You might be wondering ‘who could need such a long list of foods with vitamin D, and why?’ Can’t blame you. Others might ask that same question and also find it extensive.
Surprisingly, many people, even those that live on a sunny beach, find themselves deficient. Despite warmly tanned skin, they are shocked to learn that they aren’t receiving a sufficient amount.
What’s even more curious is that I wasn’t alone. It was shocking to learn that nearly half of the population is also deficient in vitamin D!
If you suspect or already know, that you’re in the same boat as that population, consider adding a few foods to give your vitamin D level a boost. Don’t worry; there are plenty of options to choose from! I promise you won’t have to revamp your entire eating plan to address this deficiency.
31 FOODS THAT FUEL YOUR BODY WITH VITAMIN D
Most children and adults should aim for around 600 IU, or international units, each day. Interestingly enough, there are very few foods that are naturally packed with vitamin D. The good news for seafood lovers is that fatty fish can provide you with some of the highest levels of vitamin D.
Swordfish, in particular, is packed full of the ‘happy vitamin’. In fact, you can get over 560 IU of your daily vitamin D from just one serving.
That means that just a single vitamin D packed portion would come just shy of fulfilling your daily value!
It is critical to ensure that you are getting your daily dose of the ‘sunshine vitamin’. That way you can avoid typical symptoms of vitamin D deficiency like backaches, depression and chronic fatigue. Allowing your body to stay deficient in D vitamins for too long can lead to more serious ailments like high blood pressure and diabetes!
Including yogurt that’s fortified with vitamin D as a regular part of your diet can fuel you with up to 71 IU of your daily dosage. Don’t worry over trying to find fortified yogurt. In today’s modern world you would have to search pretty hard to find unfortified yogurt.
The reason behind this is a good one. As time goes on, more and more children and adults are proving to be deficient in this essential vitamin. One way to address this is through fortifying affordable foods that are widely eaten.
Let’s not forget, this stuff is also an excellent source of calcium.
3. Egg Yolks
It’s important to note that not everyone is able to easily absorb vitamins D2 and D3 through natural sunlight. For those with a darker complexion, the melanin in their skin can negatively impact the absorption rate of D vitamins.
Did you know that in parts of Alaska they don’t see the sunlight for over two months? It’s a wonder that the entire state isn’t deficient when they are void of sunshine for over 60 days a year!
If you’re concerned about your absorption level, you may consider adding eggs to your breakfast a few days a week. A single egg contains about 33 IU of your daily goal. Starting the day off with a couple of eggs and a bowl of oatmeal sounds like the perfect way to start the day.
4. Portobello Mushrooms
Mushrooms are a curious source of the ‘sunshine vitamin’, considering that they grow in the dark. As it turns out, when grown naturally, most mushrooms provide you with an insignificant amount of vitamin D2 and D3. However, the moment they are exposed to UV light they become packed with these vitamins.
Portabella mushrooms are a breed of fungus that can also provide you with a bit of vitamin D4. All in all, a cup of these tasty morsels packs a whopping 634 IU. That exceeds the recommended allowance all by itself!
5. Cod Liver Oil
Living in Alaska and having more melanin aren’t the only factors that can cause you to be deficient in D vitamins. Those living with liver and kidney diseases, Crohn’s disease or osteoporosis are also at a higher risk of being deficient.
Many choose to add cod liver oil to their regiment for other health benefits like reduced inflammation and stronger bones. But did you realize that cod liver oil is also a great source of your D vitamins? A single teaspoon is loaded with 427 IU.
6. Cow’s Milk
Unfortunately, infants are another group who struggles to absorb the proper amount of the ‘sunshine vitamin’. This is even truer if the mother is deficient, as she is the one providing their sustenance. Fortunately, fortified formula can help if this becomes an issue.
Once the child is old enough, fortified milk becomes one of their main sources for D vitamins. Do you remember learning that most yogurts are fortified?
That is true with nearly every dairy product in a number of countries. This is to ensure that children and adults can easily, and cheaply, receive the calcium and vitamins they need. With this measure in place, each cup of milk holds approximately 100 IU.
Recall that there aren’t many foods that are rich in D vitamins. While oysters do possess some of this vitamin, they are pretty low on the scale with how much they provide.
Still, people add them on occasion from time to time for a bit of variety. Oysters are particularly beneficial to those looking for a boost in zinc. After all, they are the number one source of this mineral.
The funny thing about oysters is that their shell carries more of the vitamins. This is why many of the supplements that address calcium and D vitamin deficiencies contain the oyster shell.
