, as pharmacies are one of the most strained places in the country right now, using your diet to support your vitamin D intake is crucial! In this article, I’m going to suggest 4 foods that are rich in vitamin D and can help to replace or subsidise your daily dose of sunshine.

  1.   Oily fish. (19µg per tin of salmon) (1.5µg per tin of tuna) 

Fish like tuna or salmon are rich in vitamin D. Tinned tuna and salmon are perfect right now because unlike fresh fish, it will last in your cupboard for months! Try using it in a sandwich, a pasta dish or a spring salad. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to the shop every single day. Just stock up on some tuna tins to snack on throughout this lockdown, and you’ll be sorted for a lovely lunch as well as getting loads of that vital vitamin D.

    1.   Cereal.  (1.4µg per serving)

    Interestingly, other countries with similar climates to the UK fortify lots of their food with Vitamin D to avoid people becoming deficient in the winter months. Although the UK hasn’t followed to the same extent just yet, some cereals have been fortified with the vitamin, for example, Kellogg’s Special K and Nestle’s multigrain Cheerio’s. It’s something that’s becoming more popular, and if they have been fortified with vitamins then it will be clearly labelled on the box so next time you’re browsing for cereal, keep your eyes peeled!

    1.   Mushrooms (1.5μg- 5μg per 100g)

    Mushrooms that have been exposed to UV light are another excellent option right now because although we seem to have already used every roll of toilet paper and consumed every pack of beef mince in the country, on the whole, fruit and veg have seemed to remain fairly well stocked. As well as being suitable for vegans and vegetarians (obviously), they’re great because you don’t have to go out of your way to incorporate them into your meal. Generally, any time you’re frying up some veg, you can throw in a few mushrooms, and you’re good to go. So next time you’re doing your food shop, think about grabbing a few packs of mushrooms.

    1.   Eggs. (2.9μg per 2 eggs)    

    Although these may be slightly harder to find right now, they are one of the best foods for naturally occurring vitamin D, so they’re definitely worth the hunt! They’re also super versatile. Aside from the usual breakfast or brunch recipes, they can be used in lots of dinners too. Try making a spaghetti carbonara or even throw one in a stir-fry. Oh, and while the egg white contains the protein, it’s actually the yolk that contains all the vitamins so unfortunately, meringues don’t count this time!

    Remember that although this is especially relevant right now, many people in the UK are already vitamin D deficient and don’t even know it. Although it can be challenging to find Vitamin D in food because we’re usually so reliant on the sun, now that you know where to look, there’s no excuse for not giving your body the nourishment it needs!

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