Here’s your lowdown on the best vitamin D foods – from cheese and fish to mushrooms and eggs.
Vitamin D is a vitamin that is essential for good health and healthy bones by assisting the body in absorbing calcium (one of our bones’ primary elements) from diet and supplements.
If you don’t get enough vitamin D, you risk the danger of having soft and weak bones, a disease known as rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.
Our muscles require vitamin D to operate, our nerves require it to convey information between the brain and every area of the body, and our immune system requires it to combat viruses and germs.
It differs from many other vitamins in that it is a steroid hormone created from cholesterol when exposed to the sun. It’s also known as “the sunshine vitamin” for this reason.
What exactly is vitamin D?
In short, it’s a fat-soluble vitamin, which means it dissolves in fats and oils and stays in your body for longer.
There are two types of vitamin D:
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol): this is the type of vitamin D that your body produces in response to sunlight.
- Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol): this type of vitamin D is generally contained in certain plants, mushrooms and yeasts.
Cholecalciferol appears to be about twice as efficient as D2 at increasing Vitamin D blood levels.
Vitamin D aids in calcium and phosphorus absorption in the small intestine as well as their fixing in bones and teeth. This in turn results in proper bone mineralisation.
Now that you’ve learned a little about vitamin D, let’s talk about the best vitamin D foods to add to your diet if you don’t get enough sun exposure.
Foods High in Vitamin D: Overview
Salmon has the highest concentration of vitamin D. Next on the list are mackerel, tuna, sardines, herring and mollusks such as oysters. Another good food source of vitamin D is liver oil produced from fish such as cod, trout, swordfish and sturgeon.
Is it better to eat tuna pie or anchovy pasta? Both are nutritious and high in vitamin D. However, eating larger fish puts you at risk of ingesting more mercury than when it comes to little fish. Similarly, canned tuna has a lower risk of heavy metal contamination since it’s canned.
Sardines, too, have a high vitamin D content. Fresh sardines are preferable to canned sardines since they contain less salt.
Cod liver oil is regarded as a potent type of vitamin D supplement. One teaspoon per day is sufficient to prevent vitamin D insufficiency as well as vitamin A deficiency.
Vitamin D Foods: Fish High in Vit D
Here are some of the best sources of vitamin D-containing meals in fish.
Salmon, trout and char
- 100 grams of farmed salmon trout has 15.9 milligrams of vitamin D
- Fresh salmon has 10.9 mg per 100 g
- smoked salmon has 17.1 mg per 100 g
- canned salmon has 15 mg per 100 g
- High in omega-3 fatty acids
- High in vitamin D: 13.9mg of vitamin D per 100 g
However, swordfish is susceptible to mercury pollution, as are other vitamin D-containing fish such as salmon and tuna. As a result, it’s not recommended to consume more than 150g of certain varieties of fish every week.
Mackerel is another potent vitamin D food, providing 13.8mg per 100 grams. Mackerel also has a benefit in that it does not collect dangerous levels of heavy metals, which means you can eat more of it.
Tuna has less vitamin D than other fish, with 1.7 milligrams per 100 grams of fresh tuna. The good news? This vitamin isn’t lost throughout the production process, so eating canned tuna will give you the same benefit as fresh tuna.
Fish liver oil
Fish liver oil is an excellent source of vitamin D (250ug per 100 g) and vitamin A (30 mg / 100 g). Because cod liver oil is a fatty substance, it aids in the absorption of both vitamin D and vitamin A, both of which are fat-soluble.
Other Vitamin D Foods
Fish isn’t the only great example of vitamin D foods. Many dairy products also provide good sunshine vitamin levels.
Cheeses are high in fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K), minerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium), and protein.
However, it’s important to choose high-quality cheeses and limit your consumption. This is because cheese is high in fat and salt, so they should be eaten in moderation.
Here are the amounts of vitamin D in various cheese products:
- 0.16 mg of vitamin D per 100g mozzarella
- 0.18 micrograms of vitamin D per 100g cheddar
- 0.20 mcg vitamin D per 100g brie
- 0.24 mcg vitamin D per 100g gorgonzola
- 0.25 mcg vitamin D per 100 g gruyere
In addition to being a good source of vitamin D (0.6 micrograms / 100 g), yoghurt is a food that should be included in everyone’s diet because of the bacteria it contains.
These beneficial bacteria keep the gut flora in equilibrium. It is well recognised that the digestive tract contains a large portion of the immune system.
As a result, a healthy gut flora indicates a powerful immune system.
Numerous studies demonstrate that eating yoghurt on a regular basis helps to strengthen the immune system’s performance.
This is due to the bacteria in yoghurt as well as the vitamin D consumption.
Tofu is a fantastic source of protein and vitamin D for vegetarians and vegans. You get approximately a third of your daily vitamin D requirement from 100g of tofu.
The best part? Tofu may be added to salads, soups, sauces or grilled.
Did you know that the yolk of an egg contains more than 3 micrograms of vitamin D? Yep, that’s right. Not to mention that eggs are a great source of vitamin D and other macro and micronutrients. These include protein, healthy fats, carbs, vitamins (A, B2, B12, D, E, K) and minerals (calcium, selenium, zinc, iron).
Fortified cereals are rich in vitamins and minerals. As a result, a cup of cereal provides around 100IU of vitamin D. Whole grains are also high in vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Maitake mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D while also being low in calories. One cup of chopped maitake mushrooms provides over 700IU of vitamin D.
2. UV-exposed Portobello mushrooms
Ordinary portobello mushrooms have very little vitamin D. However, long exposure of these mushrooms to UV light can make them great vitamin D sources. A mushroom that has been exposed to sunlight provides around 375IU of vitamin D.
Veal liver contains 2.5 milligrams of vitamin D per 100 grams.
However, poultry liver (chicken, turkey, goose, and duck) is also a great source of vitamin D, iron and B complex vitamins, including B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12.
Vitamin D Intake: How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
The following are the general recommendations for vitamin D intakes:
- Children aged 0 to 12 months: 400 IU daily
- People aged 1 to 70, both men and women: 600 IU daily
- Pregnant women: 600 IU daily
- People over the age of 71: 800 IU per day
Vitamin D Foods Are a Great Alternative to Sunlight
If you’re not getting enough sunlight every day, there’s a good chance you’re vitamin D deficient. But all is not lost. Eating vitamin D foods such as cheese, mushrooms and eggs can help you meet your daily vit D requirement very easily.
Benefits of eating vitamin D foods include:
- They help the immune system battle colds, flu, and other infections caused by viruses and bacteria.
- They enhances calcium and magnesium absorption.
- They protect children and adolescents against rickets and adults from osteoporosis.
- They aid in the prevention of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, Crohn’s disease and irritable bowel syndrome.
- They lower the risk of cancer, especially colorectal and breast cancer.
- They aid in the maintenance of healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
There Are Also Vitamin D Supplements
If you’re not keen on changing your diet to include vitamin D foods, we’ve got good news for you: vitamin D supplements are a great alternative. Choose from vitamin D tablets, vitamin D drops and even vitamin D sprays to get your daily intake of the sunshine vitamin.