8. Pacific Mackerel
Not only is pacific mackerel delicious, but it also has over 340 IU of your daily ‘happy vitamins’. In addition to having one of the highest IU of them all, it’s also an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Research shows that omega 3 fatty acids are highly beneficial to heart health, as well as in reducing inflammation.
9. Orange Juice
Some people falsely believe that it would be impossible for a vegan to reach their daily intake of D vitamins. However, with UV technology and fortification processes, that simply isn’t the case.
Keep in mind that, unlike dairy products, not all orange juice is fortified. If you choose a fortified juice, you can get about 100 IU of your daily dose this way.
Salmon is another one of those foods with multiple health benefits. Because of its omega 3’s, when included as a regular part of the diet, it’s proven to be beneficial in relieving asthma symptoms.
It’s just a bonus that it’s a great source of D vitamins, providing between 205 and 385 IU, dependent upon the variety.
11. Beef Liver
A serving of liver can provide you with approximately 40 IU, so it falls a little low on the scale of foods that are rich in D vitamins. However, that’s still enough to make an impact.
Aside from providing D vitamins, it’s also a good source of protein, iron, zinc, copper and vitamins A and B12.
It is already widely known that the composition of lean pork is very similar to red meat. Studies are currently underway to determine just how similar they are. Researchers have found evidence to suggest that occasionally eating lean pork can aid in the improvement of cardiovascular issues.
Lean cuts of pork can also assist you in reaching your daily intake of D vitamins. Depending on the cut, you could consume up to 60 IU when eating this flavorful meat.
Tuna is one of the tastiest, and most commonly eaten D vitamin-rich food. Considering the 60 IU you can find in a single can of tuna, it’s no wonder so many people love it! Fresh albacore tuna is even denser in vitamins, providing right around 100 IU.
If that weren’t enough motivation to eat more tuna, consider how vital it is in the maintenance of proper brain function. DHA is a fatty acid that can only be found in breast milk and certain fish, like tuna.
When eating fish, it’s very important that you don’t overindulge. Some fish contain high levels of mercury, and yellowfin tuna certainly falls into this category.
Fatty fish is important to include in your diet, but you want to be sure to monitor how much mercury you are ingesting. Switch it up from time to time and choose a fish with lower mercury levels.
Margarine is yet another fortified food. It’s such an important source of D vitamins for children that it has become one of the leading sources in the United Kingdom.
Just one teaspoon delivers about 30 IU. Try cooking dinner with margarine, or adding a bit to your toast to finish the day off.
15. Soy Milk
Fortified soy milk can be a terrific alternative for those with milk allergies or who prefer not to eat animal products. Soy milk is the only plant-based milk that is comparable to cow’s milk, in regards to key vitamins and nutrients.
Thanks to fortification, soy milk can provide you with right around the same amounts of protein, calcium and D vitamins as cow’s milk.
16. Ice Cream
Okay, so maybe ice cream is more of a sweet treat than a substantial source of D vitamins. But you don’t have to feel guilty about giving in to your sweet tooth every once in a while.
Since it’s made of fortified dairy products, even this sweet dessert will give you 1% of your daily intake. There’s a silver lining after all, albeit it a very thin one.
By now, you’re well aware that varying types of fish are packed with omega 3s and D vitamins. Sardines are no exception to the rule. Whether you’re having them on a pizza, or out of a can, you can absorb an impressive 144 IU when eating this food.
Did you know that regularly including fatty fish in your diet can considerably decrease your risk for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s?
18. Maitake Mushrooms
Here’s a fun fact for you: maitake mushrooms are kind of a superfood. Sure, every cup of them is packed with 780 IU of D vitamins, but that fails in comparison to its superpower.
These mushrooms are so powerful that they can help in fighting off a viral infection. Oh, did I mention that they’ve also shown to decrease the activity in cancer cells?!
19. Almond Milk
Almond milk is a good alternative if you’re trying to be mindful of your fat and carbohydrate intake. It’s also low in calories. So, the only true downside is that it doesn’t have nearly as much protein as cow’s milk.
Even the level of D vitamins is comparable, weighing in at 85 IU per cup.
What a surprise, yet another fatty fish has made it into the lineup. Is it any wonder, when you know that fish makes up the largest category of foods with vitamin D?
Just a single serving of Atlantic herring can provide you with 200 IU of your daily value. Stopping by the fish market this weekend is sounding like a better and better idea.
21. Chanterelle Mushrooms
As far as mushrooms go, chanterelle mushrooms fall pretty low on the totem pole. However, with over 100 IU of D vitamins to offer, they are certainly a qualifier amongst foods with vitamin D.
