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3 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Protect Your Mood

December 5, 2019
Photo Credit: Nadine Greff

Vitamin D is often referred to as the “happy vitamin” because it may have an affect on your overall mood. It’s got a myriad of other health benefits, though, including maintaining bone and teeth health, supporting the immune and nervous system, and assisting with heart and brain function.

We produce vitamin D when we’re exposed to sunlight, but many of us don’t get the recommended amount per day, which ranges from 600 to 1000 IU depending on the person. That’s because we’re all spending more indoors and when we do go outside, we’re using sunscreen. While there aren’t that many foods that are good sources of the happy vitamin, there are a few. So, before you consider a supplement, try adding one or more of these to your diet.

1. Eggs

More specifically, egg yolks. Even more specifically, egg yolks from pasture-raised chickens. Chickens that have been raised indoors lay eggs with yolks that are not a good source of vitamin D. Allow them ample opportunity to run around outside in the sun, however, and the yolks they produce can have three to four times the amount of vitamin D. Some chickens are also given feed that’s enriched with Vitamin D, which is another way to get your fill.

Of course there are endless ways to eat eggs. Here are just a few ideas.

2. Salmon

Salmon is another good source of vitamin D, but again, it’s all about what you buy. While you’ll get about 250 IU in a serving of farmed salmon, you can get up to 4 times that amount in wild salmon, depending on just how much sunlight the fish absorbed in its lifetime.

Serving simple salmon fillets for dinner is an easy way to get your fill, but try slipping some smoked salmon into your scrambled eggs for breakfast or opening a can of salmon for an affordable lunch.

3. Mushrooms

Fun fact: Mushrooms are the only plant-based source of vitamin D. It’s important that they’re wild mushrooms, however, because they need to be grown outside in ample sunlight. Commercially-grown mushrooms are usually grown in the dark, though some are grown under UV light to force vitamin D production.

In terms of slipping mushrooms into your everyday diet, try enjoying them simply on toast for a savory breakfast, in a grain bowl for lunch, or tossed with pasta for dinner.

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