Vitamin D and Food

These days very often I hear of people having aches,pains,feeling low and fatigued.Some are in so much pain that they have pain killers for relief,not realising that in the long run, their frequent use can cause damage to the kidney.What they really need to do is have a blood test to check vitamin D3 deficiency and have it corrected if deficient.Low levels are being seen all over the world.

Levels above 30 ng/ml are considered sufficient.Some laboratories show old values as normal range, leading the person to think they are okay.The other problem is the expense of the test...around Rs 1500!

Vitamin D is a vitamin that is essential for bone and mineral metabolism,immunity against infections and against cancer.It has a role to play in the synthesis and secretion of insulin and its deficiency is a risk factor for diabetes.

Our major source is sunlight.Today,pollution,sunblock lotions and cloudy weather are common factors that prevent the right amount of ultraviolet rays from reaching our body,which in turn leads to less conversion to its active form and vitamin D deficiency ensues.We also stay indoors and sit in front of computers and televisions rather than going for a walk and add to it.

Food sources include fatty fish(salmon,mackerel,sardines,tuna) and eggs.Abroad milk and bread are fortified with this vitamin but these are not options in our country,just yet...

Among the fish,fatty fish provide a double benefit : the heart friendly omega 3 fat and vitamin D.Fish steamed,grilled,broiled,baked or in a curry but not fried.

Fish can be bought at the market or can be delivered home.Nothing like going to the market,if you ask me.There's a variety of local fish to choose from and add to that the enjoyable chat with fisherwomen.Bargaining is an art which you must master before you venture in these waters.

For others,Pesca Fresh provides a wide range of sea fish and freshwater fish,cleaned,cut,hygienically packed in ice and thermacol boxes and delivered home.Salmon,Himalayan Trout and Mahi-Mahi are some of their exotic fare.They provide a free monthly newsletter Pescalicious with information on nutrition and recipes by their chef and customers.

Vegetarian sources are limited....mushrooms contain it.Three main varieties are seen in India:white button, straw and oyster mushrooms.Others more easily available abroad are Shitake (high Vitamin D content),Portabello and Truffles.I did get a packet of Shitake at the Pali Market but truffles are frightfully expensive.I did see one at Napa Valley.That's the closest I got to it.Mushrooms are a great source of proteins and are low calorie.One has to be cautious about plucking them from the wild as some can be poisonous.

There are many vegetarians in our country and many others have cholesterol problems,egg is not an option for them as the yolk contains cholesterol and vitamin D.Which then means that fortification of foods like milk and bread should be started at the earliest.So much better than suffering and then taking powders or injections to maintain normal levels,which very many people require today.Prevention is better and cheaper than cure!

We need to do our bit by eating right and going outdoors in the sun.In our own way,we must contribute to curtailing pollution.Nature does have her way of reminding us when we err.


Kalyan Karmakar said…
Funnily enough I went to Khar market and bought rui, ilish pomfret and caatla today. The act of buying it super charged me and I wished dishes, packed the fish and cooked chicken :) made a pasta with squids for dinner
Shannon said…
yes, i've heard about vitamin d deficiencies lately. in denmark, where people eat loads of dairy products, people have less vitamin d in their systems compared to places like singapore- and it's b/c denmark is so cloudy! i think people living in northern europe esp have to look out for it. i always feel better when i'm eating fish regularly, so i bet i'm lacking in it a bit, too!
Sassy Fork said…
Yes,Shannon,you are right about countries without sunshine.
In fact the formation of vitamin D by the skin depends on skin pigmentation ,latitude,season and time of day
Kurush F Dalal said…
lovely fresh Tuna is available at really cost effective prices in mumbai .... in the markets it's known as Kuppa and the kolis eat it a lot as do the keralites .... it's one of the best sources of vitamin D and has the highest concentration of Omega 3 fatty acids (bangda/mackerel is next)

tragically most mumbaites will quaff down expensive old tinned tuna but ignore the fresh stuff, one of the major reasons is that the meat is a dark red colur when red and it puts people off for some reason

shitake mushies are being cultivated in india now and regularly turn up at crawford market and super market shelves

happy eatin :)
Sassy Fork said…
That's great information Kurush.So that's why we see Shitake at affordable prices at Pali Market.
About tuna,good to hear that it is a rich source of Vit D.There are concerns in the West about the presence of mercury in some(not all)tuna species.That's probably why some people here are wary of it
Kurush F Dalal said…
yes ma'am ... they're locals now :)

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