What makes them even more worthy of being added to your diet is the fact that they possess significant healing and anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Sturgeon is a white meat fish that is known to be a delicacy in several countries throughout the world. It’s most famous for its caviar, or its eggs.
When eating the meat of this fish, you can expect to consume just over 430 IU of D vitamins per serving. Even the caviar contains 70 IU.
Roe is slightly higher in D vitamins than caviar, weighing in at 145 IU per serving. Fish roe has additional benefits, particularly for those who have noticed crow’s feet starting to creep up. You may have guessed by now, that fish roe is praised for its anti-aging and antioxidant characterizations.
24. Soy Yogurt
Soy yogurt is an ideal dairy-free alternative, as it’s also low in fat. However, it has more in common with regular yogurt than you may expect. It still has all of your essential amino acids, as well as probiotics.
In addition to all of that, it has the same amount of ‘sunshine vitamins’ as the regular version.
Trout, similarly to a handful of other fish, can provide you with up to 200 IU of your daily dose of D vitamins. Not to mention, it’s high in protein and low in carbs. It’s also a far less fatty fish than a few others mentioned here.
26. White Mushrooms
White mushrooms are unique in that both sun exposure and UV exposure will cause their amount of vitamin D to jump significantly. When these mushrooms grow in the dark they only contain 7 IU, but when exposed to light that skyrockets to 1200 IU!
Halibut and trout are very similar in their nutritional makeup. They both are low in fat and you’ll notice there are no carbohydrates to be found when eating halibut. However, halibut has slightly fewer D vitamins, at only 144 IU.
28. Cheddar Cheese
Cheddar cheese may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering foods with vitamin D. Justifiably so, as a single slice of cheddar cheese will only provide you with 7 IU.
However, it’s important to remember that D vitamins are not the only vitamins or minerals that you want to keep in mind. While cheddar cheese doesn’t rank particularly high in this field, it ranks very high amongst calcium-rich foods.
Whether it is through eating cheese or fish, you want to be sure to keep a variety in your meals. If you were to eat too much cheddar cheese or certain types of fish, you would be consuming too much fat.
29. Fortified Breakfast Cereal
What’s more convenient, first thing in the morning, than pouring a bowl of cereal? I can’t think of many things that have a shorter preparation time in the kitchen.
Next time you’re picking up cereal, consider choosing oat bran that’s fortified with vitamin D. Key things you want to look for are “whole grains” and “low sugar content”.
Keep in mind that when browsing through any fortified goods, it’s important to check the nutritional label. Just because it’s high in certain vitamins and minerals doesn’t mean it isn’t also packed full of excess sugars and fats!
30. Goat Milk
Goat milk is another option that is available for individuals with milk allergies. Over recent years, its popularity has taken off, partially due to its wide popularity in Mediterranean countries.
However, the driving reason behind this rise in popularity is that dairy products made from goat milk are affordable. There have also been a rising number of people with allergies to cow’s milk who may not have a reaction to goat milk.
Aside from containing the same levels of D vitamins as cow’s milk, goat milk is also a good source of protein, calcium and potassium. After learning all of that, it’s a bonus to find that it also has significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory attributes.
31. Swiss Cheese
A serving of Swiss cheese has slightly fewer D vitamins than cheddar cheese, with only 6 IU. While you can get a small amount of you your daily intake from swiss cheese, your vitamin K level will greatly benefit when eating this snack.
There are three types of swiss cheeses that have varying levels of Vitamin K12. At 433 ng/g, Emmenthal has the largest amount. Alternatively, Gruyere will only provide you with just over 60 ng.
Final Thoughts on Adding Vitamin D to Your Diet
With over 40% of the world’s population being deficient in vitamin D, the time to be more intentional with our eating has arrived.
If you have children, ensuring that they are consuming the proper amount of D vitamins is even more crucial. Since children have a skeleton that has not yet finished developing, a vitamin D deficiency could cause a bone disorder called rickets.
Fortunately, it is easier now than ever before to find foods with vitamin D. There once was a time, not too long ago, where fish was the primary source.
Now, through fortification processes and regulations, along with UV photosynthesis, there are more options than we could have ever imagined.
Along with children, vegans and vegetarians used to struggle to meet their daily intake of the ‘happy vitamin’. With products like fortified soy and almond milk and fortified breakfast cereals, that no longer has to be a concern.
If you, like many in our population, face a variety of food allergies, there’s hope for you too. With supplements being made of a variety of products ranging from certain mushrooms to oyster shell, there’s an avenue available for us all to meet our daily vitamin D needs.