It may not be possible to acquire your recommended amount of vitamin D by standing in the sun every day. However, this is where vitamin D-rich foods come into play. Unfortunately, many of us have little knowledge of these foods and may overlook them in our diets.
As a result, incorporating these items into your diet will aid in increasing your vitamin D levels.
The post below will teach you which foods are high in vitamin D. To learn more, keep scrolling down!
What Is Vitamin D and What Does It Do?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble mineral produced when the skin is exposed to UVB rays in direct sunshine. It is a one-of-a-kind vitamin that is required for a variety of tasks, including the preservation of healthy bones, muscles, and teeth, cell development control, optimal immunological and neuromuscular function, and overall health.
Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a disorder in which the bones do not form and function properly.
The finest natural source of vitamin D is ultraviolet sunlight. They make vitamin D3 from a substance found in your skin. This is carried to the liver and kidneys, where it is converted into active vitamin D.
Long-term exposure to the sun, on the other hand, can increase the risk of skin cancer. To minimize vitamin D insufficiency, you should limit your sun exposure.
The fact that this vitamin isn’t available in many foods is a disadvantage. There are a variety of foods and goods that claim to include vitamin D but are fortified with synthetic vitamin D. There are only a few foods that are high in vitamin D.
Foods Rich In Vitamin D
There are a variety of vitamin D meals to choose from, ranging from naturally occurring to supplementation. Take a look at some of the best natural vitamin D sources:
(1) The sun
A daily dose of vitamin D can be obtained by taking a 30-minute walk in the sun, which is difficult to obtain otherwise. I’m referring to direct touch, not the rays that are dispersed by your window glass.
It all happens rapidly, especially during the summer. The sun’s rays encourage the creation of vitamin D in our bodies when they touch our skin. The more time spent in the sun, the more vitamin D is produced. When in the sun, expose at least your face, arms, and hands, or an equivalent region of your body, to enhance your vitamin D levels. This is because vitamin D cannot be created if your skin is coated in layers. Remove them till your skin turns pink, and you’ve completed your vitamin D dose for the day.
Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to throw away your lifesaver scarves, hats, or gloves entirely. Dropping them now and then to receive some sunshine appears to be a nice solution. Always remember to apply sunscreen, whether you’re wearing layers or not.
(2) Dietary supplements
Taking vitamin D pills is another option to get more vitamin D in your diet.
Vitamin D pills come in two varieties: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Plants and yeast produce the former, also known as ergocalciferol. This is the most common type of vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D3, also known as cholecalciferol, is another type of vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D in this form is the most active. Because both vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 are inactive in the body, they must be converted into calcitriol, which is an active form.
Caution: Before taking any of the supplements listed above, talk to your doctor to rule out any potential drug interactions or adverse reactions.
Another fish that contains a lot of vitamin D.
Omega-3 fatty acids are abundant in mackerels. Just 3.5 ounces of mackerel will provide you with 90 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin D. As a result, those who eat more of these fish will be able to obtain the vital minerals and vitamins that the human body cannot create on its own.
Vitamin D is abundant in herring.
Herring fish contain a lot of vitamin D because they eat plankton, which is high in vitamin D.
Pickled, smoked, or creamed, these gleaming gray fish are eaten. Herring are high in healthy fats and other essential nutrients, making them a nutritious complement to your diet. They’re also high in vitamin B12, selenium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron, all of which help in muscular development.
Caviar is a prominent component in sushi, and each 100-gram meal contains 232 IU of vitamin D.
This fish has a gritty texture and a delicious flavor. It makes a great appetizer. It’s high in minerals like selenium, iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, and it’s a nutrient powerhouse. Vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folates, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid are among the vital vitamins found in them.
Sardines are becoming increasingly popular as a result of their numerous health benefits. They are one of the greatest vitamin D sources.
Sardines provide 70% of your recommended dietary supply of vitamin D in just a tiny amount. The vitamin D content of this fish is 270 IU per 100 grams. Vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and selenium are all abundant in them. The high omega-3 fatty acid concentration aids in bone health, cholesterol reduction, and inflammation reduction.
