“Annie, I just had lunch with Don, and he told me that he’d been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency. He said that he was feeling achiness in his bones, and was chronically tired and cranky. He’s not vegetarian, so that can’t be why he’s not getting enough D, but this is making me question whether going vegetarian is a good idea. How do we make sure we’re getting all of the nutrients we need if we’re only eating vegetables and fruit?” “I’m sorry to hear that about Don,” said Annie.

“Vegetarian or not, everyone needs to pay attention to how the food they’re eating is providing adequate vitamins and minerals. It takes diligence and research to make sure that you’re getting the daily recommended amounts. Being a vegetarian isn’t just about eating fruits and vegetables; many other nutritious foods make for a healthy vegetarian diet. Vitamin D is essential because it helps our intestines absorb calcium (bone strengthener), magnesium (sleep), and phosphate (cellular energy producer), which explains Don’s achy bones. The main source of vitamin D is exposure to natural sunlight, so people, who avoid the sun, are housebound, and too many overcast winter days can cause a deficiency. Some methods help such as sun lamp therapy for people who experience Seasonal Affective Disorder, others use supplements, and some foods are good sources of the vitamin. If Don would like, we can make a complete list for him, but here’s a quick list.”

Cod Liver Oil – a single teaspoon has 450 IU or 75% of your daily requirement.
Tuna – gives you about 77% of your daily value
Salmon – half of the filet will get you around 172% of your daily value.
Milk – fortified with vitamin D is a good source because it works synergistically with milk’s natural nutrients such as calcium.
Yogurt – Like milk, yogurt can also be fortified with additional vitamin D. You will get about 881 IU, which is about 15% of the daily value. Be sure it is non-fat, sugar-free yogurt.
Soy Milk – is an excellent place to get added vitamin D along with magnesium and calcium even if you are lactose intolerant.Mushrooms – are the most significant source of vitamin D. Shrooms grown while being exposed to sunlight as opposed to having been raised under a lamp will provide as much as 977 IU, which is 164% of your daily value from a single cup.
Cheese – is a non-fortified dairy source. Its vitamin D is natural. You can get as much as 11 IU, or 2% of your Daily Value, from cheese.
Eggs – are one of the only complete protein sources, meaning they contain all of the essential amino acids and are a great source of vitamin D.

“Should I send this list over to Don, or will you?’ said Annie. LJ thoughtfully paused, and ….

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