Fast foods, potato chips, and diet soda all lead to obesity, but now a new analysis shows a surprising link between vitamin D and and belly fat. After analyzing data from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity study, researchers from VU University Medical Center and Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that obesity is linked to vitamin D deficiency. They also discovered how the nutrient plays a role in fat accumulation in men and women aged 45–65. The analysis suggests that women and men with higher levels of abdominal fat, aka belly fat, are also vitamin D deficient.
Due to the connection between belly fat and vitamin D deficiency, those with larger waistlines “should consider having their vitamin D levels checked,” Rachida Rafiq, the lead researcher, said in a statement.
If you’re not planning to soak up some rays this summer, ward off belly fat and increase your vitamin D levels by adding the following foods to your grocery list. All provide at least five percent of your daily value of vitamin D to help you reach the recommended 600-IU mark.
1. Rainbow Trout, 539 IU per 2.5 oz (89.8% DV)
Trout fillets are a wonderful source of both omega-3 fatty acids and muscle-maintaining protein. Another bonus: the fish’s subtle flavor fares exceptionally well with a robust sauce. Try cooking trout on the stovetop with a white wine sauce or throwing it on the grill with some garlic for a quick and flavorful meal.
2. Salmon, 493 IU per 3 oz (82.1% DV)
When shopping for the pink fish, always opt for the wild variety as it packs in more heart-healthy omega-3s than its farmed cousin.
3. Chanterelle Mushrooms, 114 IU per 1 cup (19% DV)
As one of the top sources of vitamin D in the produce section, chanterelle mushrooms deserve a spot on your grocery list. Sneak the fungi into vegetarian stir-frys and stews for added meaty texture.
4. Fortified 2% Milk, 98 IU per 1 cup (16.3% DV)
Not into guzzling a glass of milk on its own? Instead of donning a full-on milk mustache, add the dairy to your morning oats, smoothies, and pasta dishes to get an added dose of D. If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, almond milk also packs in a solid dose of the sunshine vitamin, with about 101 IUs per 8 ounces.
5. Eggs, 41 IU per 1 egg (6.8% DV)
A daily omelet can bore even the most rigid dieter. That’s why we’ve got 25 Delicious Egg Recipes to Stay Skinny you can effortlessly whip up to sneak more vitamin D into your diet.