Foods to Get More Vitamin D in Your Diet

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Why You Need Vitamin D

Sources of Vitamin D
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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that's essential for proper absorption of calcium in your digestive tract, and it helps maintain blood levels of calcium and phosphate. So, getting enough vitamin D is necessary for bone health throughout your life -- vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in kids and osteoporosis in adults. 

The thing is, people don't get much vitamin D from the diet. Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to UV rays from the sun. It only takes a few minutes of sun exposure every day to get your vitamin D, but if you live in a place where it gets colder in the winter, there's a good chance you won't get enough sun exposure for several months out of each year.

Most experts recommend a daily intake of 600 International Units. You won't find many foods that are high in vitamin D, but there are some. Flip through this slideshow to learn more about these foods.

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Maitake Mushrooms

Maitake mushrooms are high in vitamin D.
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Maitake mushrooms, or "hen in the woods" mushrooms, are a delicious and low-calorie source of vitamin D, as well as potassium and several B-complex vitamins. One cup of diced maitake mushrooms has more than 700 International Units of vitamin D. Maitake mushrooms might also have health benefits beyond being nutritious.

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Halibut

Poached halibut is high in vitamin D.
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Halibut is a good source of vitamin D, with about 200 International Units in a 3-ounce serving of fish. Halibut is also a good source of protein, B-complex vitamins, zinc, magnesium, and potassium. Eating halibut also provides you with essential omega-3 fatty acids.

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UV-Exposed Portabella Mushrooms

Portabella mushrooms exposed to UV light are high in vitamin D.
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Regular portabella mushrooms have a small amount of vitamin D, but portabellas grown with extra exposure to ultraviolet light have much more. One whole UV-exposed portabella mushroom has about 375 International Units of vitamin D. Portabellas are also an excellent source of selenium, potassium, and several B-complex vitamins.

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Salmon

Salmon is high in vitamin D.
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Fish oils contain vitamin D so it makes sense that fatty fish like salmon are good for getting vitamin D. Three ounces of fresh pink salmon have 370 International Units and three ounces of canned sockeye salmon has almost 800 International Units of vitamin D. Salmon is also an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein and an antioxidant called astaxanthin. And don't let the idea that salmon is a 'fatty fish' scare you off -- a six-ounce piece of salmon only has about 200 calories.

Healthy Salmon Recipes

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Fortified Breakfast Cereal

Breakfast Cereal is high in vitamin D if it's fortified.
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Breakfast cereal can be good for you if it's made with whole grains and is low in added sugar. It's common practice to fortify breakfast cereals with vitamins and minerals so you'll typically find about 100 International Units of vitamin D in one cup of dry cereal. Whole grain cereals are also a good source of many vitamins and minerals plus fiber.

Learn More About Breakfast Cereals

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Milk

MIlk is fortified with vitamin D.
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Milk isn't naturally a good source of vitamin D, but milk is required to be fortified with vitamin D. One cup of milk has about 125 International Units of vitamin D. Milk is also a good source of calcium, potassium, and protein.

Learn More About Milk

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Fortified Milk Alternatives

Almond milk is fortified with vitamin D.
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Milk alternatives such as soy milk and almond milk are also fortified with vitamin D and calcium. Choose from plain unsweetened milk or flavored varieties (chocolate almond milk is my favorite). These alternatives can often be used in place of cow's milk, as long as you choose a flavor that fits the meal.

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Trout

Trout Is high in vitamin D.
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Trout is another good source of vitamin D, and since it's a white fish, it has a milder flavor than oilier fish like salmon and tuna. Three ounces of rainbow trout has about 650 International Units of vitamin D. Trout is also an excellent source of protein, B-complex vitamins, and minerals.

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Eggs

Egg are high in vitamin D.
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Vitamin D is found in the yolks, so eating whole eggs is a good way to get some vitamin D in your diet. Each egg yolk has about 40 International Units of vitamin D so eating two eggs contributes 80 International Units to your daily intake. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein and lutein. One egg has about 70 calories.

Healthy Egg Recipe

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Chanterelle Mushrooms

Chanterelles are high in vitamin D.
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Chanterelle mushrooms are another good plant-based source of vitamin D. One cup of chanterelles has more than 100 International Units of vitamin D. These mushrooms are also an excellent source of potassium and low in calories -- that one cup of chanterelles has only 20 calories.

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Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is high in vitamin D.
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Canned tuna has about 40 International Units of vitamin D in a three-ounce serving so each can has about 80 International Units). Canned tuna is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, selenium and zinc. It's convenient too -- keep canned tuna on hand for sandwiches, salads and for using in recipes.

Healthy Canned Tuna Recipes

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Dietary Supplements

Vitamin D supplements are one way to get more vitamin D.
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Vitamin D is also available as a dietary supplement, either alone or combined with other nutrients. Calcium supplements usually contain vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements are generally safe but follow label directions and keep them away from young kids -- vitamin D in large amounts can become toxic over time. And you should also speak with your healthcare provider before taking vitamin D supplements if you have any health conditions.

Source

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. "Vitamin D Fact Sheet for Health Professionals." http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/.

United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 28. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search.

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