foods high in vitamin d best sources

Every human being living in this plant needs essential vitamins and minerals in order to function well. While there is no “superior” vitamin and all vitamins from A to Zinc have their own special characteristics and are needed every day for health and wellbeing, it is hard to deny the fact that vitamin D, yes, the one coming from Mr Sun, is important.

In the recent years, researchers found out that a lot of people, including you perhaps, are not getting enough of this vitamin.

It may be due to various reasons such as too busy at work or working in a graveyard shift, which means you are like an owl who sleeps during the day and go out at night, poor diet and even winter, which is one of the reasons why there is a vitamin D deficiency epidemic.

The point is you need the sunshine vitamin, which is best to get between 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon while walking your dog or playing in the park with your kids.

The truth is your bones and teeth are not the only ones affected when you refused to go under the sun. You can also be at risk for numerous health problems including but not limited to heart diseases, depression and even cancer.

The Institute of Medicine recommends that both children and adults below 70, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, should get 600 International Units or IU of vitamin D every day while those above 70 should aim for 800 IU daily.

The question now is aside from sunlight, where else can you get your daily dose of Vitamin D? Check out the list of foods high in vitamin D and make sure you include them in your daily diet.

Here Are the Best Food Sources of Vitamin D

Salmon-Fillets-CREDIT-AquaBounty-251x3001  Salmon. If you are looking for the vitamin D rich foods, then you better start visiting the seafood section in your local market. By far, salmon has the highest vitamin D content with more than 1,400 IU contained in half a fillet of sockeye salmon while 3 ounces of it already has 450 IU.

Aside from this, it also has an amazing omega-3 benefits that is good for your heart. Further, salmon contains small bioactive protein molecules called bioactive peptides that can provide support for your joint cartilages, insulin effectiveness and can control the inflammation in your digestive tract.

tuna fish2 Canned tuna fish. A lot of people love tuna and to prove such point, check other shopper’s grocery cart and you’ll see a can of tuna inside it. And believe it or not, you can also get enough dose of vitamin D from canned tuna fish.

In fact, a can of light tuna has the most vitamin D content wherein 4 ounces of it already has 150 IU while a canned albacore tuna has 50 IU per 4 ounces.

shiitake mushrooms3 Shiitake mushrooms. Mushrooms are very healthy and come in many forms. And believe it or not, mushrooms are like humans because they have the capacity to produce vitamin D when exposed to ultraviolet light.

But when it comes to mushroom foods that have vitamin D, shiitake mushroom is on top of the list. In fact, a half cup contains 20.30 IU or 5.08% of the daily value.

Aside from the sunshine vitamin, shiitake mushroom is also an excellent source of copper, selenium and pantothenic acid and a good source of vitamin B2, niacin, choline and zinc. Not bad.

glass of milk4 Milk. When you were younger, your mom always tells you to drink milk so you can have stronger teeth and bones. True. Aside from calcium, did you know that milk is also one of the foods rich in vitamin D?

Eight ounces of fortified milk has about one-fifth of the recommended daily value of vitamin D or 100 IU of vitamin D, with whole milk richer than skim milk. But if you are the type who is health conscious, then go for cow’s milk, grass-fed, please. After all, 4 ounces of it equates to 62.22 IU.

cereal with vitamin d5 Fortified cereals. Congratulations cereal lovers. Just like fortified milk, fortified cereals are also among the foods containing vitamin D. And believe it or not, it gives a more balanced meal than going for the vitamin D supplement.

In fact, a 100 gram, serving or 2 cups of fortified cereals can provide up to 342 IU, more so when combined with fortified milk. A piece of advice, make sure to read the label and don’t go for cereals with refined sugars and partially hydrogenated oils. It defeats the purpose.

egg6 Pasture-raised eggs. Gone are the days when eggs are considered evil. Today, eggs, especially those that are organic and pasture-raised, are considered as a healthy food. In fact, it is rich in Omega-3 and do not show an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Aside from being heart-friendly, eggs are also among the good vitamin D food sources. Every 100 gram serving of egg can provide 37 IU or 9% of the recommended daily value and frying a large egg has 17 IU.

prk7 Pork. If you think that only “green” foods are rich in vitamin D, think again. This is good news for pork lovers since even your favourite ribs can be a good source too. As a matter of fact, three small ounces of your favourite pork dish can contain as much as 88 IU of vitamin D, most of which can be found on the ribs. Check out some great sources of grass-fed meat.

