Top 12 Foods High in Vitamin D

With all the fast food joints, microwaved meals and snack foods that have become the staple of the American diet, your need for essential nutrients has never been greater! Especially found wanting is getting even the minimum daily requirement of Vitamins and minerals.

The American diet has been found to be particularly low in Vitamin D. [1] D is naturally produced by your own body when you're outside in the sun as your skin converts sunlight into Vitamin D. But recently, with all the press regarding the danger of skin cancer developing from too much exposure to the sun, people are actually protecting themselves from too much sun and as a result are progressively becoming more and more Vitamin D deficient.

The good news is . . . you can get all the Vitamin D you need by switching up your diet to include the top 12 Vitamin D foods that we'll share with you in this short, helpful article. It's easy to get the Vitamin D your body needs. To make up for the your likely D deficiency simply add to your diet some of our listed foods with Vitamin. Continue reading to learn how to select what foods have Vitamin D.

Here's Our Top 12 Picks for Foods High in Vitamin D

#1 - Cod Liver Oil

Even though it's really not a food, Cod Liver Oil is regarded by some as the holy grail of Vitamin D. Just a 100g serving of cod liver oil contains 10,000 IUs of Vitamin D. [2] It comes from essential oil that is extracted from the liver of Atlantic cod and is commonly taken as a dietary supplement. If you don't like eating fish, this is a great alternative - just pop a couple of soft gel capsules each day. Not only is it great for boosting your D levels, but it also helps to prevent rickets and other conditions that result from Vitamin D deficiency. As a side benefit, it's high in Vitamin A as well.

#2 - Fatty Fish

If you are among those who do not eat fatty fish, you're definitely missing the boat. Salmon, in particular has proved itself to be a nutritional luminary, especially when we're talking about foods rich in Vitamin D. Wild-caught salmon contains, on average, 988 IUs of Vitamin D per 100g serving. [3] Wild salmon has higher levels, with 1,300 IUs per serving. [4] Apart from salmon, other fatty fish include swordfish, trout, mackerel, and canned light tuna are among the best. Trout, another type of fatty fish, provides 635 IUs per 100g of Vitamin. [5] If you have a penchant for budget friendly options, go with canned light tuna as it contains 236 IUs of Vitamin D per 100g serving. [6]

#3 - Herring and Sardines

Herring and sardines don't always get the most love, however, if you want to improve your D levels, you should seriously load your plate with these nutrient-dense types of fish. An excellent food with Vitamin D, fresh Atlantic boneless herring is packed with 1,628 IUs per 100g serving. [7] If you prefer something other than fresh fish, then you can go with pickled herring. It can be handy to have in the fridge and is great when you need to prepare a meal in a jiffy. What's more, pickled herring has 680 IUs per 100g serving. Sardines, from the same fish family as herring, contain a significant amount of Vitamin D, at 272 IUs per 100g serving. [8]

#4 - Caviar (fish roe)

This luxury food is usually served as a garnish or spread consisting of salt-cured fish eggs. According to the USDA, caviar contains 117 IUs per 100g serving [9], making it one of the top Vitamin D rich foods. Caviar in the U.S. mostly comes from farmed fish around the world. It can command hundreds of dollars for just a dollop, ranging from over $100 to nearly $500 per 50g tin. People joke about needing a bank loan before they can get their hands on a jar of fancy fish eggs. Fortunately, you can find options that you can take home for under $35 an ounce. These include roe from hackleback sturgeon and tobiko. [10]

#5 - Shrimp

You've probably heard some people referring to shrimp as bottom feeders, a poor description for this highly nutritious Vitamin D food and low-calorie crustacean. With 152 IUs per serving [11], shrimp is one of your best ways to fill up on Vitamin D. And because it's very low in fat, it is highly recommended if you're keen on losing those extra calories. And as if that isn't good enough, shrimp is loaded with selenium, which is believed to be vital in preventing tumor growth by boosting the immune system.

#6 - Oysters

Whether you like them raw, cooked or on the half shell, oysters help you reach your daily D requirement. Another shellfish type of food high in Vitamin D, oysters provide up to 320 IUs for every 100g serving. [12] If you consume six medium oysters a day, you get 67% of the daily value of Vitamin D. Aside from giving your D levels a spike, oysters are also rich in Vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin B12, copper, zinc, and iron.

#7 - Mushrooms

Did you know that you can maximize Vitamin D by including this particular fungi in your diet? Plant foods have been declared to contain no natural Vitamin D, however, the Institute of Medicine recognizes that mushrooms are the exception to this rule. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one type of mushroom called maitake contains an astounding 943 IUs of Vitamin D per 84g serving (raw). [13] Portabella is another topnotcher at 493 IUs, primarily when exposed to ultraviolet light and grilled. When raw and exposed to UV light, the portabella mushroom tips the scales at 375 IUs. [14]

#8 - Fortified Cereals and

If you want to know what foods are high in Vitamin D in addition to seafood and fungi, the answer is in your cupboard: cereals and instant oatmeal fortified with Vitamin D. A half-cup serving can contain between 55 and 154 IUs.[15] Certain brands, such as POST Grape-Nuts, boast of 80 IUs per 1-cup serving. [16] The products are usually further enhanced when they are enriched with milk. When choosing a brand, you'll want to check the label to see how much D you're getting in each box.

