How to Get Vitamin D in Your Diet

May 19, 2009

vitamin D foods

Istockphoto
By Julie Upton
From Health magazine

The National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D daily for adults younger than 50, and 800 to 1,000 IU for adults 50 and older. But many experts now agree that most of us need even more—up to 2,000 IU a day—to raise our levels high enough to fight diseases.

How do you know where you stand? First, talk to your doctor about a “serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D” test, considered the gold standard for measuring blood levels of vitamin D. While women who live at latitudes above 37—in cities like Minneapolis, Boston, and San Francisco—may be at greater risk for D-deficiency, “every woman should consider getting checked,” says Cedric Garland, MD, a leading vitamin D researcher. Then try these tricks to keep your level of vitamin D in or above the recommended safe zone (40 to 60 ng/ml).

Eat naturally D-rich foods. Eat oily fish such as salmon (360 IU), sardines (250 IU), and tuna (200 IU) a few times a week.

Go for fortified foods. Look for D in milk, orange juice, and other fruit juices (100 IU), soy milk (120 IU), butter substitutes (80 IU), and some cereals and yogurts.

Take a supplement. Add a calcium-and–vitamin D supplement containing at least 400 IU of D daily. (Most multis contain this much, and many calcium-vitamin D supplements contain 1,000 IU per capsule.)

Enjoy the sun. Whoa! Is that really possible without hurting your skin? Experts say yes. Just 5 to 10 minutes is usually enough.

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