What Vegetables Have Vitamin D In It


What vegetables have vitamin D in it? Providing your body with enough vitamin D can be very important. Unfortunately, many of us are deficient in it. This is a guide to help you decide how to increase your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is an important nutrient since it helps maintain healthy bones and teeth, boost your immune system, and reduce the risk of cancer. One way to obtain some vitamin D is through food sources. Here are 10 veggies that have vitamin D in it.

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Vegetable Sources of Vitamin D

We know you know how important it is to get your vitamin D. This essential vitamin ticks off many boxes when it comes to benefits. Working side by side with calcium, it’s best known for helping to build strong bones and healthy teeth. Some research has indicated it may be beneficial for improving mood and supporting immune health, while still, other studies have found associations between Vitamin D deficiency levels with some cancers, heart disease, poor sleep quality, and hair loss.

We also know that you know that eating vegetables is key to a healthy diet. The smart folks at Harvard tell us that a diet rich in vegetables (and fruits) can do all sorts of good things: help prevent some types of cancer and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, help you avoid problems with your eyes and digestion, and potentially even lower blood pressure.

Government recommendations suggest adult women get at least 2 to 3 cups/per day of vegetables, a cup or so more than that for men.

Therefore, it’s common sense for you to be googling things such as: does spinach have vitamin D and do tomatoes have vitamin D.

So, we’re going to answer a bunch of those questions here. To save you some time, while there are some foods (like salmon!) that are rich in vitamin D, your veggies, for the most part, just won’t cut it. Read on.

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15 Vegetables: Which Ones Contain Vitamin D?

1. Are mushrooms high in vitamin D?

Mushrooms are the number one vegetable source for vitamin D. In fact, discounting fortified plant foods (like soy milk), mushrooms are really the only way to get your vitamin D from plants.

While pretty much all mushrooms contain some vitamin D, it’s the ones that are exposed to UV rays from sunlight or UVC light that have the richest amount. You see, mushrooms have something in common with people. Just as the UV rays from sunlight react with your skin, causing your body to produce its own vitamin D, mushrooms convert their ergosterol into vitamin D when exposed to UV light.

It is possible you could get your recommended daily amount of vitamin D from mushrooms, but there are two caveats:1) if you’re buying your mushrooms in the supermarket, you likely won’t know if they’ve been grown under conditions that would allow them to have produced vitamin D; and 2) our bodies manufacture vitamin D3, while mushrooms produce the plant-based form, D2, and some experts believe D3 is more effective in improving vitamin D status.

2. Does spinach have vitamin D?

There’s no vitamin D in raw spinach. But you will find lots of fiber! And spinach is rich in other nutrients like iron, folate and potassium, as well as vitamins A, C, and K. If you really want to get some vitamin D along with spinach, eat quiche or a spinach souffle. (It’s the eggs, actually, the yolks, that add the D. And the milk—if you’re using one that is fortified.)

3. Does kale have vitamin D?

Not so much. In fact, not at all. But kale is a good source of vitamin K and plant-based calcium, both of which work well with vitamin D—and vice versa.

4. Do carrots have vitamin D?

They do not. But they are rich in vitamin A, especially beta-carotene, which is what gives the orange ones their color.

5. How much vitamin D is in broccoli?

Trick question. There is no vitamin D in broccoli. But one cup contains as much vitamin C as an orange. Plus, broccoli has calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, and vitamins A, B, E and K. It’s no wonder some consider it the superstar of vegetables.

6. Does cauliflower have vitamin D?

Cauliflower and broccoli are relatives, sharing the same species, family and genus. They’re both also familial with cabbage and Brussel sprouts. And just like broccoli, none of them, including cauliflower, have any vitamin D. But despite the deficiency of vitamin D, cauliflower is an extremely healthy veggie, with many of the same nutrients as broccoli. With its antioxidants and phytonutrients, this cruciferous vegetable may help reduce the risk of cancer.

Not sure which to eat between the cauliflower and broccoli? The good news is that they complement each other, although some people prefer the sweeter taste of cauliflower to the slight bitterness of broccoli. A word to the wise: too much of either may fill you with gas, especially if you’re chowing them down raw.

7. Do beans have vitamin D?

Despite the fact that there are hundreds of different types of beans, none of them appear to have any vitamin D. But beans are a healthy choice because they are high in fiber and plant protein, especially for vegetarians who aren’t getting protein from traditional sources like beef, poultry or seafood. Beans are also generally low in fat, but they have a high carb content. And yes, beans are really good for your heart.