(7) Canned Tuna
Vitamin D is abundant in canned tuna.
Three ounces of tuna contains half of the vitamin D your body requires.
The most healthy tuna is fresh, wild-caught tuna. Furthermore, eating oily fish, which lubricates the body, has other health benefits such as improved memory and proper brain function. Light tuna contains the most vitamin D and contains less mercury than white tuna.
(8) Flounder/Sole Fish
Flatfish such as sole and flounder contain one-fourth of the daily vitamin D requirement. The best fish to eat are Pacific flounder and sole.
(9) Ricotta Cheese
Vitamin D is abundant in ricotta cheese.
Among all milk by-products, ricotta cheese is the only source of vitamin D. It has five times the amount of vitamin D as other cheeses.
It has a high quantity of vitamin D in it, roughly 25 IU per serving.
Eggs contain a tiny amount of vitamin D.
Incorporating one egg into your daily diet will offer you with 10% of the needed vitamin D consumption. Hens bred on pasture spend a lot of time outside. As a result, when compared to other eggs on the market, their eggs have the highest vitamin D content.
Eggs are high in vitamin D, as well as vitamin B12 and protein.
Vitamin D is also found in some cereals.
Check the nutritional value on the label of cereals before purchasing them to obtain an idea of the proportion of vitamin D content. Choose ones that have at least 100 IU of vitamin D in them. All bran cereals contain 131 IU of vitamin D, however, fruit-flavored cereals include only 11 IU.
Oysters are one of the best sources of vitamin D.
Oysters from the wild provide 320 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams, which is more than 80 percent of our daily requirement. Oysters are also high in vitamin B12, zinc, iron, manganese, selenium, and copper, among other nutrients.
Though raw oysters have a higher nutritional value, they should be cooked thoroughly before consuming them to kill any hazardous bacteria.
Note: Oysters are high in cholesterol and should be used in moderation, especially by persons with heart disease.
(13) Soy products
Tofu has 581 IU of vitamin D per 79-gram serving. One cup of ordinary light soya milk contains 338 IU of vitamin D, whereas calcium-fortified soy milk contains 297 to 313 IU. Soy yogurt, which has 161 IU of vitamin D, is another option.
Margarine spreads are vitamin D-enhanced, making them a tasty option.
It is a healthier option than regular butter because it includes 65 percent less saturated fats. It is one of the vitamin D-rich foods. Margarine also has a reasonable quantity of omega-3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, making it a suitable breakfast option.
Good news for butter lovers everywhere! This ‘fatty’ food is known to contain a modest quantity of vitamin D, even though it is often frowned upon by dieters.
Butter is a saturated fat that is necessary for the body to absorb antioxidants and vitamins. It also aids in the assimilation of vitamin D from other sources.
Always keep in mind that quantity is everything. Don’t go crazy with the butter. It can truly be a nutritious supplement to your diet when used in moderation.
With the number of fish foods on this list, it’s clear that there’s no other source of vitamin D that can compete with fish. Of course, there are those sun rays! Swordfish has been added to the list.
This tasty type, in addition to providing a multitude of health advantages, is known to give 100% vitamin D (about 566 IU) per 3-ounce serving. Go ahead and give it a shot right now!
So that was all about vitamin D-rich foods. Continue reading to learn more about vitamin D production and the factors that control it.
Salmon contains a lot of fat, which makes it a good source of vitamin D. Around 3.5 ounces of salmon will offer you 80 percent of your daily vitamin D requirement.
The goal is to get wild-caught salmon or fish that has been responsibly farmed. Alaskan salmon has 5 times the amount of vitamin D as Atlantic salmon, making it the healthier option. Half a fillet of sockeye salmon has 1400 IU of vitamin D, which is more than double the daily requirement.
Vitamin D is abundant in mushrooms.
Mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D.
This genius thrives in the sun and is excellent at absorbing it, making it a good source of vitamin D. Mushrooms also include B-complex vitamins such as B1, B2, and B5, as well as minerals such as copper.
