What is vitamin D?
What role does it play in the functioning of your body?
A nutrient which can be generally discovered in food products and is crucial for the maintenance of your strong bones and overall health of your body, vitamin D can help you absorb calcium (from your food and other supplements), which as you may know is the main building block of your skeletal system and your bones.
Not only this but the presence of vitamin D is important for the functioning of your body as it is with the help of this vitamin that nerves can carry messages to the brain from other body parts, muscles can move and the immune system can be powered up enough to combat the invading viruses and bacteria. Due to its importance, almost all the cells in your body contain vitamin D at all times.
Vitamin D and calcium combine to help aged people fight osteoporosis. Those people whose bodies are deficient in vitamin D have a tendency of developing thin, brittle and soft bones through a medical condition named osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children and small babies.
Reference: U.S. Department of Health & Human Services National Institutes of Health – Vitamin D
Which food items provide vitamin D?
Mushrooms are the only vegetable that contains vitamin D, naturally.
In the United States, Vitamin D is supplied mainly through fortified foods. By definition, fortified foods do not contain Vitamin D or other important nutrients and minerals naturally.
Besides mushrooms, fish oil, fatty fish and beef liver are high in vitamin D. However, mushrooms are low calorie and delicious, so they are a great choice for increasing vitamin D in your diet. Make mushrooms a tasty part of your healthy diet.
Health problems resulting from vitamin D deficiency
Osteomalacia (in adults): Lack of vitamin D can cause bones in the adult body to become weak or brittle. People suffering from osteomalada experience weakness in the muscles, have prevalent body pain or feel that their bones are fragile. Difficulty walking and proclivity to bone fractures are also signs of this disorder. Individuals suffering from osteomalada are often advised to increase their intake of vitamin D.
Rickets (in children): Vitamin D deficiency can prevent children’s bodies from absorbing phosphorus and calcium required for stronger bones, making their bones soft, weak and brittle. Children who do not get enough vitamin D can have delayed growth, chronic pain in the legs, spine and pelvis, or bowed legs. A diet rich in vitamin D can help prevent Rickets in children.
What adverse effects can you experience if you don’t have Vitamin D in your body?
The new labeling requirements for vitamin D and potassium
On February 27 2014, First Lady Michelle Obama announced upcoming changes to the FDA’s Nutrition Facts label. The new changes include posting the amount of potassium and vitamin D in foods. Mushrooms are rich in both potassium and vitamin D.
These changes recognize the importance of potassium and vitamin D, nutrients that some in the U.S. are not getting enough of, placing them at higher risk for chronic disease. vitamin D is important for its role in bone health. Potassium is beneficial in lowering blood pressure. – FDA proposes updates to Nutrition Facts label on food packages
Hokto mushrooms contain both vitamin D and potassium.
Will staying under the Sun get you your dose of vitamin D?
The Sun helps us build up vitamin D levels in our body. Our vitamin D requirements may be met, by exposure to direct sunlight. But it is not without health challenges.
Direct sunlight may cause skin damage and sunstrokes. Exposing unprotected skin to harmful UV rays may also lead to skin cancer.
Moreover, it is difficult to be exposed to direct sunlight in winter, especially in northern states. Those that work at night cannot depend on the Sun as a source of vitamin D. Some researchers have studied that short sun exposure time might affect vitamin D insufficiency and be relevant to cancer risk.
Reference: The Micronutrient Information Center – Vitamin D
Mushrooms are a reliable and tasty source of vitamin D, as essential nutrient that can help you maintain good health and overall well being.