Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient required for proper immune functioning, control of cell growth and bone development. It is fondly called the “sunshine vitamin” as the body naturally produces it when exposed to the sun. Vitamin D regulates the cellular growth and reduces systematic redness and swelling. It also promotes calcium absorption in the body, leading to stronger bones.
A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to serious health problems. Improper levels of vitamin D can make the bones soft and brittle, leading to osteoporosis. In children, vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a disease that causes the bones to soften, leading to fracture and deformity. Inadequate levels of vitamin D can also lead to other chronic health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and even cancer in extreme cases. Conversely, excess vitamin D can cause the body to absorb high concentrations of calcium, leading to risk of heart attack and kidney stones.
Recommended Daily Allowance:
An average healthy adult, aged 19 to 50 requires 200 IU of vitamin D a day. Older adults need higher levels for proper bone maintenance. People aged 51 to 70 require 400 IU while people aged above 70 need 600 IU of vitamin D.
Top 20 Vitamin D Rich Foods:
There are only a few natural sources of vitamin D. However, most of the packaged foods like soy drinks, orange juice, butter and milk come fortified with vitamin D these days. Here is a list of foods rich in vitamin D you can include in your diet.
Fish with high oil content like herring, mackerel, salmon and tuna are excellent sources of vitamin D. A single fillet of herring provides 306 IU of vitamin D, nearly half the daily value for an adult. A 100 grams of canned salmon provides 91% of the daily recommended value of vitamin D. Mackerel fish is also a reliable source of vitamin D. This cold-water fish can be enjoyed both canned and raw. Besides providing vitamin D, oily fishes can also help you obtain nutrients like calcium, protein and phosphorus.
Mushrooms are one of the most viable sources of vitamin D. They are another rich vitamin D foods. Mushroom is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays while growing, which increases its vitamin D value. The amount of vitamin D varies according to its type and varieties. White mushrooms, better known as button mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D. 4 shiitake mushrooms provide a modest 3% of the daily value of vitamin D and 140 calories. A cup of diced mushroom provides a hearty 64% of the daily value of vitamin D, while being extremely low in calories. Mushrooms also provide several other health benefits.
3. Whole milk:
Most of the packaged milk is fortified with vitamin D these days. You need to drink high amounts of fortified whole milk to stay healthy and fit. A cup of fortified milk will provide 21% of the daily vitamin D value.
4. Cod liver oil:
Cod liver oil is one of the easiest ways to get your daily dose of vitamin D. It is more of a supplement than food. Cod liver oil is obtained from the liver of the codfish. It is usually available in the form of capsules. 1 teaspoon of cod liver oil will provide you with 450 IU of vitamin D and 41 calories. This golden oil is also rich in omega 3 fatty acids that can help promote bone health and fight osteoporosis in adults.
Soy products like tofu and tempeh are foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Make sure you check the nutritional label before purchasing the soy products. A 100-gram serving of fortified tofu can provide you with 39% of the daily value of vitamin D. Tofu is high in protein too.
Swizz, goat and ricotta cheese are viable sources of both vitamin C and D. Vitamin C and D are required to make you feel healthy and look younger. 1 slice of Swizz cheese can provide you with 6 IU of vitamin D. A ½ cup serving of ricotta cheese serving can contribute 12 IU of vitamin D. 1 ounce of goat cheese, on the other hand, provides 6 IU of vitamin D. Add a slice of cheese to your sandwich or burger or sprinkle a handful of shredded cheese over your pasta or pizza. While cooking, substitute white pasta for wheat and add more fresh vegetables and herbs to boost the nutrient levels.
[ Read: 20 Vitamin C Rich Foods ]
The wide variety of nutrients found in the eggs can help promote healthy hair, nails and body. A whole, large egg can provide you with 7% of the daily-recommended value of vitamin D. The yolk of the egg can help you get 6% of the daily value of vitamin D. Egg yolk also provides nutrients like Vitamin A, E, K, D, iron and zinc. Besides, eggs also contain protein, sulfur, essential amino acids and choline.
[ Read: 20 Vitamin A Rich Foods ]
Fish eggs can also play an important part in a healthy and balanced diet. One serving of caviar egg provides 19 UI of vitamin D. Caviar also contains a chock full of immune boosting nutrients like vitamins, minerals and essential fats.
9. Soy milk:
Soymilk is an excellent source of both calcium and vitamin D. One cup provides around 102 IU of vitamin D, equaling to 12/5 of the daily value. It also provides 6% of the daily value of calcium.
Oysters are known for their incredible nutritional properties. It is one of the best sources of vitamin D. Six medium oysters can provide 67% of the daily value of vitamin D, along with other nutritional benefits. It contains a chock full of vitamins and minerals that can keep you young and healthy.
11. Orange juice:
A glass of orange juice is a healthy way to start the day. You can meet your required levels of vitamin D by drinking fortified orange juice. Most of the brands these days offer vitamin D fortified orange juice as it is not naturally present in fruits and vegetables, including orange. One serving of orange juice can provide 100 IU of vitamin D.
