Vitamin D is often called the Sun vitamin, but it is actually not a vitamin at all. It is more like a hormone that the body produces itself. Today, we take a look at Vitamin D foods for vegetarians.
The sun is crucial for our vitamin D production. Due to the action of UV light on the skin, vitamin D3 is formed in the skin cells and then further developed in the liver and kidney into the active substance calcitriol.
The result of Vitamin D deficiency is clear amongst the Indian population. More than 70% of Indians are not adequately supplied with vitamin D. This is due to the fact that our modern lifestyle forbids us from going out in the sun enough.
Also, 82% of pregnant women suffer from Deficiency of Vitamin D which also causes the same deficiency in newborns.
Along with that 82% of Vitamin D deficient individuals are obese which further stresses upon the inverse proportionality between obesity and Vitamin D.
Why Is Vitamin D Important?
Vitamin D is a signal generator in many tissues in the body and is necessary for numerous processes so that they run properly. Experts estimate that approximately 3,000 of all human genes (23,000 in number) depend on vitamin D, which further stresses why Vitamin D is important for humans. This inconspicuous hormone affects every tissue in the human body and is essential for health.
The widespread lack of vitamin D in population is an explanation of why autoimmune diseases and other chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are increasing so rapidly.
The connection of the human body to vitamin D and why Vitamin D is important.
Vitamin D has numerous effects on the human body. Vitamin D is both a hormone and a vitamin and an important clock in the human body. Every tissue needs it, and yet the effects of vitamin D are very versatile. Here is why Vitamin D is important.
- Preventive effect against cancer.
- Stimulation of calcium absorption in the intestine and thus lowering the calcium requirements in food.
- Regulation of bone density and prevention against osteoporosis.
- Preventive measures against many cardiovascular diseases.
- Control of bacterial and viral infections.
- Vitamin D is essential for the proper regulation of the immune system. Many cells in the immune system need vitamin D to become active.
- These include the anti-inflammatory M2 macrophage and the important regulatory T cells, which counteract autoimmune diseases. Vitamin D3 also regulates the maintenance of the balance of specific immune cells.
- Vitamin D is a growth factor for skin and intestinal cells. Vitamin D ensures beautiful and smooth skin, as well as a functional and healthy intestine.
These are the main functions of vitamin D3 in the body. There are extremely fundamental processes for which vitamin D is required, like in bones, metabolism, intestinal health, immune system and several others.
Vitamin D Foods For Vegetarians
To get enough vitamin D as a vegetarian, you have to be more careful than a meat-eater. Because in most plants there is little or no vitamin D. But there are exceptions like mushrooms, avocados, some types of cabbage and yeast.
Vegetable vitamin D is vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), which, like vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), is converted into the biologically active form calcitriol in the body. In principle, both have the same effectiveness.
However, there is very little vitamin D in the diet overall, and if so, most likely in high-fat products of animal origin like eggs. This means that vegetarians absorb up to 50% less vitamin D than meat and fish eaters.
Why is vitamin D so important?
The body needs vitamin D for healthy bones, the function of the immune system and for the muscles:
For healthy bones
Vitamin D3 is considered to be an installation aid for calcium in the bones and teeth and also promotes the integration into the bone structure. The vitamin makes calcium absorption possible in the body.
For the function of the immune system
The body’s defense is only activated and combats unwanted germs if there is a sufficient amount of vitamin D.
For the muscles
Vitamin D enables normal muscle function and also regulates the coordination of the muscles.
As a recommendation, you should go for a walk for 10-15 minutes every day in the mild sun or stay outdoors to stimulate vitamin D3 synthesis.
In winters and monsoon, however, the sun exposure is unfortunately too low in most parts of Northern India and even the rest of the country, to stimulate the production of vitamin D by spending time outdoors.
Therefore, especially in the winter months, you have to pay particular attention to covering your daily vitamin D requirements. This is especially true for vegetarians. If you are not sure that your outdoor activities and specially selected foods are sufficient for this, you should resort to supplements.
Suggested Read: Signs You Have A Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Vegetarian foods with vitamin D.
Due to the low vitamin D supply because of little sun exposure, one should pay attention to a vitamin D-rich diet. However, this is not easy because the vitamin is found in relatively few foods.
The few vegan sources of vitamin D include mushrooms and avocado. Unfortunately, these foods are not consumed enough in India. Dietary supplements are recommended to regulate vitamin D balance when there is insufficient sun exposure.
Since most Vitamin D Foods For Vegetarians are incapable of providing the sufficient amount, here are some supplements for Vitamin D available in the market and therefore must be included in the daily diet if any abnormality in the vitamin D levels is observed.
Usually, all supplements are also not vegetarian, so we have listed an established vegetarian Vitamin D supplement with clear labeling of ingredients.