Top 10 Vitamin D Rich Foods For Children
Vitamin D is a requisite for good health, as it regulates bone and muscle (skeletal and heart) health, immune responses, and calcium and phosphorus metabolism. Staying out in the sun helps one synthesize vitamin D (not a problem for children at all), however there are some Vitamin D rich foods that can also help . Deficiency symptoms of the vitamin include bone and muscle pain, frequent bone fractures, muscle weakness, lowered immunity, and softening of the bones. Children are vulnerable to Vitamin deficiency, which results in osteomalacia commonly known as ‘Rickets’. Toxicity of vitamin D could be due to its plant (D2) or animal based (D3) form, especially supplemental intake causing loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, kidney malfunction, and failure to thrive.
Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)
Here is a simple guide so you can balance Vitamin D requirement in children. The table below gives the Adequate Intake (AI) limits per day of the vitamin based on age.
0 – 13 years
14 – 18 years
IU – International Units
Foods Sources of Vitamin D
Few foods like cod liver oil, certain fish, dairy, liver, egg, and certain dark green vegetables are natural sources of vitamin D. The vitamin is added to foods like orange juice, margarine, cereals, milk, yoghurt , etc. to fortify it.
Top 10 Vitamin D Rich Foods
- Shiitake and Button Mushroom: Shiitake and especially white button mushrooms are a rich source of Vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D in mushrooms increases manifold on exposure to sun.
- Mackerel: Even a small portion (3 pounds) of Mackerel can provide 90% of the recommended dietary intake of Vitamin D, making it an excellent source.
- Sockeye Salmon: Salmon is available in fresh, canned or frozen form. One 3 pound serving will cover 90% of the dietary requirement of vitamin D. Salmon reared under controlled conditions contains lesser amount of vitamin D as compared to the wild varieties.
- Herring: Herrings staple diet id ‘plankton’ which is loaded with Vitamin D, in turn making herring a good source too.
- Sardines: Sardines are a great source of vitamin D, one small tin can deliver 70% of our daily requirement of Vitamin D.
- Catfish: Another fish that feasts on plankton, thus is a very good source of vitamin D.
- Tuna: A single serving of tuna contains as much as 200 IUs of vitamin D, and the wilder varieties have higher vitamin content.
- Cod Liver Oil: Consuming cod liver oil as such is very difficult, thus the market is over flooded with capsules. One table spoon of the oil provides more than enough vitamin D, children need even lesser.
- Eggs: Each yolk of an egg possesses as much as 21 IUs of vitamin D, as children do not have a cholesterol restriction these can be easily included in their diets.
- Dairy Products: Cow’s milk possesses the highest amount of vitamin D, and a cup of cow’s milk contains at least 100IUs of vitamin D. Milk products like yogurt and cheese to are good sources of the vitamin.
How to Incorporate Vitamin D in Children’s Diet
Some of the above listed foods would definitely not make into the children’s favorite list, like cod liver oil. But, as vitamin D is required only in limited quantities they can be given milkshakes, smoothies, sandwiches with selected fish, fish chips, cheese, scrambled eggs, and other fortified cereals to take care of their dietary needs.
Look into our Healthy Recipes section for more ideas.
Note: Children, especially ones under 2 yrs are prone to food sensitivity and allergy. Introduce any new food slowly and cautiously. If you are aware of you child's food allergy avoid the any food that contains that particular allergen completely.
Image credits: ifood.tv