What Vegetables Have Vitamin D? Vitamin D is widely known for its vitamin and health benefits. While fruits are a great source for vitamin D, not every fruit contains Vitamin D. In fact, some of the most popular fruits have absolutely no Vitamin D including bananas, apples, and oranges. Knowing which vegetables have vitamin d has never been more important . Head to our blog to find out which vegetables get the green light from our nutritionist! In this article we will look at what vegetables have Vitamin D.
5 Nutritious Foods That Are High in Vitamin D
Interest in vitamin D and its role in our overall health journey is growing.
We know that vitamin D affects many bodily functions, including bone health. Research also suggests that low vitamin D levels may be a risk factor for autoimmune diseases.
Many people don’t get enough vitamin D. It’s hard to know how many people are deficient because experts are still debating about what target levels should be
Research suggests that about 24% of people in the United States are vitamin D deficient. Other areas of the world may have higher rates of deficiency. It’s estimated that in Europe, about 40% of the population has vitamin D deficiency
Our bodies produce vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. There are a few reasons why it’s hard to get enough vitamin D this way.
To reduce the risk of skin cancer, it’s smart to cover up, wear sunscreen, and avoid being outside during peak sun hours. And depending on where you live in the world, it may just not be possible to have enough year-round sun exposure.
That’s why getting vitamin D from food or supplements is best.
Daily recommended dose of vitamin D
The daily value (DV) for vitamin D is 800 IU (20 mcg). The vitamin D content is listed as a percentage of the DV on the nutrition facts label on food packages. This tells you what amount of your daily vitamin D requirement the food will provide (
It’s best to get vitamin D from food or supplements.
Whether you need a vitamin D supplement in addition to food and sun exposure is a question to ask your doctor. They can also help you find out if you are deficient.
Here are 5 healthy foods that are high in vitamin D.
Salmon is a popular fatty fish and a great source of vitamin D.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Composition Database, one 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of farmed Atlantic salmon contains 526 IU of vitamin D, or 66% of the DV
Whether the salmon is wild or farmed can make a big difference in the vitamin D content.
On average, wild-caught salmon has more vitamin D. The amount of vitamin D will vary depending on where the salmon is caught and the time of year.
One study showed that the vitamin D content of salmon caught in the Baltic sea ranged from 556–924 IU of vitamin D per one 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, providing 70–111% of the DV
Wild salmon typically contains more vitamin D than farmed salmon, but both are good sources of vitamin D. In a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, farmed salmon contains around 66% of the DV and wild salmon can contain up to 160% of the DV.
2. Herring and sardines
Herring is a fish eaten around the world. It is often smoked or pickled. This small fish is also a great source of vitamin D.
Fresh Atlantic herring provides 214 IU per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, which is 27% of the DV
If fresh fish isn’t your thing, pickled herring is also a good source of vitamin D, providing 113 IU per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, or 14% of the DV. Pickled herring also contains a high amount of sodium, at 870 mg per serving. It may not be a great option if you are trying to lower your salt intake
Canned sardines are a good source of vitamin D as well. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving provides 193 IU or 24% of the DV
Other types of fatty fish are also good vitamin D sources. Halibut and mackerel provide 190 IU and 643 IU per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, respectively
Herring contains 214 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving. Pickled herring, sardines, and other fatty fish, such as halibut and mackerel, are also good sources.
3. Cod liver oil
Cod liver oil is a popular supplement. If you don’t like fish, taking cod liver oil is another way to get nutrients that are hard to get otherwise.
It’s an excellent source of vitamin D. At about 450 IU per teaspoon (4.9 mL), it clocks in at a massive 56% of the DV. It has been used for many years to treat vitamin D deficiency. It also has a history of being used as part of treating rickets, psoriasis, and tuberculosis
Cod liver oil is also very high in vitamin A, with 150% of the DV in just a single teaspoon (4.9 mL). Vitamin A can be toxic in high amounts. The safe upper limit (UL) for vitamin A is 3,000 mcg. A single teaspoon (4.9 mL) of cod liver oil contains 1,350 mcg of vitamin A.
Make sure that you aren’t exceeding the upper limit with cod liver oil or any other vitamin A supplements
In addition, cod liver oil is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s may play a role in heart health and may reduce inflammation in the body. Along with fatty fish, cod liver oil is another source of these fatty acids. If you don’t eat fish, it can be hard to get enough omega-3 in your diet
Cod liver oil contains 450 IU of vitamin D per teaspoon (4.9 mL), or 56% of the DV. It is also high in other nutrients, such as vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids.
4. Canned tuna
Many people enjoy canned tuna because of its flavor and easy storage methods. It is typically cheaper than buying fresh fish.
