Vitamin D and its importance in human health are receiving more attention.
Among the numerous things vitamin D influences in the body is bone health. Low vitamin D levels have also been linked to an increased risk of autoimmune disorders (1Trusted Source).
Numerous individuals do not obtain enough vitamin D in their diets. Experts disagree on what optimal levels should be, making it difficult to estimate how many people are deficient (1Trusted Source).
According to studies, over 24 percent of Americans don’t get enough vitamin D. Deficit rates may be higher in other parts of the world. It is estimated that 40 percent or more of the European population is vitamin D deficient (1Trusted Source).
Our skin converts UV light into vitamin D when we go outside. There are a number of reasons why this method makes it difficult to receive adequate vitamin D.
Covering up, using sunscreen, and staying indoors during the sun’s peak hours are all good ways to lessen your chances of developing skin cancer. As for getting enough light all year round, it might be impossible in some parts of the planet.
Because of this, it’s recommended that vitamin D be obtained orally or through dietary supplements.
Daily recommended dose of vitamin D
Specifically, vitamin D has an 800 IU DV (20 mcg). Nutritional labels provide information on a product’s nutrient breakdown, including the amount of vitamin D and its percentage of the daily value. How much of your recommended daily intake of vitamin D will be met by eating this product is displayed below (2Trusted Source, 3Trusted Source).
Vitamin D should ideally be obtained from diet or nutritional supplementation.
Consult your physician to determine if you need additional vitamin D in your diet beyond what you get from the sun. You can also get assistance from them in determining if you have a deficiency.
Here are seven of the best vitamin D-rich foods you can eat.
Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D-rich salmon make it a popular choice.
One serving of farmed Atlantic salmon (around 100 grammes) has 526 IU of vitamin D, which is 66% of the daily value (DV), according to the USDA Food Composition Database (4Trusted Source).
The amount of vitamin D in salmon varies greatly depending on whether it was wild-caught or farmed.
Vitamin D levels seem to be higher in wild-caught salmon. Salmon collected at different times of the year and in different locations will have varying amounts of vitamin D.
One study found that a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion of salmon from the Baltic Sea contains between 556 and 924 IU of vitamin D, or between 70 and 111% of the DV (5Trusted Source).
2.Herring and sardines
Almost every culture enjoys this fish, and it’s one that’s commonly found in herring. Some prepare it by smoking it, while others pickle it. As a bonus, this tiny fish is loaded with vitamin D.
Vitamin A content of 214 IU per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of fresh Atlantic herring (27% DV) (6Trusted Source).
Pickled herring is a suitable alternative to fresh fish because it contains 14% of the daily value for vitamin D (113 IU) in every 3.5 ounces (100 grammes). One serving of pickled herring has 870 milligrammes of sodium. If you’re watching your sodium intake, it might not be the best choice (7Trusted Source).
Vitamin D can be found in abundance in canned sardines. The 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving size provides 24% of the daily value in vitamin E (193 IU) (8Trusted Source).
Additionally rich in vitamin D are other forms of fatty fish. Per 3.5 ounce (100 gramme) serving, halibut has 190 IU and mackerel has 643 IU of vitamin A. (9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
3.Cod liver oil
In terms of dietary supplements, cod liver oil is quite common. If you don’t like fish but still want the health benefits of fish oil, try taking cod liver oil instead.
High levels of vitamin D can be found in this food. In fact, it contains roughly 56% of the daily value (DV) per teaspoon (4.9 mL), or 450 IU. Vitamin D deficiency has been treated with this for quite some time. It has also been used historically to treat rickets, psoriasis, and TB (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).
Vitamin A is also abundant in cod liver oil, with a single teaspoon providing 150% of the daily value (4.9 mL). Extravagant doses of vitamin A are poisonous. Vitamin A has a UL of 3,000 mcg per day. Vitamin A content in cod liver oil is 1,350 mcg for every teaspoon (4.9 mL).
When taking cod liver oil or any other vitamin A supplement, make sure you don’t take more than the recommended amount (11Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Furthermore, omega-3 fatty acids can be found in abundance in cod liver oil. One possible benefit of omega-3s is a reduction in inflammation throughout the body and its potential impact on heart health. These fatty acids can be found in fatty fish and cod liver oil. It may be difficult to consume sufficient amounts of omega-3 if you don’t eat fish (14Trusted Source).
People love canned tuna because it is convenient and delicious. It’s a more cost-effective alternative than buying fresh fish.
A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) portion of canned light tuna contains 269 IU of vitamin D, or 34% of the DV (15Trusted Source).
There are many fish species that contain high levels of mercury. Mercury levels are higher in larger fish species compared to those in smaller ones. The mercury content of canned tuna varies by species.
