Foods Rich in Vitamin D

Ms. Sarah Farooqi

3 min read

foods with vitamin D

Your body synthesizes vitamin D in response to sun exposure. That’s why it is referred to as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ sometimes. It is naturally found in many foods as well. Foods with vitamin D help the body with many things, such as maintaining the health of teeth and bones, ensuring immune and cardiovascular health, regulating insulin levels, supporting the health of the brain and the rest of the nervous system, and protecting against conditions such as multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes.

Even though it is referred to as a vitamin, vitamin D is actually a pro-hormone and not a vitamin. The majority of people are said to have vitamin D deficiency. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to naturally increase your vitamin D levels. The best way to get vitamin D is to spend some time in the sun. However, if you are unable to do that, here are some foods with vitamin D that may help increase your vitamin D blood levels:

*IU stands for International Unit. This term is defined as the internationally accepted amount of a substance.

1- Fatty Fish

Fatty fish such as halibut, tuna, salmon, and cod are one of the best food sources of vitamin D. A 3-ounce serving of fatty fish delivers around 450 IU, which is 75% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D.

2- Eggs

Egg yolks are a good source of vitamin D. One egg has 41 IU of vitamin D, which is nearly 10% of the daily value. Free range eggs from organic farms have 30% more vitamin D than eggs from factory farms.  The higher vitamin D content found in these eggs may be because of greater sun exposure. Moreover, the eggs from organic farms contain higher levels of calcifediol, which improves absorption of calcium.

3- Some Mushrooms

Mushrooms are capable of producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, just like humans. However, most mushrooms are usually grown in the dark and so they do not contain vitamin D. Some mushrooms are grown in sunlight to boost vitamin D production. Aside from fortified foods, mushrooms are the only plant-based foods that contain vitamin D.

4- Cod Liver Oil

A tablespoon of cod liver oil has nearly 1,300 IU of vitamin D. You can take it as a supplement. It is a good source of vitamin A and omega-3s as well and acts as a great immunity booster.

5- Fortified Milk

An eight-ounce glass of cow milk has nearly 100 IU of vitamin D, but the amount can vary depending on how much is added. Almond, soy, and rice milk are often fortified as well. You can check the label before buying milk.

6- Beef Liver

Organ meat is very nutritious. A 3.5-ounce serving of cooked beef liver has nearly 50 IUs of vitamin D. It is also a good source of protein, iron, and vitamin A. However, do not go overboard with beef liver as it is high in cholesterol.

7- Salmon

Salmon is a popular fatty fish and great source of vitamin D.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Composition Database, one 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of farmed Atlantic salmon contains 526 IU of vitamin D.

Whether the salmon is wild or farmed can make a big difference.

On average, wild-caught salmon packs 988 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, or 124% of the DV. Some studies have found even higher levels in wild salmon — up to 1,300 IU per serving.

However, farmed salmon contains only 25% of that amount. Still, one serving of farmed salmon provides about 250 IU of vitamin D.

8- Orange Juice

One cup (8 fl oz) of fortified orange juice can add up to 137 IU of vitamin D to your daily total, though the NIH recommends checking the label for exact numbers because counts can vary.

Serve a glass of orange juice with breakfast or use it in this mango-strawberry smoothie recipe, a delicious and portable morning meal.

Keep in mind that it’s generally healthiest to enjoy whole fruit rather than its juice form, since the former still contains filling fiber, so drink juice in moderation. If you have a health condition for which you need to watch your carbohydrate and sugar intake, such as diabetes, it may be best to get your vitamin D from another source.

Work with your healthcare team to figure out how much, if any, orange juice is right for your diet.

9- Yogurt

Yogurt is a convenient, tasty snack — and when consumed plain or with fresh fruit, it’s healthy, too.

This type of dairy is an excellent source of good-for-the-gut probiotics, and reaching for a fortified variety will knock off between 10 and 20 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin D, depending on the brand. Many fortified varieties are flavored (meaning they’re likely to be sugar bombs), so read the nutrition label to find out what you’re getting.

If you feel that your vitamin D levels are low, consult a doctor right away. You can find and book an appointment with top Nutritionist in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad through oladoc.com. You can also call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT doctor for your health concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Ms. Sarah Farooqi - Author Sarah Farooqi is a leading Dietician at Shapes and Founder at Better You. She worked as Nutritionist at Fatima Memorial Hospital and Sheikh Zaid Hospital previously. Sarah can be seen sharing her expertise in Shapes Newsletter and at seminars on various health and nutrition topics. Sarah's special interests include: Weight Management, Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease and Hypertension.