#9 - Fortified Orange Juice

That staple on your breakfast table is another D booster. Good old OJ fortified with Vitamin D can have as much as 137 IUs per one-cup serving. [17] According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN), fortifying orange juice with Vitamin D can improve Vitamin D intake and help prevent certain conditions such as osteoporosis. The publication adds that fortification of food with Vitamin D is an inexpensive approach to ensure that children and adults get adequate Vitamin D nutrition. [18]

#10 - Malted Milk

Who knew that an infant's drink would turn out to be suitable for adults and provide excellent nutritional value for older people? Malted milk is made from whole milk powder, malted barley, and wheat flour. According to information provided by the New York State Department of Health, this is among several fortified foods that contain Vitamin D and it has 326 IUs per 8-oz serving. [19] When checking out options in the market, make sure to select a brand with Vitamin D added.

#11 - Egg Yolks

There is a new saying that goes: An egg yolk a day keeps the doctor away. However, due to fear of fat and cholesterol, way too many people insist on using only egg whites and tossing the egg yolks without realizing that much of the nutrition is in the yellow stuff. Egg yolks are actually among the best food sources of Vitamin D. A hard-boiled egg has 87 IUs of Vitamin D per 100g [20] while the yolk of a fresh, raw egg has 218 IUs. [21] Eggs from free-range chickens have D levels that are three to four times higher. [22] Eggs produced by chicken fed with Vitamin D-enriched feed have higher Vitamin D levels - 6,000s IU per yolk. [23]

#12 - Fortified Tofu

When you perform a search for "what food has Vitamin D", it's possible that you won't often find fortified tofu in the list. If there is one type of processed food rich in Vitamin D that should definitely be a part of your diet, it's tofu. A typical serving size of 100g can contain as much as156 IUs. [24] According to New York State Department of Health data, a 3-oz serving of tofu contains 80 IUs of Vitamin D. [25] Before choosing a tofu brand, take time to read the label and check that Vitamin D is in it. If you're totally clueless on what to do with tofu, one way to use it is to add it to traditional stir-fry and noodle dishes.

The Importance of Quality Vitamin D Supplementation

If your daily habits include eating foods that have Vitamin D and spending time outdoors, then good for you. But if you aren't particular about the food you eat and aren't outside that much, then supplementing with Vitamin D is a necessity especially in light of the finding that Vitamin D deficiency is now a global epidemic. [26] In the United States alone, over 60% of the population suffers from insufficient D levels in the body. For 40-year-old women, the Institute of Medicine's Food and Nutrition Board recommends 600 IUs (15 micrograms) of Vitamin D on a daily basis. [27] If you're over 50, the recommended dose is 1,000-2,000 IUs per day, particularly if you do not get out in the sun for 15 minutes each day during the early morning and late afternoon, especially during the winter months. [28]

This is where Vitamin D supplementation comes in. According to a rheumatologist in Cleveland Clinic, a non-profit academic medical center, expectant and breastfeeding mothers as well as postmenopausal women can benefit from taking Vitamin D supplements. [29] It's important to check with your doctor to see if you're at risk for Vitamin D deficiency and make sure that you're taking the supplement in the right quantity. Getting your D levels routinely tested is important too. This is to determine the amount of Vitamin D supplement your body needs. Even when taking D supplements, boosting your D levels through reliable Vitamin D food sources (such as those listed above) is still helpful.

The importance of improving D levels is also emphasized in a study that found a strong link between low bone mineral density and low Vitamin D levels. [30] This was discovered following a large observational study that involved more than 1,100 middle-aged women in menopausal and postmenopausal stage. As women age, a good approach to preserving bone mass is to get sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. A healthy diet that includes a selection from the Vitamin D foods list above in your meals throughout the week will help keep your levels where they need to be.

Make sure if you're going to use supplements that they are high quality? Low quality products often cost you more in the long run than the more expensive, higher quality products because they can be ineffective. Often times, they use ingredients imported from China and other Asian countries to go cheap on ingredients . . . but then, who knows what you're really getting. Better to spend a little more to be certain you're getting a quality product. We're a bit biased, but we believe MaxX Labs has formulated some of the best Vitamin D3 supplements on the market, both in capsule and liquid form. MaxX Labs uses only high quality, domestically sourced ingredients (when available) and manufactures in a GMP certified facility so you can trust the quality of the product you're getting.

Taking MaxX Labs Vitamin D3 together with Vitamin D in food you now know to eat, should get you on your way to achieving D levels that encourage a better immune system and a healthier body so you can get what you want out of life.

It's not that hard to get the D you need

While spending adequate time outside in the sun is the best way to get your daily dose of the sunshine Vitamin, it's definitely not the only way. Regardless of your age or gender, having high Vitamin D foods in your daily diet makes sense. In our fast food, on-the-go culture, it can be a challenge to eat right . . . but with a little bit of meal planning, Vitamin D3 foods like the ones above can be planned into just about any diet, at home or dining out. Develop self-discipline and always think: health is wealth. It's cliche, but it is one truth that no one can argue with . . . and when you know you're not getting enough vitamin D from the sun or your diet make sure you make it up with a quality supplement.


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