Smaller fish are used when making light canned tuna, which means less mercury is used. Mercury levels are higher in white canned tuna (16).
Methylmercury is a toxic heavy metal that can accumulate in the body over time. It has the potential to cause major health problems in some people (16, 17).
A single weekly dish of light tuna of 3.5 ounces (100 grammes) is all that is recommended by the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). Consult your physician about how much tuna is safe for you to eat weekly if you are concerned about mercury intake (16).
Vitamin D can also be found in foods other than fish. Whole eggs are a great food and a great source of nutrition.
The yolk contains the majority of the egg’s fat, vitamins, and minerals, whereas the white contains the majority of the egg’s protein.
Each large egg’s yolk has 37 IU of vitamin D, which is equivalent to 5% of the daily value (18Trusted Source).
Egg yolks’ vitamin D content might change depending on a few circumstances.
Vitamin D levels in eggs can be raised by exposing the liquid yolk to UV radiation, feeding the chickens a diet rich in vitamin D, or simply exposing the chickens to sunlight. Eggs from chickens grown on pasture in the fresh air and sunshine have been shown to have three to four times the levels of eggs from cage-free hens (19, 20).
In addition, the yolks of eggs laid by hens fed vitamin D-fortified food might contain as much as 34,815 IU of the vitamin per 100 grammes of yolk. The yolk of an average egg weighs 17 grammes, so that means you can obtain around 2.5 times the Daily Value of vitamin D from only one egg (21Trusted Source).
Eggs from chickens kept outdoors or those advertised as being strong in vitamin D are also excellent options for meeting your daily quota.
Mushrooms, in addition to fortified meals, are the only non-animal source of vitamin D that is considered enough.
Upon exposure to UV radiation, mushrooms, like humans, produce vitamin D. (22Trusted Source).
Contrarily, animals create vitamin D3, whereas mushrooms produce vitamin D2 (22Trusted Source).
Vitamin D2 can increase vitamin D levels in the blood, although it may not be as efficient as vitamin D3 (22Trusted Source).
Because of their exposure to UV light, several varieties of wild mushroom are particularly rich in vitamin D2. Among the many varieties of mushroom, morels are found naturally in the wild. There are 136 IU of vitamin D per one cup of these mushrooms, which is 17% of the daily value (23Trusted Source).
Most mushrooms sold in stores are grown in the dark and so lack vitamin D2. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is being used to increase the vitamin D content of some mushrooms. Vitamin D content of UV-exposed cremini mushrooms is 139% of the DV per cup, with 1,110 IU (24, 25Trusted Source).
7.Vitamin D fortified foods
Vitamin D3 is a fat-soluble vitamin, and its natural food sources are limited, especially if you are a vegetarian or dislike seafood.
Fortunately, vitamin D is added to several foods that wouldn’t normally have it.
Milk from cows
Calciferol, phosphorus, and riboflavin are just a few of the numerous essential nutrients that may be found in cow’s milk (26Trusted Source).
Vitamin D is added to cow’s milk in a number of nations. One serving of fortified cow’s milk in the United States provides around 15% of the daily value for vitamin D, or 115 IU per cup (237 mL) (26Trusted Source).
Vegetarians and vegans may have a more difficult time obtaining adequate vitamin D due to the fact that it is virtually always found in animal products (27Trusted Source).
This is why many alternatives to cow’s milk, such as soy milk, are fortified with vitamin D and other minerals.
The cost may change from one brand to another. About 100-119 IU, or 13-15% of the DV, can be found in just over a cup (237 mL) of this food (28Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).
Vitamin C-rich orange drink
Sixty-five percent of the world’s population has trouble digesting lactose, and two percent have an allergy to milk (30, 31Trusted Source).
Therefore, some manufacturers add vitamin D and other nutrients, such calcium, to orange juice. With just one serving of fortified orange juice, one can get as much as 100 IU, or 12 percent of the daily value, of vitamin D to kick off the day (32Trusted Source).
However, not everyone benefits greatly from drinking orange juice. Some persons may have an exacerbation of their acid reflux symptoms as a result.
Juice can raise blood sugar levels and be problematic for those with diabetes. However, it works wonderfully as a means of combating hypoglycemia.
The breakfast cereals and oatmeal
Vitamin D may also be added to several cereals.
Wheat bran flakes have been fortified with 145 IU of vitamin D per cup, which is equivalent to 18% of the DV. There are 85 international units of vitamin D (11% of the daily value) in one serving of fortified crisp rice cereal (33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).
Keep in mind that not all breakfast cereals are created equal. If you want to know how much vitamin D a product has, it’s a good idea to read the label. Fortified cereals and oatmeal are a fantastic method to increase your vitamin D intake, even though they are not as rich in the vitamin as many natural sources.