8 foods that are good sources of vitamin D and how to add them to your diet

Citrus salmon simmered with carrots

Paola + Murray

Vitamin D is unique in the vitamin world because it is both a micronutrient and a hormone. As a micronutrient, it can be found in some animal and fish products, but your body also makes its own vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight, which is why it is often called the sunshine vitamin. .

Research continues to emerge on the benefits of vitamin D for our health, says Roxana EhsaniMS, RD, CSSD, LDN, Certified Sports Dietitian and National Media Spokesperson for the Nutrition and Dietetics Academy. We know it plays an important role in many functions in the body, including strengthening bones, supporting immune health, regulating cognitive function and mood, and even protecting against disease. like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, but Ehsani says there’s evidence that having low levels can also impact the likelihood of depression.

Related: Everything you need to know about vitamin D

How Much Vitamin D Do You Need

Many people are low in vitamin D because there aren’t many food sources that contain high levels of the vitamin, and many of us don’t get enough of the vitamin from the sun either. Experts recommend consuming 800 IU of vitamin D daily, although this varies with age. You should aim to get the majority of your vitamin D through whole foods, but if there are gaps in your diet, supplementation is also a good choice.

Beware of excessive supplements, however: more is not always better. Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, excess vitamin D is not excreted in your urine and waste products like water-soluble vitamins – it is stored in your fat, which means consuming too much of it can cause its accumulation in your system. Talk to your doctor if you want to get your vitamin D levels checked and learn more about how to healthy add vitamin D to your diet.

Foods Rich in Vitamin D

If you’ve been advised to add more vitamin D to your diet, here are some of the best sources.


“Wild salmon contains more vitamin D than farmed salmon,” says Ehsani, but she notes that both types of salmon are good sources. One serving (3 ounces) contains 570 IU. And salmon doesn’t need a lot of work or seasoning to be delicious; you can make a quick and easy dinner by baking salmon in the oven with a little salt, black pepper and lemon juice. Add sweet potato wedges and broccoli alongside the salmon for a quick and healthy dinner on a griddle. Also try smoking salmon or use it in a main course salad.

canned sardines

canned sardines

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A serving of sardines provides 193 IU of vitamin D, or 24% of your daily intake. Canned sardines are readily available and very economical. Try adding them to your pizza or Pasta for a savory burst of flavor or for a snack, pair them with mashed avocado on crackers with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.

canned tuna

canned tuna

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A milder tasting option for those who might not like the fishy flavors of sardines or tuna. A 3-ounce serving of tuna contains 40 IU of vitamin D. And canned tuna is a relatively economical fish choice, plus one you can keep on hand in your pantry. Make a batch of tuna and white bean salad for easy lunches for the week.

Fried eggs in olive oil with yogurt

Fried eggs in olive oil with yogurt

Marcus Nilsson

Egg yolks

Hang on to your yellows! Egg yolks aren’t the nasty cholesterol bombs we once thought. Along with nutrients like choline, vitamin D makes egg yolks a valuable addition to your diet. In fact, the yolks contain most of the vitamins and minerals. While a yolk contains about 5% of your daily vitamin D intake, chickens whose feed has been fortified with vitamin D can produce eggs with three to four times that amount. Ehsani says that “although eggs are high in cholesterol, they are still a nutrient-dense food, providing an excellent source of protein, vitamins and minerals.”

There is no fixed recommendation on how many egg yolks you should or can consume each day, it really depends on how the rest of your diet looks. If you eat a diet high in cholesterol, such as animal protein and saturated fats, such as beef, chicken thighs and skin, whole cheeses and dairy products, Ehsani recommends reducing your egg intake. But if your diet is fairly low in animal protein and you consume a lot of low-fat dairy products, consuming one whole egg a day should suffice. Our Breakfast bowl with yogurt and vegetables is an excellent starting point.

Sautéed mushrooms with herbs

Sautéed mushrooms with herbs

Johnny Miller


The only unfortified vegan sources of vitamin D you can find in the produce aisle are mushrooms. Similar to humans, mushrooms create vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but it’s a different form of vitamin D: vitamin D2, instead of vitamin D3. Some experts believe that vitamin D2 may not raise vitamin D blood levels as much as vitamin D3. Yet mushrooms are worth adding to your diet for many other reasons: they’re low in calories and high in fiber and B vitamins. Meatballs Where meat sauceor just throw some portobellos on the grill at your next barbecue.




Not all tofu is fortified, but those that are offer about 100 IU (2.5 micrograms) per 3.5 ounce serving. Tofu is a protein-rich food rich in many nutrients, including calcium, iron, and vitamin B12 as well as vitamin D. It is also a versatile ingredient that can be gate, brushed with barbecue sauce and grilled until crispy, added to soupand even scrambled.

Liver of beef

Liver of beef

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Liver of beef

Beef liver provides significant amounts of protein, essential amino acids, vitamin A and iron. Although it is high in cholesterol, its moderate consumption adds variety to your diet. A 3.5 ounce serving of cooked beef liver contains approximately 42 IU vitamin D.

Orange juice

Orange juice

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Fortified foods

One of the strategies to improve vitamin D status in the general population was to fortify commonly consumed foods such as cereals, oatmeal and dairy products. Some orange juices are also sold fortified with vitamin D.

Takeaway meals

Not a fan of any of these foods? Don’t forget that you can also get vitamin D by getting some sunlight. Set an alarm to soak up 10 to 15 minutes of sun every day around noon, without sunscreen, to obtain maximum absorption.

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