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, 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 recommend that both children and adults below 70, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, should get 600 International Units or IU of vitamin D everyday 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?
Here are 25 of the best Vitamin D food sources
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 has 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 flavor. Plus, canned sardines are also an excellent source of vitamin B12 and selenium which are also needed by your body.
- Shiitake mushrooms. Mushrooms 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 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.
- 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? 8 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 skin 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you think that only “green” foods are rich in vitamin D, think again. This is good news pork lovers since even your favorite ribs can be a good source too. As a matter of fact, three small ounces of your favorite pork dish can contain as much as 88 IU of vitamin D, most of which can be found on the ribs. 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. 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 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.
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 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.