Vitamin D levels in mushrooms vary depending on the kind and species. Among all mushrooms, shitake mushrooms are thought to be the finest source of vitamin D.
Always choose mushrooms that have been dried naturally rather than artificially.
To increase the vitamin D content of raw mushrooms, expose them to UV light. Before putting the mushrooms out, slice them. This will assist them in absorbing more UV rays, resulting in more vitamin D in your meals.
Halibut is a favorite among fish enthusiasts because of its solid white meat and pleasant flavor. This flatfish is a nutrient-dense diet that includes phosphorus, selenium, vitamins B12 and B6, and omega-3 fatty acids, among other minerals and vitamins. Halibut is also a good source of vitamin D, with 100 grams of the fish providing 1097 IU of the sunshine vitamin.
(20) Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil, which is high in vitamin D, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids, has been a popular supplement for many years.
Regular consumption of this oil promotes healthy and strong bones, helps individuals avoid osteoporosis, and improves cognitive activity.
Tip – If you don’t like the strong smell of cod liver oil, it’s also available in capsule form.
Catfish, like herring, devour plankton and other small water creatures that produce vitamin D from sunlight.
They’re low in calories, and they’re high in vitamins, protein, and healthy fats. One fillet of catfish has 200 percent of the recommended daily requirement of vitamin D, while 159 grams of catfish contains 795 UI.
(22) Beef Liver
Beef liver is a strong source of vitamin D, with 3 ounces containing 42 IU, or about one-fourth of the daily vitamin D need.
Beef is also high in iron, vitamin B12, and protein. Grass-fed beef is the greatest choice for consumption because it is high in all important elements. Protein and thiamin are also present.
(23) Carp Fish
Vitamin D is also abundant in carp fish. Did you know that one hundred grams of cod contain 988 IU of vitamin D?
This fish also contains vitamins A, D, E, and K, niacin, riboflavin, and minerals including zinc, copper, magnesium, and salt, in addition to vitamin D.
Salami contains 62 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams, while sausages have 55 IU per 100 grams.
Although salami, ham, and sausages are high in vitamin D, they also contain a lot of sodium, which can raise cholesterol levels. Salami and ham in excess can raise your risk of stroke, hypertension, and heart attack.
A single glass of milk contains 20% of your daily vitamin D intake.
Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, skimming milk eliminates it. As a result, use whole-fat milk whenever possible. Nowadays, however, skimmed milk is fortified with vitamin D to ensure that you get enough of this essential ingredient.
Keep in mind that dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and ice cream don’t include vitamin D or vitamin D that has been fortified. This nutrient is only found in fluid milk and products prepared from whole milk.
(26) Orange Juice
Vitamin D is abundant in orange juice.
One of the greatest sources of vitamin D. The finest way to start your day is with a glass of fresh orange juice. If fresh fruits aren’t accessible, packaged juices are an option. This is ideal for folks who are allergic to dairy.
Vitamin D is abundant in orange juice that has been packaged. One cup of orange juice contains 120 calories and 100 IU of vitamin D.
139 IU of vitamin D is found in 85 grams of shrimp. Omega-3s, protein, selenium, antioxidants, and fat content are all reasonable. You don’t have to worry about gaining weight if you eat this fish.
(28) Sour Cream
Apart from adding a pleasant twist to food, sour cream is also considered to be high in vitamin D.
To reap the best health benefits, include this dip in your diet. Sour cream is high in proteins, vitamin A, potassium, and calcium, among other nutrients. What’s more, what’s more, what’s more, what’s more, Sour cream contains just 28 calories per spoonful. Isn’t it healthier than you expected?
(29) Vanilla Yogurt
Vitamin D is abundant in vanilla yogurt.
If you don’t want to consume any of the meaty delights, a cup of vanilla yogurt is a great alternative. Yogurt is important for your health as well as your taste senses.
Vanilla yogurt is known to have 115 IU of vitamin D per serving. I’d say a significant amount. To receive 20% of your daily vitamin D requirement, choose a brand that is fortified with vitamin D.
Note: This option is a definite no-no for weight watchers, as a cup of vanilla yogurt includes approximately 208 calories.