Like most of the whole grain products, oatmeal is also fortified with vitamin D. Along with vitamin D, oats also provide healthy vitamins and minerals. One packet of fortified oatmeal provides 154 IU of vitamin D, amounting to 26% of the daily value. Make sure you check the nutritional label before purchasing the packaged oatmeal.
13. Pork tenderloin:
Pork tenderloin makes a versatile main dish. You can prepare it in various ways with a plethora of spices. In fact, pork tenderloin contains less fat than a chicken breast. It is also a vital source of vitamin D. A 100 grams serving provides 10 IU of vitamin D and 159 calories.
In addition to milk, cereals are also fortified with essential nutrients including vitamin D. The brands and types of cereal vary widely, so check the label for proper information. One cup of fortified cereals can provide you with up to 30% of the daily recommended value of vitamin D.
15. Beef liver:
Beef liver is a good source of a variety of vitamins, mineral and other nutrients. It is quite low in calories and fat, as compared to other kinds of red meat. Beef liver can also help you meet your daily levels of vitamin D. A 100 grams serving provides 50 IU of vitamin D. Beef liver provides nutrients like thiamin, iron and protein.
Shrimps are gaining extreme popularity as more of its health benefits are coming to the surface. The high levels of omega 3 fatty acids contribute to bones, while reducing inflammation and lowering cholesterol. 3 ounces of shrimp provide 2 IU of vitamin D. It is also a great source of protein, vitamin B12 and vitamin E.
[ Read: 10 Vitamin B1 Rich Foods ]
Butter contains a small, yet significant amount of vitamin D. One stick provides 9 IU of vitamin D and 102 calories. Butter does have a bad reputation for being high in saturated fats, but remember saturated fats are required to help the body absorb antioxidants and vitamin D. Consume butter in moderation for a healthy and balanced diet.
18. Sour cream:
Just like butter, sour cream also has a bad rap. It is mainly associated with unhealthy snacks and meals. However, not many know that sour cream is one of the vitamin D rich foods as well. 1 tablespoon of sour cream provides 2 IU of vitamin D. It provides protein, potassium, vitamin and calcium as well.
Salami and sausages are moderate sources of vitamin D. A 100 grams serving of Salami provides 62 IU of vitamin D, while sausages provide 55 IU. Consume salami and sausages in moderation as they contain high levels of sodium that can raise cholesterol level, increasing the risk of stroke, heart attack and hypertension.
Dairy products like cottage cheese, cheese and yogurt are often fortified with vitamin D to increase the calcium absorption. Yogurt is one of the best foods to stay young and healthy. A cup of fortified yogurt can help you meet 20% of the daily value of vitamin D.
Vitamin D Content of Some Common Foods
|Food||Serving Size||Vitamin D (IU)|
|Vegetables and Fruit||This food group contains very little of this nutrient|
|Orange juice, fortified with vitamin D||125 mL (½ cup)||50|
|Grain Products||This food group contains very little of this nutrient.|
|Milk and Alternatives|
|Soy beverage, fortified with vitamin D||250 mL (1 cup)||123|
|Milk (3.3 % homo, 2%, 1%, skim, chocolate milk)||250 mL (1 cup)||103-105|
|Skim milk powdered||24 g (will make 250 mL of milk)||103|
|Soy beverage, fortified with vitamin D||250 mL (1 cup)||88|
|Yogurt (plain, fruit bottom), fortified with vitamin D||175 g (3/4 cup)||58-71|
|Meat and Alternatives|
|Egg, yolk, cooked||2 large||57-88|
|Pork, various cuts, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||Jun-60|
|Deli meat (pork, beef, salami, bologna)||75 g (2 ½ oz)/ 3 slices||30-54|
|Beef live, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||36|
|Fish and Seafood|
|Salmon, sockeye/red, canned, cooked or raw||75 g (2 ½ oz)||530-699|
|Salmon, humpback/pink, canned, cooked or raw||75 g (2 ½ oz)||351-497|
|Salmon, coho, raw or cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||326-421|
|Snapper, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||392|
|Salmon, chinook, raw or cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||319-387|
|Whitefish, lake, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||369|
|Mackerel, Pacific, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||342|
|Salmon, Atlantic, raw or cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||181-246|
|Salmon, chum/keta, raw or cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||203-221|
|Mackerel, canned||75 g (2 ½ oz)||219|
|Herring, Atlantic, pickled||75 g (2 ½ oz)||210|
|Trout, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||150-210|
|Herring, Atlantic, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||161|
|Roe, raw||30 g (1 oz)||145|
|Sardines, Pacific, canned||75 g (2 ½ oz)||144|
|Halibut, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||144|
|Tuna, albacore, raw or cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||82-105|
|Mackerel, Atlantic, cooked||75 g (2 ½ oz)||78|
|Tuna, white, canned with water||75 g (2 ½ oz)||60|
|Fats and Oils|
|Cod liver oil||5 mL (1 tsp)||427|
|Margarine||5 mL (1 tsp)||25|
|Goats milk, fortified with Vitamin D||250 mL (1 cup)||100|
|Rice, oat, almond beverage, fortified with Vitamin D||250 mL (1 cup)||88-90|
|Source - dietitians.ca|