8. Do tomatoes have vitamin D?

If you want to fight with your family at the Thanksgiving table, but want to avoid the scorched earth political debate, toss out this question: is the tomato a vegetable or fruit? For the purposes of this blog, it doesn’t really matter, because whichever category you put it in, it doesn’t contain vitamin D.

Be aware that tomatoes are filled with powerful antioxidants like beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamins C and E, and lycopene, the latter, especially, thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

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Can You Get Vitamin D From Vegetables? Uh, That’s Kind Of A Trick Question

Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.

Just eating your vegetables won’t do when it comes to consuming more vitamin D. It turns out that the only vegetable that contains this bone health and immune-system-supporting vitamin is the mushroom.* (And the funny thing is, it really isn’t even a vegetable. It’s a fungi!) Keep reading to find out why vitamin D is so important and how you can use mushrooms as part of a nutrient-dense diet to up your D status and aid all sorts of systems in your body.

What is vitamin D, and how much do I need?

Vitamin D is one of the many essential vitamins needed daily for your body to function and thrive. Commonly known as the sunshine vitamin, this nutrient can be made in your skin through exposure to sunlight. Humans’ own sort of photosynthesis, the vitamin D synthesis process is intriguing, to say the least, but it poses one big problem. These days, none of us spend enough time outside to receive enough sunlight to produce an adequate amount of vitamin D.

Location, time of day, age, and skin tone all affect the body’s ability to produce the vitamin in the skin (not to mention the fact that many of us slather on sunscreen to protect ourselves from sun damage and signs of aging). What that leaves us with is an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency. And given the numerous functions of D in the body, this is for sure not a good thing. 

Involved in an array of physiological processes, vitamin D is not only essential for your body to function properly but is a key component of a thriving body. So, what does vitamin D do? 

“The classical function of vitamin D is maintaining blood calcium levels, which play a role in bone health. Although, over the past 20 to 30 years we have started to understand that vitamin D may have non-bone-health functions. It plays a role in regulating blood pressure and glucose levels and is linked with muscle function,”* says Sina Gallo, Ph.D., RDN, a nutritional sciences professor at the University of Georgia.

Approximately 93% of Americans consume less than 400 I.U. a day, and as it turns out, we need much more than that to positively affect vitamin D status and health.* When it comes to vitamin D levels, 41% of American adults meet the criteria for clinical insufficiency, and around 30% of American adults are straight-up deficient. That means you or one of your closest friends or family members could use some help with their D intake.

With research suggesting a baseline of 3,000 I.U. of vitamin D3 per day to achieve the minimum cutoff for vitamin D sufficiency (30 ng/mL—though the science indicates the goal is 50 ng/ml or higher), you can see why our nation’s current vitamin D consumption (or lack thereof) is a cause for concern.

Signs you aren’t getting enough vitamin D.

Given the importance of vitamin D, you may be wondering if you can notice any signs of insufficiency yourself. While deficiency can lead to larger health concerns, simply not getting adequate vitamin D on a daily can manifest as: 

  • Less immune resilience
  • Brain fog
  • Low mood
  • Suboptimal bone health

Experiencing any number of these could be a sign to head to the doc to get that D status checked. And regardless, having a baseline vitamin D status is useful information for everyone. That blood biomarker is serum total 25-hydroxyvitamin D, aka 25(OH)D.

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The “vegetable” that has vitamin D: mushrooms. 

Usually, when people talk about getting all of the essential vitamins and nutrients, they simply advise you to eat more veggies! And while vegetables are potent with micronutrients, adding more greens to your diet won’t do you any good when it comes to this particular fat-soluble micronutrient: vitamin D. 

The only vegetable that contains the all-important vitamin D is irradiated mushrooms (and they really aren’t even a vegetable, but a fungus). “Mushrooms produce vitamin D2 by converting ergosterol in their membranes via a photochemical reaction in the same way that UV from the sun converts cholesterol to vitamin D3,” says Robert Bruce Beelman, Ph.D., an expert on the effects of UV light on mushrooms. 

Mushrooms contain a different type of D than what’s formed as a result of sun exposure in our bodies (or what we consume from fatty fish or eggs). When hit with adequate and sustained UV light, mushrooms produce D2, while our bodies produce D3. Vitamin D2 usually comes from plant sources like mushrooms and D3 from animal sources like salmon.

