Top Vitamin D Sources

Best vitamin D food sources
Did you know that vitamin D is one of the most important nutrients for our health?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D plays a role in almost every part of your body, from helping you absorb essential nutrients like calcium to keeping your bones strong and healthy. But did you know that it also helps protect against heart disease, brain disfunction, cancer and diabetes?
That’s why it’s important for everyone (including children) to get enough vitamin D in their diets. And unfortunately, many people aren’t getting enough—especially in winter months when there’s less sunlight available.


What is the role of vitamin D?


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can help you stay healthy. It helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are important for strong bones and teeth. It also helps your cells communicate with each other and protect your immune system – your body’s defense against germs.
Vitamin D comes from two sources: the sun and food. Your body can make its own vitamin D by using sunlight on your skin—just 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight a day will give you all the vitamin D you need (and more). However, if you live in northern climates, don’t get enough sunlight, or have darker skin tones, it’s possible that you aren’t making enough vitamin D on your own.
But you can also get it from food. If you’re homebound, sick, or older, you might not get enough vitamin D. Talk to your doctor if you think your levels are low.
“Many people are able to meet their daily requirement of vitamin D from sun exposure and a balanced diet,” says registered dietitian Anna Taylor, MS, RD, LD, CDE. “But certain groups of people are more likely to develop a deficiency.”


Because of laboratory and clinical studies showing that vitamin D does regulate genes involved in immunity, a Harvard Medical School team decided to look into whether vitamin D 2000 IUs daily could prevent autoimmune disorders and other chronic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.

“We found that vitamin D significantly reduced the risk for a composite of autoimmune disorders — a 22% significant reduction.[…] Then accounting for latency, among those who were in the trial for at least 2 years, the reduction was closer to 40%.”, said Dr JoAnn Manson, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, according to Medscape.


Foods rich in vitamin D


Which foods contain vitamin D, and how much do you need to eat?
The best sources of Vitamin D are fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, and fish liver oils. Smaller amounts are found in egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver. Certain mushrooms contain some vitamin D2; in addition some commercially sold mushrooms contain higher amounts of D2 due to intentionally being exposed to high amounts of ultraviolet light. There are also foods fortified with vitamin D, like milk and cereal.
Foods high in vitamin D


Here are a few of the top sources to help you meet your daily requirement:
• Beef liver (cooked). 3 ounces: 42 IU.
• Salmon (sockeye, cooked). 3 ounces: 447 IU.
• Sardines (canned in oil, drained). 2 sardines: 46 IU.
• Cod liver oil. 1 tablespoon: 1360 IU.
• Tuna (canned in water, drained). 3 ounces: 154 IU.
• Swordfish (cooked). 3 ounces: 566 IU.
• Egg yolk. 1 large egg: 41 IU.
• Margarine, fortified. 1 tablespoon: 60 IU.
• Swiss cheese. 1 ounce: 6 IU.
• Milk, fortified. 1 cup: 115-124 IU.
• Yogurt, fortified with 20% of the daily value of vitamin D. 6 ounces: 80 IU.
• Cereal, fortified with 10% of the daily value of vitamin D. 0.75 to 1 cup: 40 IU.
• Orange juice, fortified. 1 cup: 137 IU.



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Fortified foods


If you’re looking to boost your vitamin D intake, also consider fortified foods. These products are made to add nutrients that don’t naturally occur in the product. For instance, most milk is fortified with vitamin D and calcium is sometimes added to orange juice.
Cow’s milk and most plant alternative milks are typically fortified with vitamin D, but it’s important to look for products with no added sugar. Many types of yogurt and cereal are also fortified with vitamin D. These are top choices usually for vegetarians.


Read also: Best Vitamin D Supplements to Take This Winter


How much vitamin D do you need?


A lot of people are confused about how much vitamin D they should take. The answer depends on your age, health condition and if you’re taking other supplements.
For most children and adults, about 600 international units per day is recommended. It can range up to 4,000 international units per day depending on your health needs. (Most supplements offer about 2,000 international units of vitamin D per pill.)
If you don’t consume enough vitamin D naturally through foods or sunlight exposure (which can help your body produce its own vitamin D), then taking a supplement may be necessary for maintaining healthy levels of this important nutrient in your body.


How to boost vitamin D absorbtion from foods


Luckily, there are plenty of ways to boost your vitamin D levels naturally! Here are some simple ways to do so:
Take vitamin D with a fatty food or oil. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is absorbed by the body through fatty foods like fish and eggs. In order to have optimal absorption of vitamin D, it ideally needs to be consumed with fat in order to have optimal absorption. If you are going to eat a food source of vitamin D, it’s best to combine it with a fat source, too, like, coconut oil, nuts, seeds or fish, to help with absorption.
Spend time in sunlight. Vitamin D is often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin” because the sun is one of the best sources of this nutrient. Sunlight exposure can help your body produce its own vitamin D naturally. The human body can naturally synthesize vitamin D from sunlight or UV light exposure
Eat more mushrooms. Mushrooms and animal skins create vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. 
Mushrooms foods with vitamin D
Include egg yolks in your diet. The yolk from one large egg contains 37 IU of vitamin D, or 5% of the DV.
Eat fortified foods. Cow’s milk and most plant alternative milks are typically fortified with vitamin D. Many types of yogurt and cereal are also fortified with vitamin D.
Take a supplement with vitamin D. This is a quick and convenient way to meet your daily vitamin D intake.


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Very few vitamin D foods are available, which can make it incredibly difficult to get your fix from food sources alone. This is why, according to experts, a combination of sunlight, foods and supplements may be ideal for most children and adults. It’s generally recommended that everyone squeeze in at least 10 to 20 minutes of sun exposure several times per week in order to help meet vitamin D needs.

Read also: What Supplements You Should Be Taking, According to Doctors




Vitamin D – Harvard Edu
How to Get More Vitamin D From Your Food – Cleveland Clinic
7 Nutritious Foods That Are High in Vitamin D – Healthline
Top 18 Vitamin D Foods + How to Incorporate Them Into Your Diet –
Why You Need Vitamin D –

11 thoughts on “Top Vitamin D Sources”

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  2. Foods like eggs and fish are rich in vitamin D, but for those that are unable to get this nutrition, supplements are always available. Thanks for sharing this info!

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