6 Easy Ways to Eat More Vitamin D-Rich Foods
Eating plenty of these vitamin D-rich foods should help ensure you get your daily dose of the “sunshine vitamin.”
The problem: Vitamin D isn’t found in many foods
According to Harvard Medical School, 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need. That’s because the vital bone-strengthening vitamin–plus these 23 vitamin D benefits that can save your life–is the only one that your body can make itself. “But with desk jobs and increased sunscreen use, sometimes it’s not possible to get enough sun exposure to get your vitamin D,” says Wesley McWhorter, MS, RD, chef and dietitian at UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston. While there aren’t many rich food sources of this vitamin, the following will ensure you’re getting your fill. (Are you getting enough? Find out these 9 signs your body might not be getting enough vitamin D).
Fatty fish (like salmon, halibut, cod, and tuna) is one of the best food sources of vitamin D, says McWhorter. A 3-ounce fillet delivers about 450 International Units (IU), which is close to the 600 IU that experts recommend most people eat daily.
Especially the yolks—all of the vitamin D in an egg is found in the yolk. “But definitely eat the whole egg, because you get so many other nutrients from eggs,” says McWhorter. One large egg contains roughly 40 IUS. Wondering whether your numbers are adding up? Here are the signs you should get your vitamin D levels checked by a professional.
One way to get your recommended vitamin D allowance is to choose fortified foods like milk, cereal, and orange juice with added vitamin D (check the label). Some can contain at least 100 IUS. Just remember, there are caveats to fortified foods. Look for added fiber and low sugar content in cereal, and don’t heavily rely on juice for your vitamin intake. “It’s always better to eat a food rather than drink a juice, because juices don’t provide fiber and can contain too much sugar,” says McWhorter.
Cod liver oil
In just one tablespoon, cod liver oil contains about 1,300 IU of vitamin D—more than any other food on this list. It is also rich in omega-3s and vitamin A. “Just keep in mind that it’s always better to consume the food than depend on a supplement,” says McWhorley. Here’s what you should know before taking a vitamin D supplement.
Oysters are surprisingly high in nutrients like vitamin D, vitamin B12, copper, zinc and selenium with a super-low calorie count (roughly 57 calories for a half-dozen!). They contain almost 300 IU per a half-dozen serving, or even more, depending on the type of oyster. Discover the diets that put you at risk for a vitamin D deficiency.
Mushrooms are the only plant-based food that can contain vitamin D, aside from fortified foods, says McWhorter. Just like humans, mushrooms produce the vitamin only when exposed to light, so those grown indoors may contain very little. If you are planning on getting your vitamin D from mushrooms, experts from Berkeley recommend making sure they’re exposed to adequate levels of UV light or sunlight (some companies specifically advertise this; while vitamin D content varies, some types can provide the daily recommendations with just one serving).