One of the main challenges of following a vegan lifestyle is not getting enough vitamin D. Generally, animal products are the major source of vitamin D and since vegans do not eat them, they need to find vegan sources of vitamin D.
Even though the non-veg population is more when compared to vegans, more than 46% of Americans have vitamin D deficiency. This vitamin is very essential for our body because it helps in the absorption of calcium and phosphorous from food, which is very essential for maintaining bone strength. Your immune system also needs vitamin D for ensuring better function.
If you are a vegan, you need to add more vitamin D-rich foods to your vegan diet because a deficiency of vitamin D can lead to depression or autoimmune issues.
Here are some of the vitamin D-rich foods that you can include in your vegan meal plan.
According to experts, mushrooms are the best plant-based sources of vitamin D. It is important to note that mushrooms that grow in the dark may not contain enough vitamin D. On the other hand, mushrooms that are exposed to ultraviolet light contain around 450 IU per 100-gram serving. Keep in mind that animal products contain vitamin D-3 while mushrooms contain vitamin D-2.
Fortified Soy Milk
Soy milk is one of the most popular vegan milk substitutes available in the market. Most food manufacturers fortify their soy milk with lots of nutrients, including vitamin D. One cup of fortified soy milk can provide around 2.9 mcg of vitamin D. It is very essential to check the label of the soy milk to make sure that it contains vitamin D before you buy it.
Fortified Orange Juice
Some brands of orange juice are fortified with several essential vitamins, including vitamin D. Fortified orange juice may contain around 2.5 mcg of vitamin D per serving. If the orange juice is fortified with vitamin D, it will be mentioned in the packaging.
Every American starts their day with breakfast cereals. That is why it is better to consider fortified breakfast cereals to get enough vitamin D daily. Many cereal brands are now fortifying their products with vitamin D, vitamin C, vitamin E, etc. Most fortified cereals contain around 0.2-2.5 mcg of vitamin D per serving.
Even though sunshine is not a food, it is one of the best sources of vitamin D for vegans. Exposure to sunlight for 10-30 minutes three times a week is more than enough to get an adequate amount of vitamin D into the body.