The Institute of Medicine (IOM) recently released the results of its 24-month review on dietary reference intakes (DRIs) for vitamin D and calcium, which validated the importance of vitamin D as an essential nutrient for promoting bone health. The committee set the recommended intake level at 600 IU, which is triple the previously recommended amount from 1997. Mushrooms are unique for being the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle and one of the few non-fortified food sources. In fact, the IOM recognizes them as the exception to the rule that plant foods don't naturally contain vitamin D.
Leading vitamin D expert Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, of Boston University Medical Center, is encouraged by the committee's increased recommendations because they're a step in the right direction. "The report acknowledges that everyone should be getting vitamin D every day - 600 IUs is achievable through diet and sun exposure, and people can work with their medical professionals to fulfill additional needs through supplements."
Chef and registered dietitian Jackie Newgent, RD, CDN, suggests easy ways to eat foods with vitamin D, like mushrooms, salmon and select dairy foods, more often. "Topping your favorite foods with mushrooms can increase the vitamin D content of nearly any savory dish," says Newgent. "I can find a way to enjoy mushrooms every day by simply adding them to soups, pastas, stir-fries, omelets or sandwiches; they work with nearly every cuisine," she adds. Try some of Newgent's favorite mushroom recipes (links available at the bottom of the release):
•Tip O' the Mornin', asparagus tip and mushroom omelet with shaved parmesan
•Wild Winter Mushroom Pâté, cumin-accented wild mushroom spread
•Homemade Veggie Burgers, vegetarian soy burgers
Mushrooms and Vitamin D
•Similar to humans, mushrooms naturally produce vitamin D following exposure to sunlight or a sunlamp: mushrooms' plant sterol - ergosterol - converts to vitamin D when exposed to light.
•All mushrooms contain vitamin D, but growers also have the ability to increase D levels in mushrooms to a controlled amount by exposing them to ultraviolet light.
•Currently there are mushrooms available at retail, like portabellas exposed to light, for which approximately one mushroom can provide close to 400 IU of vitamin D (as listed in the USDA nutrient database, per an 84 gram serving).
The Institute of Medicine