Sunbaking Mushrooms for Vitamin D

Tess Patrick TESS PATRICK

Can you remember how good it feels after laying in the sun?

I know summer has passed for many this year, but the feeling of a long day in the warmth still lingers. Despite often doing nothing but reading a good book and hopping in and out of the water if the weather allows, you find yourself heading to bed in the evening feeling tired but satiated.

That feeling isn’t just from a relaxing day basking in the sun, it’s from the essential vitamin D that your body has had a chance to absorb (and sadly, it’s one of the leading nutrient deficiencies we’re seeing today).

It makes sense though, more people are spending more time working indoors, under artificial lighting, and they’re busier than ever before. I don’t know about you, but it feels like we used to spend a lot more time outdoors; at the beach or at the park, and our health is suffering because of it.

Why do we need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for many functions in the body. Vitamin D might just be a crowd favorite because it comes directly from sunshine but it’s just as important in the body too. Vitamin D is used in the mineralization of bones by boosting the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the digestive tract and signaling for the kidney to retain more of these two nutrients. 

So how do we get vitamin D?

Food sources of vitamin D are actually increasingly difficult to come by, especially if you’re looking to avoid fortified foods (that is those that are altered in a laboratory setting). One of the best ways to get vitamin D is by ensuring that you get 20 minutes of unadulterated light on your arms and legs each day. Not so much that you get burnt, but enough that your skin can absorb the benefits of this UV light.

There’s also another clever way. Mushrooms are amazing food, they’re intuitive and clever and a wonderful source of all kinds of nutrients. My favorite thing about mushrooms is this. Like you and I, mushrooms are capable of absorbing vitamin D from sunlight… How cool is that!? So if you’re looking to support your vitamin D intake, simply pop your mushrooms in the sunlight for 20 minutes before cooking them. This is said to increase your absorption of the essential vitamin to almost the daily requirement.

So if you’re one of the 1billion people worldwide living with lower levels of vitamin D, and don’t have the space to sunbake yourself, it’s time to consider letting your mushrooms do the hard work for you. 

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