How to Incorporate More Vitamin D in Your Diet

woman eating poke bowl with tuna

Chances are, if you’ve followed any influencers or health experts, you’ve come across a conversation about Vitamin D, how important it is, and how many people are deficient. But what is Vitamin D, and why do we need it? 

The D.L. on Vitamin D 

Vitamin D is both a hormone that we produce and a nutrient found in food that we eat.  Having a sufficient amount of Vitamin D has so many benefits to your body. Here are just ten ways Vitamin D is essential to whole-person health:  

  • Improves muscle function 
  • Blunts your appetite 
  • Protects lung function 
  • Can help you shed weight 
  • Lowers blood pressure 
  • Shuts down cancer cells 
  • Lowers risk or mortality 
  • Reduces Alzheimer’s risk  
  • Affects hundreds of genes in disease-preventing potential 
  • Reduces risk of osteoporosis 

Sun Exposure and Vitamin D 

One easy way to get more vitamin D is by increasing your sun exposure. The sun’s rays can be intense, however, here are some ways to soak up the sun safely and still get your vitamin D:  

  • Get some sun exposure on your skin without sunscreen for 20-30 minutes in the morning or the late afternoon –to ensure you produce adequate vitamin D.  
  • Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. (peak burning hours) 
  • If you’re in the sun during midday, wear a hat and cover yourself in loose long-sleeved shirts 
  • Remember: too much exposure to the sun at peak hours can lead to skin cancer!

Alternate sources of Vitamin D 

Some live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sun for a large portion of the year (Aka the Pacific Northwest!). Vitamin D can be found in many foods, such as: 

  • Cod liver oil 
  • Cooked salmon 
  • Cooked mackerel 
  • Tuna fish 
  • Sardines 
  • Fortified orange juice 
  • Fortified milk 
  • Egg yolks 
  • Swiss cheese 

If you think you may be vitamin D deficient, schedule an appointment at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle or Bastyr University Clinic in San Diego. Our team of naturopathic doctors, registered dietitians, and Chinese herbal medicine practitioners can help you diagnose your health concern and get to the root cause so that you can start feeling your best! 


About the author:  

Cynthia Hope, ND, is a naturopathic doctor and Associate Dean at Bastyr University in San Diego, California.