Deficiency of vitamin D and B12 is common amongst Indians. The reason being a majority of the Indians are vegetarians and these vitamins are negligible or absent in the veg-food we consume daily. There are only a few vitamin D food items for vegetarians, which On the other hand, non-veg food like salmon, cod liver oil, beef, pork, etc. is rich in these vitamins. Vegan people find it even more difficult to look out for vegan sources of vitamin D and B12.
In a layman’s term, vegans are the people who have vowed to boycott all food and products which are in any way derived from animals. Animal protection and welfare are at the heart of such people. Given the dreadful state of the environment and increasing cases of animal cruelty, more people are turning towards being vegan.
Vegan Sources of Vitamin D
To help out this tribe, here are 6 easy vegan sources of vitamin D:
1. Sun Exposure
Sunlight, though not a food, is a natural and easily available vegan source of vitamin D.
Primitive men were more exposed to sunlight while performing their daily chores than us. With the change in civilization, humans have adopted an indoor lifestyle.
To add to that our extended working or study hours, do not allow us to stay out and soak in the sunlight. To get your daily dose of vitamin D, step out in the daytime (before 09:00 AM) and expose yourself to the sun for at least 10 to 15 minutes around three times a week.
However, exercise caution as there are studies that state that excessive exposure to the sun may cause sunburn and heightens the risk of having skin cancer.
Mushroom is a unique plant that can be consumed by vegans as a source of vitamin D. The proportion of vitamin D in a mushroom depends upon the methodology used in cultivating it. The mushrooms which are exposed to ultraviolet light have a higher content of vitamin D verses the ones grown in dark and humid spaces.
During their shelf life, the mushrooms retain vitamin D in them. And that makes it the most appropriate time to consume it. Commercially sold mushrooms are grown in dark spaces and so are void of vitamin D. Next time, check the nutrient content on the packet before buying mushrooms.
3. Soy Products
Tofu which looks quite close to paneer and soya chunks are amongst the food products considered to be the richest source of vitamin D. You can easily find these products in a farmers’ market or supermarket near your residence.
Both these are also rich sources of protein and can be used as an excellent ingredient in your food.
4. Breakfast Cereal
Breakfast is the utmost important meal of the day. These days many companies have started fortifying the cereals with vitamin D. These could be a good vegan source of vitamin D every day.
5. Fortified Margarine
Margarine, a substitute for butter is also a vegan source of vitamin D. It is made out of vegetable fat and water. It is used instead of normal butter as a spread on bread, while cooking and in baking. Many brands have fortified margarine to make it a good source of vitamin D.
6. Fortified Milk
Different types of fortified milk like rice milk, coconut milk, soy milk, etc. also contain vitamin d and calcium in a sufficient quantity.
It is not easy to find vegan sources of vitamin D through your food products. And so, one can take the supplements of vitamin D either after consultation or thorough research.
It is crucial to note that when vitamin D supplements are taken along with food with higher fat content, the absorption of the vitamin in the bloodstream gets easier. So, plan to eat seeds, avocado, nuts, etc. while you take your vitamin D supplements.
To begin with, the lack of vitamin D in your body has many detrimental effects like hair loss, weak bones, restlessness and fatigue, depression, and an overall weak immune system. And it is troublesome to find vegan sources of vitamin D. There are lots and lots of benefits of Vitamin D to the overall well-being of a human being and a lot of health problems can be gradually gotten rid of.
Ensure to get your blood reports and depending on that plan the intake of vitamin D in your routine.
Lastly, every country has a different standard of fortification and hence it is vital to be aware and then buy any product. So, kindly exercise caution and read all details on the fortified products.