Top 10 Nutritious Foods That Are High in Vitamin D

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for our bodies as it serves both as a hormone produced within us and something we consume through our diet. This fat-soluble vitamin plays a crucial role in aiding the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for building strong and healthy bones. Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that can be obtained through various sources, including sunlight, vitamin D supplements, and certain foods.

It’s recommended that adults consume between 400-800 IU (20 micrograms) of vitamin D daily, according to the National Institutes of Health in the United States. While sunlight exposure is one way to get your daily dose of vitamin D, not everyone can benefit from it due to factors such as weather, work hours, or certain health conditions. However, there are several foods rich in vitamin D that you can easily add to your diet. Here you will learn more about these foods and how they can help you maintain optimal health.

Vitamin D Foods

1. Oily Fish 

Oily fish include:

  • salmon
  • trout
  • mackerel

These are rich sources of vitamin D. A 3-ounce serving of rainbow trout can provide more than 100% of the daily requirement with 645 IU of vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D in fresh salmon varies depending on the type, ranging from 383-570 IU per three ounces. Wild salmon may contain higher amounts of vitamin D than farmed. 

Other fish that are good sources of vitamin D include: 

  • halibut 
  • carp
  • swordfish 
  • catfish

Canned fish like tuna, sardines, and herring are also high in vitamin D and a cost-effective option when fresh seafood is not available. However, canned tuna can contain methylmercury, a toxin found in many types of fish. Light tuna is considered safe to eat up to six ounces per week. Sardines and herring are two types of oily fish that are rich in vitamin D. Canned sardines contain 193 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams, and herring boasts 214 IU of vitamin D per 100-gram serving.

2 . Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is a historical remedy that has been widely used to prevent and treat rickets. One tablespoon of cod liver oil contains 1360 IU of vitamin D, making it a highly concentrated source of nutrients.

3. Beef liver

Beef liver, though not for everyone, is a good source of vitamin D. A single slice of pan-fried cooked beef liver contains 40 IU of vitamin D, according to the USDA. Liver sausage is another tasty option that can be added to your diet to boost your vitamin D intake.

4. Mushrooms 

Mushrooms are the only natural vegetarian source of vitamin D, except for fortified foods. Mushrooms produce vitamin D2 when exposed to UV light, which is different from the vitamin D3 produced by humans. Wild mushrooms synthesize vitamin D from the sun, while commercially grown mushrooms are exposed to UV lamps to increase their vitamin D content. A cup of cremini mushrooms exposed to UV light can provide 1110 IU of vitamin D.

5. Egg Yolk

Eggs offer a convenient and versatile way to incorporate vitamin D into your diet. Vitamin D is found in egg yolk, not in the white. A single egg yolk provides around 41 IU of vitamin D. In recent years, eggs have shown a substantial increase in vitamin D content, with the USDA finding a 64% rise since their previous analysis in 2002. This increase is attributed to changes in the diet of egg-laying chickens, including the use of vitamin D-enriched feed. Furthermore, eggs from
free-range chickens, which roam outdoors, tend to contain even higher levels of vitamin D compared to eggs from indoor-raised chickens.

6. Fortified Foods

Fortified foods are those that have been enriched with additional nutrients that are not naturally present in the food. As only a handful of foods naturally contain vitamin D, fortified foods play a crucial role in meeting our dietary vitamin D needs.  Plant-based milk alternatives like soy, almond, and oat milk often have similar vitamin D fortification levels. 

7. Fortified cereals

Certain cereals and instant oatmeal varieties are fortified with vitamin D, and pairing them with fortified milk creates a double dose of this essential nutrient. Fortified cereals are a convenient way to add vitamin D to your diet. There are many healthy brands of cereal available that contain high levels of vitamin D. It is essential to check the label before purchasing and choose whole grain options with fewer added sugars.

9. Fortified orange juice

Oranges are mostly known for their vitamin C content, orange juice is often fortified with vitamin D to increase its nutritional value. The body can easily absorb both Vitamin D2 and D3 present in orange juice, making it an excellent source of this nutrient. Starting your day with a glass of fortified orange juice can also give you a vitamin D boost, with about 100 IU per cup (varying by brand).

10. Fortified milk 

Milk is another drink that is commonly fortified with vitamin D to help us meet our daily requirements. Most cow’s milk is fortified with approximately 120 IU of vitamin D per cup, making it an excellent calcium source as well. Though milk is not a natural source of vitamin D, manufacturers are allowed to add vitamin D3 to dairy milk and vitamin D2 to plant-based milk alternatives to enhance their nutritional value.

10. Yogurt

Yogurt is a convenient and nutritious snack, not only provides calcium and protein, but it can also be a good source of vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D in yogurt can vary depending on the brand and whether or not it has been fortified. Greek yogurt is a particularly good option as it often has more vitamin D than regular yogurt. A 6-ounce serving of Greek yogurt can contain up to 17% of the daily requirement of vitamin D. Additionally, yogurt can be a great base for other vitamin D-rich foods, such as fruit and granola, to make a well-rounded and nutritious snack.


Vitamin D is an indispensable nutrient that can be acquired from a variety of sources, including sunlight, vitamin D supplements, and certain foods. 

Incorporate oily fish such as salmon, trout, and mackerel, as well as cod liver oil, beef liver, mushrooms, egg yolks, fortified foods, yogurt, fortified orange juice, and fortified milk into your diet is an excellent way to obtain vitamins D.  Fortified foods, such as plant-based milk alternatives, cereals, instant oatmeal varieties, yogurt, fortified orange juice, and fortified milk, play a critical role in fulfilling your dietary vitamin D requirements.

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