But the truth is the amount of vitamin D in pork depends on the cut and preparation. And every time you eat, stay away from fat as much as you can since that can increase your cholesterol too. Not good.

beef liver salad8 Beef liver. Beef earned a reputation for not being heart and health friendly. The good news is there is a certain portion in beef that when taken in moderation, can benefit your body in the long run. Three ounces of beef liver can provide you with a minimum of 42 IU or about one-fourteenth of your needed daily dose.

Aside from vitamin D, beef is also a good source of vitamin B12 and iron. For added nutrition, go for grass-fed beef.

ricotta cheese9 Ricotta cheese. It is already established that dairy products are a good source of vitamin D. And if you are a cheese lover, you might be happy to know that ricotta cheese is among the foods that are rich in vitamin D.

It can provide you with 25 IU of vitamin D or 12 IU in case you decide to consume half cup. But if you’re thinking of getting your vitamin D fix solely on ricotta cheese, you’ll need 24 servings of it to meet the recommended daily value.

oysters10 Oysters. A lot of people may hate oysters because of the slimy texture. If you are one of them, then here’s a good reason why you should make it part of your meal plan: a 100 gram serving of oysters can give you as much as 320 IU of vitamin D or 80% of the daily value.

Aside from this, oysters are a great source of various vitamins and minerals including vitamin B12, Zinc, Iron, Manganese, Selenium and Copper.

kaviar11 Black and red caviar. No, caviar is not just about high-class parties with expensive wine and cheese combo. The truth is there’s more to it than just that because the caviar, or fish eggs in simple terms, can be beneficial to your health.

Whether it is black or red, a tablespoon of caviar has 19 IU of vitamin D while every 100-gram serving has 232 IU or 58% of the daily value. Plus, it is a great immune booster too that is packed with various vitamins and minerals.

tofu12 Tofu. Most of the fortified soy products are strengthened with both vitamin D and calcium. And one of the best food soy food products ever discovered, not to mention its health benefits, is tofu. An ounce of tofu can give you 44 IU of vitamin D and 157 IU or 39% daily value for every 100 grams of serving.

But just like any other products, make sure to check the label and nutrition facts for vitamin D content so you’ll know what goes inside your body.

orange juice13 Fortified orange juice. Aren’t you tired of hearing the word “fortified?” Apparently, anything fortified is a good source of vitamin D, including fortified orange juice. So how is the fortified version different from the squeezed version?

Although ideal, fresh-squeezed oranges are not exactly your best source of vitamin D since it is naturally not present on it. On the other hand, one cup of the fortified version can give you 100 IU of vitamin D which is enough to keep you strong and healthy.

cod liver oil14 Cod liver oil. As the name suggests, cod liver oil comes from the liver of a codfish and can be found in a form of capsule or oil. Did you know that cod liver oil is among the popular supplements today? It naturally contains a high level of vitamins A and D wherein 100-gram serving can give you up to 10,001 IU and a single tablespoon has 1,360 IU of vitamin D.

It may be considered as a supplement rather than food but you can’t deny the fact that it is among the easiest way to get vitamin D, aside from going under the sun.

salami15 Salami. Admit it. Every time you go to the grocery store, you can’t help but grab a pack of salami for your sandwich. Typical deli snacks such as salami can be high in calories, cholesterol and sodium but did you know it is one of the foods high in vitamin D?

In fact, three slices of salami can give you up to 17 IU of vitamin D. A piece of advice – please eat this in moderation. Sure, it is among the vitamin D rich foods but it can be traitor to your stomach and thighs, especially when you had too much.

sushi16 Sushi. Some good news to all Japanese food lovers. Since raw fish is used to prepare this popular Japanese food and fish is an excellent source of vitamin D, it also follows that sushi is a good source too, right? Plus, the rice and seaweed used also has various health benefits, giving sushi a spot on this list.

