Our bodies are magical places. Not content with just being able to grow themselves or remembering to breathe and think, they also produce vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium and keeps bones strong. But, sadly, to perform this marvel of nature, the body needs one extra ingredient: the sun. And in the winter, there just isn’t so much of that around, so us humans need to find another way (mainly eating!) to get vitamin D. So, here’s what you should eat to get vitamin D through the winter months.
Salmon – especially wild salmon – is packed full of vitamin D, with every 100 grams containing over 150% of your recommended daily intake. And, of course, salmon is both delicious and versatile. It’s a fish you can eat in everything from an oozy Katsu curry (at Saboten, for example) to a healthy salad with spinach, avocado and tomato.
Yep. The super-healthy, nutritious, low calorie and high taste oyster is full of vitamin D. Admittedly, oysters are not quite as packed with the stuff as salmon, with each 100-gram serving only containing around half of the recommended daily intake, but let’s be honest, no one is ordering one or two oysters. We all eat them by the plateful – 6, 12, 18, 24 – washed down with a martini or two!
Wild mushrooms – as opposed to farmed mushrooms that are often grown in darkened rooms – produce vitamin D in the same way as humans do, by synthesising UV rays from the sun. They are also packed full of flavour. Our favourite ways to eat mushrooms are on toast with cream – you can get a sandwich stuffed with button, shitake and shimeji mushrooms at El Cubanos – or as a part of a steaming, nutritious hotpot.
Chickens are another vitamin D producing friend, synthesising – just like mushrooms and humans – the UV rays from the sun into the vitamin. Handily, they then pass that vitamin D on to their eggs, and in particular, that delightful little yolk. In fact, a chicken that has been fed with vitamin D enriched feed can produce single eggs that have all of our recommended daily vitamin D intake. You can if you wish, but it’s not necessary to chow down on a raw egg yolk – instead, why not eat them in a creamy spaghetti carbonara, the sauce of which is based on our orange-coloured friends. Lucca’s Trattoria do a great one.
The simplest answer to the question of what you should eat for vitamin D is cow’s milk. Cow’s milk is often fortified in its production – meaning extra vitamin D as well as other minerals and vitamins are added to it. How fortified the milk is varies somewhat, so it’s difficult to give an exact reading about how much vitamin D milk will have. But given it’s got calcium in at as well, it’s certainly helpful in strengthening bones and keeping you healthy through the winter months.