Canned light tuna packs up to 269 IU of vitamin D in a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving, which is 34% of the DV
Mercury is a heavy metal found in many types of fish. Bigger types of fish contain more mercury than smaller ones. The amount of mercury in canned tuna depends on the type of tuna.
Light canned tuna comes from smaller fish and is lower in mercury. White canned tuna is higher in mercury
Over time, methylmercury can build up in your body. In some cases, it can lead to serious health concerns
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) recommends only a single 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of light tuna per week. If you’re concerned about mercury consumption, talk with your doctor about the appropriate amount of tuna to eat per week for you
Canned tuna contains 269 IU of vitamin D per serving. Choose light tuna and eat no more than one serving per week to prevent methylmercury buildup.
5. Egg yolks
Fish are not the only source of vitamin D. Whole eggs are another good source, as well as a wonderfully nutritious food.
Most of the protein in an egg is found in the white, and the fat, vitamins, and minerals are found mostly in the yolk.
The yolk from one large egg contains 37 IU of vitamin D, or 5% of the DV
A few factors affect the vitamin D level of egg yolks.
Sun exposure for the chicken, the vitamin D content of the chicken feed, and exposing liquid yolk to UV light will increase vitamin D in the egg. When given the same feed, pasture-raised chickens that roam outside in the sunlight produce eggs with levels 3–4 times higher
Additionally, eggs from chickens given vitamin D enriched feed may have up to 34,815 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams of yolk. So if one yolk is about 17 grams, that means you’ll get around 2.5 times the DV of vitamin D in a single egg
Choosing eggs either from chickens raised outside or marketed as high in vitamin D can be a great way to meet your daily requirements.
Eggs from commercially raised hens contain about 37 IU of vitamin D per yolk. However, eggs from hens raised outside or fed vitamin D enriched feed contain much higher levels.
10 Vitamin D–Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet
It can be tough to get enough vitamin D from food, but fortified foods and drinks help.
Are you getting enough vitamin D in your diet? This nutrient is important for growing healthy cells, keeping your immune system humming to ward off illness, and aiding in calcium absorption so your bones stay strong. It also helps prevent the bone disease rickets in children, and along with calcium, the so-called sunshine vitamin guards against osteoporosis in older adults, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). All these benefits explain why the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began requiring food manufacturers to include it on nutrition labels in 2018.
Vitamin D is produced in your body when the sun’s ultraviolet rays hit your skin, and the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is 600 international units (IU), which is 15 micrograms (mcg) for most adults, according to the NIH. For those older than 80, the RDA is 800 IU (20 mcg).
Yet most people don’t get enough vitamin D via sunlight, nor is food a good source of the nutrient, says Lori Zanini, RD, a Los Angeles–based dietitian. According to data from the 2013–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), average daily intake from diet was 204 IU for men and 168 IU for women. Even if you drink whole milk fortified with vitamin D (whole milk has slightly more vitamin D than reduced-fat or skim), 8 fluid ounces (oz) contain just 95.6 IU, per the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) — one-eighth the amount that you need daily. No wonder an estimated 24 percent of Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, per a review published in January 2020 in Nature. A vitamin D deficiency means you have less than 20 nanograms per milliliter of the nutrient in your blood, per the NIH. If you are nonwhite, obese, or do not get sufficient sun exposure, you may be at greater risk for being vitamin D deficient according to the NIH. Your healthcare provider can test your blood to find out for sure.
How to Get More Vitamin D
As with most nutrients, it’s best to get vitamin D the natural ways — through safe sun exposure and, when possible, diet. If, however, your doctor confirms a deficiency, supplements might be a good option. There are two main types: vitamin D2 and D3. Zanini recommends vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), which is found in animal sources of food and has been shown to more effectively increase levels and sustain them for a longer period of time. Those who eat a plant-based diet, however, may prefer vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) supplements, which are manufactured using UV irradiation of ergosterol in yeast, per the NIH.
If you’re not deficient, recent research says your bone health likely won’t benefit from a pill. A study published July 28, 2022, in the New England Journal of Medicine examined the effects of 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 supplements versus a placebo in over 25,000 healthy, nondeficient volunteers older than 50. Researchers aimed to see if the supplement would limit risk of bone fractures over the course of five years, and found that, compared to placebo, it did not.
Few foods naturally contain vitamin D, so it is important to make sure you are getting as many of them in your diet as possible, along with D-fortified foods. “Getting vitamin D from food is a priority,” says Zanini. Make sure your diet is rich in the following fare, so you can get what you need.
Seared Salmon With Rose and Herb Pan Sauce
Use rosé to make a simple pan sauce for seared wild salmon, and then enjoy a glass or two! The salmon cooks quickly, leaving lots of time for rosé all day.
Cook the rice: Cook rice to desired doneness according to package instructions. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Roast the asparagus: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Arrange asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Roast until lightly caramelized and crisp-tender, about 18 to 20 minutes. Keep warm until ready to serve.
