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The Nutrient-Rich Bounty of Dry Fruits: A Closer Look at Vitamin D and Beyond

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By Dr. Preeti Nagar

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, is essential for vital physiological functions such as maintaining bone health, supporting immune function, and regulating calcium and phosphorus levels in the body.

What are the health benefits of vitamin D?

Vitamin D provides health benefits by contributing to:

– Bone Health:

 Facilitating calcium absorption for the promotion of strong and healthy bones.

– Immune System Support:

 Plays a role in the immune system’s function to defend the body against infections.

– Mood Regulation:

 Some studies indicate a connection between vitamin D and mood regulation, potentially enhancing mental well-being.

– Chronic Disease Prevention:

 Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may lower the risk of certain chronic conditions, including cardiovascular diseases.

– Muscle Function:

 Essential for proper muscle function and may assist in preventing falls, particularly in older adults.

– Cell Growth and Differentiation:

 Participating in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation is crucial for overall health.

Which are the 10 dry fruits rich in vitamin D? How much percentage of vitamin D does each of these dry fruits have?

Dried apricots offer a modest 1.5 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams, they also provide essential vitamins and minerals like A, iron, and potassium. Dried figs, with around 3 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams, are notable for their fiber, calcium, potassium, and magnesium content. Almonds offer 9% DV of vitamin D. Raisins with around 82.00 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams. Prunes with around 3.7 mg of vitamin D. Dates with around 2.2mg of vitamin D. Peaches with around 1.6 mg of vitamin D. Goji berries with around 1.5mg of vitamin D. Plums with around 1 mg of vitamin D. Cranberries with around 0.7mg of vitamin D. However, relying solely on dry fruits for vitamin D is insufficient; a balanced diet with sources like fatty fish and fortified foods is recommended for optimal intake.

What are the other nutrients these dry fruits have? How do they help us?

Dry fruits exhibit variability in nutrient content, but typically, they contain crucial vitamins (A, C, K) and minerals (iron, potassium). These elements play a vital role in promoting overall health by supporting functions such as vision, immune response, blood clotting, and maintaining electrolyte balance.

How much should one consume?

It’s advisable to incorporate a moderate daily intake of 4-5 varieties of dry fruits for a nutrient and vitamin-rich lifestyle. Meeting vitamin D requirements is best achieved through sunlight exposure and including fatty fish and dairy products in your diet.

What are the side effects of eating too much?

While rare, excessive intake of vitamin D can result in side effects such as hypercalcemia, characterized by elevated blood calcium levels, leading to symptoms like nausea, weakness, and potential kidney issues. Obtaining the majority of your vitamin D from natural sources is crucial, and supplements should only be taken under medical guidance.

*By Dr. Preeti Nagar, Dietician at Noida International Institute of Medical Sciences and Hospital, Noida International University

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