Another cool thing about mushrooms is that you can expose them to more UV light to increase the amount of D2 in them. Beelman used pulsed light emitted from a Xenon lamp on mushrooms in his research, but even placing your shrooms outdoors will do the trick to boost their D supply, according to famous mycologist Paul Stamets.  

The only other plants containing vitamin D are algae and phytoplankton, which actually contain D3 rather than D2. Though often put in the “sea vegetables” category, algae isn’t actually a vegetable. Nonetheless, this marine botanical provides a potent—and highly sustainable—source of plant-based D3.*

While our bodies can still use D2 (ergocalciferol), a large body of science underscores its inferiority to vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Indeed, D3 is far superior for human consumption based on its bioactivity, stability, and bioefficacy.*

Case in point:

You would have to eat a lot of D2-rich mushrooms daily, approximately seven cups, to consume about 5,000 I.U. (i.e., the amount to achieve vitamin D sufficiency in normal-weight adults). But since vitamin D2 is two to three times less effective than vitamin D3, you actually need 14 to 21 cups of mushrooms. Who’s ready for that fungi challenge?

List Of Fruits & Vegetables Rich In Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that is produced by the body when exposed to direct sunlight. Vitamin D functions by absorbing calcium and phosphorus to maintain your overall health. This ‘sunshine vitamin’ is an important source to boost the immune system, support the bones and muscles and prevent hazardous diseases.

While it is easy to attain vitamins from external sources, according to the Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 50% of the world still faces vitamin D deficiency. This makes the intake of vitamin D-rich foods essential.

Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient, it is most commonly available in natural sources like fish, egg, and dairy products. This probes a problem for vegetarians and vegans who are limited in options. Scroll down for an ultimate guide on vitamin D fruits and vegetables that can serve your nutrition needs just right.

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Fruits And Vegetables Rich In Vitamin D

1. Mushrooms

Mushrooms are the only plant-based source of vitamin D. Wild mushrooms that are grown under exposure to adequate sunlight are considered more enriched with vitamins. 100 gm of mushrooms is usually packed with 2300 IU of vitamin D. These can be consumed raw as a part of salads or cooked as main or side dishes in your meals.

Mushrooms also contain other important nutrients like riboflavin, folate, thiamine, pantothenic acid, niacin, and vitamin B.

2. Tofu

Tofu is a vegetable protein derived from the plant soybeans. Rich in calcium and vitamin D, tofu can help improve your bone structure and induce adequate proteins into your body. 100 gm of tofu often contains 39% of your daily intake of vitamin D. You can incorporate this versatile ingredient in a traditional curry meal or have it seared, grilled, or baked. Sometimes, raw tofu is also added to salads.

Other nutrients infused in tofu are essential amino acids, iron, manganese, selenium, vitamin B1, and more.

3. Spinach

Raw spinach may not be a great source of vitamin D, however, when cooked to form a soufflé, spinach can improve the intake of this vitamin. 100 gm of spinach soufflé offers 31 IU of vitamin D. This soufflé can be had as a side dish in your meals. Spinach soufflé is also enriched with calories, protein, fat, and carbohydrates.

4. Orange Juice

One of the most common vitamin D fruits is the orange. Oranges are fortified with vitamins and calcium using their pulp. Orange juice can absorb bone-boosting minerals that are essential to strengthen and energize your body. 1 cup of orange juice is good enough to supply 142 IU of vitamin D. Orange juice can easily become a part of your everyday breakfast to start the day right.

Other nutrients found in oranges are vitamin C, folate, and potassium.

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How Much Is Good?

The Recommended dosage of the vitamin is a reflection of how much of each vitamin should be consumed each day. This index may vary with age, gender and body type. Following are the suggested dosage of the same considering minimal sun exposure:

Below 12 years: 400 IU
1-70 years: 600 IU
Above 70 years: 800 IU

The deficiency of vitamin D is often associated with Rickets in children and Osteomalacia in adults. These are both conditions that are characterized by the softening of bones. The common symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are as follows:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Bone pains
  • Getting sick often
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Hair loss

Increased deficiencies can even cause severe health risks like low blood levels, cardiovascular diseases, cognitive impairment in older adults, asthma in children, and more.

Spending time outdoors is probably the easiest way to attain adequate vitamin D. However, it may not always be enough! That’s when food rich in nutrients comes into play. The options for dietary supplements are limited for vegetarians and vegans. It is for this reason that sometimes, fruits and vegetables are also fortified with vitamins to improve their nutrition content. These vitamins are important to maintain a healthy lifestyle for a healthier you.

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