Prepare the salmon: Meanwhile, season salmon on both sides with salt and pepper and let sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes.
In a coated cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed frying pan, add the olive oil and heat over medium high heat until shimmering. Add salmon (skin side up) and halved lemon and cook for about 4 minutes, or until salmon is golden brown and can easily move around the pan. Remove lemon from the pan and set aside on a plate. Flip salmon and cook skin side down for another 3 minutes, then add to the plate with the lemon and tent loosely with foil.
Drain olive oil from the skillet and add 1 tbsp of butter. Once melted, add shallot and cook for about 2 minutes or until they start to soften. Deglaze the pan with the rosé, scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring wine to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper, then remove from heat.
Add the capers, herbs, and remaining 1 tbsp of butter and mount the sauce by slowly swirling the butter around in the pan.
Serve the salmon on top of prepared rice with roasted asparagus and a spoonful of the rosé pan sauce.
Mushrooms Make Their Own
While mushrooms don’t naturally offer a high amount of vitamin D, they, like humans, can make it when they’re exposed to UV light, with the help of a compound known as ergosterol. Researchers found that adding a single serving of UV light-exposed mushrooms resulted in a nearly 100 percent increase in vitamin D intake, according to a study published March 2021 in Food Science & Nutrition.
Growers such as Monterey Mushrooms produce varieties high in vitamin D, but you have to read the labels. The vitamin D amounts will vary depending on the amount of UV light the mushrooms are exposed to, according to the Agricultural Research Service. A 3 oz serving of UV-exposed white, portobello, or baby bella mushrooms from Monterey Mushrooms has 400 IU.
Another good reason to eat ’shrooms? The same Food Science & Nutrition study found that a single 3 oz serving of mushrooms added to the menu increased intake of other micronutrients, including fiber, copper, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, riboflavin, niacin, choline, iron, thiamine, folate, and vitamin B6, without adding calories, carbohydrates, fat, or sodium.
There are so many varieties of mushrooms — white button, cremini, portobello, oyster, maitake, shiitake, to name a few — and they’re delicious raw on salads or sautéed in omelets, salads, and with pasta. Or try them in a more substantial mushroom dish, such as veggie-stuffed portobellos.
Salmon Is a Superfood With Vitamin D
Not only is salmon a great option if you’re looking for protein to add to your diet, but it’s also rich in the sunshine vitamin. According to the USDA, 3 oz of cooked sockeye salmon has about 570 IU of vitamin D. The same amount of pink canned salmon contains 465 IU, per the USDA. “In addition to vitamin D, salmon is a great addition to anyone’s diet, with it also being a good source of healthy protein and omega-3 fatty acids,” says Zanini. According to the NIH, fish offer two critical omega-3s: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which you must get through food. Omega-3s help keep your immune, pulmonary, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems healthy.
Add salmon to your dinner rotation with this flavorful Dijon-based recipe. Other cold-water fatty fish, like mackerel and sardines, have similarly high levels of vitamin D, per the NIH.
Swordfish Can Be Great — in Moderation
Swordfish is another favorite of Zanini’s. Three cooked ounces provide 566 IU, according to the USDA, which nearly gets you to your daily recommended intake of vitamin D. “The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week, and this fish is versatile and tasty,” she adds. The AHA advises children and pregnant women to avoid large fish, such as swordfish, because they have higher levels of mercury contamination than smaller, less long-lived species. For that reason, it’s recommended to make swordfish no more than one of your two weekly servings of fish.
Try swordfish in kebabs complete with onions, green bell peppers, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes.
Packaged Tuna Is a Source of Vitamin D
According to the USDA, 3 oz of canned tuna in water contains 68 IU of vitamin D. The affordable cupboard staple is great for easy lunches, such as a classic tuna sandwich or tuna salad. Just try to stick with the types of tuna with the lowest mercury levels are your best bet — the FDA recommends going for light tuna as the best choice.
Put a healthy twist on the deli favorite in a whole-wheat tuna wrap or tuna pasta salad. “Tuna is accessible, affordable, and shelf-stable, making it a great option for anyone,” says Zanini.
Fortified Milk Offers a Double Whammy: Vitamin D and Calcium
In addition to being an excellent source of calcium, 8 fluid ounces (fl oz) of fortified whole milk has 95.6 IU of vitamin D, per the USDA. According to the NIH, that added vitamin D improves calcium absorption. Just be sure to check the label of your favorite brand for its specs. Fortified plant-based milks, such as soy and almond, can provide similar amounts of vitamin D.
Enjoy a cold 8 oz glass of your preferred fortified milk straight, blend it into a smoothie, or use it to whip up your choice of coffee drink.
