The sunshine vitamin

The sunshine vitamin

Nutritionist Avni Kaul tells you how to your boost Vitamin D levels while you're at home

health

Staying home for a long duration can have a bigger unwanted health consequence, especially amongst the urban Indian population most of whom are Vitamin D deficient. This is a major concern as some medical researchers have suggested that Vitamin D deficiency could be linked to poorer immunity and slower recovery and would be difficult for someone who catches coronavirus.

In fact, some medical researchers in the University Hospital, Angers, France are doing a clinical test to check if Vitamin D helps coronavirus patients. Vitamin D acts more like a hormone because the body produces it by mixing with other chemicals.

Vitamin D is critical for the regulation and intake of calcium. A deficiency of Vitamin D can lead to poor bone density, muscular pain, and has been associated with depression and poor immune system. 

Here are some key tips on how to maintain Vitamin D levels if you are staying at home and are not getting adequate sunlight.

A better diet

Some Vitamin D rich foods you can add while staying home or indoors are:

Fatty fish like salmon and sardines: These are costly and are not easily available in India, but if one could afford these, then you can ensure a good source of Vitamin D.

Egg yolks: Eggs are easily available and are a top source of Vitamin D. They are also full of nutrients. While most of the protein inside an egg is found in its white portion, the fat and Vitamin D are found in the yolk.

Mushrooms: A good plant-based choice of Vitamin D, mushrooms, can synthesise this vitamin when exposed to sunlight, which is very much similar to humans.

Fortified cow’s milk: Although cow’s milk naturally does not contain Vitamin D, various milk companies add Vitamin D to the pasteurised milk. In fact, in a few countries, such as Canada and Sweden, Vitamin D is added to cow’s milk by law.

In India, it is not mandatory, but several milk brands add it voluntarily during milk processing.

Soya milk: As Vitamin D is present in animal products, most soya milk companies fortify soya milk with Vitamin D and with other nutrients that are generally found in cow’s milk for vegetarians and vegans.

Sunlight: Even though you are following social distancing and remaining indoors, make an effort to spend a few minutes every day under the sun by sitting in your balcony or near a window or on the terrace in the morning. If you have a small garden or open arena, then sit there for at least 20 to 30 minutes daily to soak in the sun.

(The author is a nutritionist, founder, NutriActivania)