Vitamin D Dosage Recommendations
Vitamin D’s Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) is expressed in international units (IU). The RDA for vitamin D is 600 IU for adults aged 1-70 years, according to research released in 2010. Infants, on the other hand, should get 400 IU of vitamin D per day. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need 600-2000 IU per day, depending on their health. Similarly, for adults above the age of 71, the RDA rises to 800 IU and higher.
Factors That Influence Vitamin D Production In Your Skin
Vitamin D production in the body isn’t only determined by the foods you eat or the amount of time you spend in the sun. This is a very particular process that is influenced by things that have nothing to do with your diet or activity, such as your physical and genetic structure. Take a look at this:
1. Tan Level And Skin Color
Have you ever wondered why persons with light skin are more susceptible to UV exposure and skin cancer? It’s due to their high melanin content. This is also significant for the creation of vitamin D.
After 15-20 minutes of exposure, those with pale skin reach the vitamin D production balance point. Any additional exposure will be harmful.
In the case of dark-skinned persons, this time duration is doubled or even quadrupled, depending on melanin levels.
If you fall into the first category, walk outside for 15 minutes or fewer, wearing only a few layers of clothing. While using a tanning bed is an option, you should avoid it if at all possible.
Those that fall into the second category can spend more time outside. But don’t go overboard; stop the treatment as soon as your skin turns a faint pink color.
2. The Amount Of Time Spent In The Sun
The amount of time you spend in direct sunlight is also essential.
When compared to others, those who spend less time outside are more likely to be vitamin D deficient. However, as previously stated, this is entirely dependent on your skin type and color. Don’t stay out in the sun for longer than is necessary. It has the potential to cause burns and possibly skin cancer.
It’s important to remember that your body is not a machine. Even if you spend the entire day in the sun, it will only create a certain quantity of vitamin D.
Examine your skin to see if you’ve obtained your daily dose of vitamin D. You’re done when it turns pink. While a tan is beneficial, it should not be used to the detriment of your skin.
3. The Weather Situation
The amount of vitamin D your body can make is also influenced by the weather.
Cloudy days, despite being quite cool, might be deceiving. Even cloudy days can induce sunburns, which you may not be aware of. This is because, whereas clouds block infrared rays, they can only filter certain UV radiation and cannot completely prevent them.
In addition, whether the weather is clear or not, snow, sand, and water reflect UV light, increasing its intensity. In polluted locations, such as cities surrounded by hills, UV penetration is limited to a minimum.
4. The Concepts Of Latitude And Altitude
Folks, here’s some geography for you.
As you probably know, the sun’s radiation is strongest in the equator and diminishes as we move closer to the poles. As a result, UV radiation levels are 4 to 5 times higher in places around the equator than in the Antarctic and Arctic circles.
When compared to plains and seas, this effect is strongest at higher altitudes since there is less atmosphere to absorb. It may seem counterintuitive, but sunburns are more likely in the mountains than on the plains.
The most evident factor related to UV radiation is the season. Greater sun equals more vitamin D in the summer. However, keep an eye on your vitamin D levels throughout the winter months, since they can drop by as much as 50%. So, go ahead and relax in the sun.
6. The Time Of Day
The time of day is also significant. The best time to sunbathe is between 7 and 9 a.m.
This is an ideal moment because even brief exposure to UV rays can deliver adequate vitamin D for the entire day.
A Cautionary Note
Overdosing on any substance can have negative consequences, and this vitamin is no exception. Its overdose can result in nausea, a loss of appetite, constipation, weight loss, weakness, and kidney damage, among other things.
These problems usually emerge when you take too many vitamin D tablets. Keep an eye out for supplements with active components.
It is not recommended to consume more than 4000 IU each day, whether through the sun, diet, or supplements.
Vitamin D is recognized to be good for the health of our bones and teeth. Mushrooms, eggs, salmon, sardines, and other fish and dairy alternatives are good sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D supplements, as well as fortified milk and cereals are frequent ways to keep your levels up to par.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not to be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
P.S- Consider sharing this post, if you find it useful and/or interesting.
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.