Oh, and four pieces of sushi can give you up to 14 IU of vitamin D.

portabello mushrooms17 Portobello mushrooms. Earlier, it was mentioned that mushrooms come in many forms and shiitake mushroom is a good source of vitamin D. This time, take a look at another mushroom variation that can also give you enough doses of vitamin D – Portobello mushrooms.

This type of mushroom is vegetarian-friendly that can give you up to 384 IU of vitamin D for every cup without being too heavy on the belly. Plus, it contains antioxidants and essential minerals which are good for your body too.

soy milk18 Soy milk. Aside from fortified milk and grass-fed cow’s milk, soy milk is also among the foods that contain vitamin D. Believe it or not, one cup of soy milk is packed with 102 IU of vitamin D.

And don’t worry about the calcium content because soy milk is also an excellent source of this mineral.

sausages19 Sausage. Sausages have a bad rep for being full of fat and calories. Just like salami, they are also part of the list of vitamin food sources since eight ounces can give as much as 100 IU of vitamin D.

In case you’re feeling guilty, pair the sausage with healthier food choices to reap the benefits of a full of supply of vitamin D for the day.

mackerel20 Mackerel. Did you know that vitamin D can help you feel young and healthy? Yes, you read that right. And one of the foods that can help you maintain that youthful glow is mackerel. It is an excellent source of vitamin D wherein 100 grams of either canned or fresh mackerel can give you 360 IU of vitamin D.

Hence, stocking on mackerel is advisable especially during the cold, winter months.

swiss cheese21 Swiss cheese. Vitamin D can already help you feel young. But if you want this vitamin to work its magic better, then try combining it with vitamin C. The good news is Swiss cheese is rich in both of these vitamins.

To make sure you are getting enough, add a slice of Swiss cheese on your sandwich, burgers and even in salads or pasta. After all, a slice of this can give you 6 IU of vitamin D already.

yogurt22 Yogurt. There’s cheese, milk and even soy milk. The list of fortified dairy products will never be complete without yogurt. Also dubbed as one of the foods that contain vitamin D, a cup of yogurt can already provide you with 115 IU of vitamin D.

Plus, it is a tasty treat that is filled with minerals that can help you young and healthy. Just read the labels to make sure you are getting enough of this vitamin.

catfish23 Catfish. Freshwater fish are among the foods high in vitamin D. The question now is what foods contain vitamin D? The answer is simple, catfish. It is low in calories, bad fat and even mercury content so you are sure it is safe for human consumption.

Plus, one fillet or about 159 grams of catfish can give you 795 IU of vitamin D. Not bad, right?

butter24 Butter. The egg itself is can already be a good source of vitamin D. But did you know that the egg yolk alone can provide you with 37 IU of vitamin D?

Egg yolks are rich in nutrients and essential vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, zinc and vitamins A, E and K, and D, of course.


sardines25 Canned sardines. Aside from canned tuna, canned sardines are also one of the most sought-after products in the grocery. But did you know that it is among the foods rich in Vitamin D? Yes, you read that right. Every two pieces of sardines have 40 IU or one-fourth of daily dose for every can of it.

You can eat it straight from the can, sprinkle it with lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil, or mix it with chopped tomatoes, basil, oregano or rosemary for added flavour. Plus, canned sardines are also an excellent source of vitamin B12 and selenium which are also needed by your body.

In a nutshell, you don’t have to storm around the supermarket and demand for foods high in vitamin D. Aside from regularly going under the sun for at least 10 minutes, these food sources can also help in nourishing your body with this essential vitamin.

Take note that although these foods are vitamin D rich foods, these are not the primary sources alone. Using high-quality vitamin D supplements can also help up your D levels – unless you regularly go out and be one with the sun.

Overall, a combination of all these three, all taken in moderation, is enough to get your daily dose of vitamin D.

About the Author

Barbara is the founder and owner of She is a former research scientist with a serious passion for health. She enjoys writing about nutrition, wellness and lifestyle and empowering people to take control of their health.

  • Thanks for this list. Some of these sources actually surprised me, especially the meat ones, like pork? Who Knew?

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