Fortified Orange Juice Can Give You a Healthy Start to the Day
One cup (8 fl oz) of fortified orange juice can add 99.6 IU of vitamin D to your daily total, per the USDA; the NIH recommends checking the label for exact numbers because counts can vary. Serve a glass of OJ with breakfast or add it to a mango strawberry smoothie, a delicious and portable morning meal. Keep in mind that it’s generally healthiest to enjoy whole fruit rather than its juice form, since the former still contains filling fiber, per Harvard Health Publishing, so drink juice in moderation.
If you have a health condition for which you need to watch your carbohydrate and sugar intake, such as diabetes, it may be best to get your vitamin D from another source. Work with your healthcare team to figure out how much, if any, OJ is right for your diet.
Fortified Yogurt Makes for a Gut-Healthy Snack
Yogurt is a convenient, tasty snack — and when consumed plain or with fresh fruit, it’s healthy, too. This type of dairy is an excellent source of good-for-the-gut probiotics, and reaching for a fortified variety (“fortified” is usually printed on the front of the packaging, but sometimes it’s on the nutrition label) will knock off between 10 and 20 percent of your daily requirement of vitamin D, depending on the brand. Many fortified varieties are flavored (meaning they’re likely to be sugar bombs), so read the nutrition label to find out what you’re getting. The AHA recommends a max of 9 teaspoons (tsp) or 26 g of added sugar for men per day and a max of 6 tsp or 25 g of added sugar for women per day.
You can also use plain yogurt for preparing vitamin D–enhanced appetizers, for example, a healthier deviled egg or kale and spinach yogurt dip.
Cereal Can Start Your Day With Vitamin D
Ready-to-eat fortified cereal typically gives you 40 IU of vitamin D per serving, per the NIH, but it may provide more if you choose a more heavily fortified cereal, like Raisin Bran, which has 60.2 IU per cup, notes the USDA. Fortified cereal can be a solid base for a nutrient-rich, high-fiber meal — especially if you add fortified low-fat or fat-free milk to your bowl for an extra 58.5 IU per half cup, per the USDA. Or you can be more adventurous and make a breakfast cookie that includes both fortified cereal and vitamin D–fortified margarine.
Whole Eggs Have Vitamin D and Other Micronutrients
Egg yolks have historically gotten a bad rap for raising levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, as Harvard Health Publishing notes. But skipping them in favor of egg whites means you’ll miss out on some of the protein and several of the minerals in yolks, such as zinc and selenium, which play a role in boosting your immune system. And you’ll miss out on vitamin D, too. Two egg yolks contain roughly 65 IU, per the USDA, making them a good source. Yolks also contain dietary fat, which your body needs to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like D.
Sardines Combine Vitamin D With Calcium, Omega-3s, and Protein
Fresh fish can be pricey. If that’s holding you back, give canned sardines a try. They’re more affordable than other forms of fish and are high in protein, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and vitamin D. One can of sardines in oil offers 178 IU of the vitamin, according to the USDA. The underrated fish works well on top of salads, as well as in pasta sauces and stews.
Healthy Foods That Are High in Vitamin D
Vitamin D may be known as the sunshine vitamin, but too few of us think to look for it in the fridge—and that’s a big mistake. “The sun is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D from October to May, especially for those living north of Atlanta,” says Althea Zanecosky, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That’s probably why nearly half of people tested at winter’s end had a vitamin D deficiency, according to a University of Maine study. Compounding the problem is our vigilant use of sunscreen; SPF 15 blocks 93% of UVB rays, the type our bodies use to make D. Skin also has a harder time producing vitamin D with age.
Back up: What is vitamin D, and why is it so important?
Your body creates vitamin D on its own after being exposed to sunlight. It helps the body absorb calcium, one of the main building blocks of bones. If you’re low on D, then you’re at increased risk for bone diseases like osteoporosis.
Evidence continues to mount that vitamin D also helps to regulate the immune system, lower blood pressure, protect against depression, and reduce risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and several kinds of cancer. A 2014 study from the University of California-San Diego School of Medicine also found that people with low vitamin D levels were twice as likely to die prematurely.
So, are you getting enough vitamin D?
Probably not. The Institute of Medicine has set the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D at 600 international units (IU) for everyone under the age of 70. (It’s 800 IU for adults 70+.) But many experts believe that’s too low. “There is talk that the RDA may be increased,” says Zanecosky. “Many physicians are now advising 2,000 milligrams daily for those with low blood levels.”
The top vitamin D foods
In a recent nutrient survey, many respondents were rightfully concerned they weren’t getting enough D, with 22% actively looking for it in foods. But just 9% knew that salmon is a good natural source of the vitamin, and only 5% recognized fortified tofu as one, too. Here are some other ways to get more foods with vitamin D in your diet: