What Foods Have Vitamin D? Uncover the Mystery

What Foods Have Vitamin D
13 min reading time

Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient required for the growth and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It also plays a vital role in supporting the immune system and regulating cell growth. Unfortunately, it’s challenging to obtain enough Vitamin D from food alone, and many people don’t even realize they’re deficient.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore what foods have Vitamin D and the best ways to incorporate them into your diet. Whether you’re a fish lover or prefer plant-based options, there’s a Vitamin D-rich food for everyone.

Main Highlights:

  • Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and overall well-being.
  • Natural sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish, dairy products, and egg yolks.
  • Fortified foods, such as cereals and plant-based milk alternatives, can also be a convenient source of Vitamin D.
  • Pairing Vitamin D-rich foods with dietary fat can enhance absorption.
  • Sunlight exposure is another important way to obtain Vitamin D but should be balanced with sun safety measures.

Why is Vitamin D Important for Your Health?

Before we dive into the world of vitamin D-rich foods, it’s essential to understand the importance of this essential nutrient. Vitamin D is crucial for maintaining healthy bones, supporting immune function, and aiding calcium absorption.

Research suggests that a deficiency in Vitamin D can lead to a range of health issues such as rickets, osteoporosis, and an increased risk of infections. Therefore, consuming foods high in vitamin D should be a priority for optimal health.

Here is a vitamin D food list that includes the best sources of vitamin D-rich foods:

FoodVitamin D Content (IU*)
Sockeye Salmon (3 oz, cooked)447
Mackerel (3 oz, cooked)306
Tuna (3 oz, canned in water, drained)154
Milk (1 cup, fortified)120
IYogurt (6 oz, fortified)80
Egg Yolk (1 large)41
Cereal (1 cup, fortified)40

It’s vital to note that the daily recommended intake of Vitamin D varies depending on age, sex, and other factors. Consult with a healthcare professional to determine your individual needs.

Tip: Incorporating dairy products, eggs, and fatty fish into your meals can help ensure you’re consuming an adequate amount of Vitamin D. If you have difficulty meeting your daily requirements through food alone, consider taking a Vitamin D supplement.

Natural Sources of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that can be obtained through natural sources. The best way to get vitamin D is to expose your skin to sunlight, but there are other ways to get this vital vitamin without being exposed to the sun’s harmful UV rays. Below are some of the top vitamin D sources in food:

FoodVitamin D Content
Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel)436-1000 IU per 3.5 oz serving
Egg yolk20-40 IU per yolk
Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt)115-130 IU per 8 oz serving (fortified)
Fortified cereals40-50 IU per serving

While these foods can be a great way to get vitamin D, it’s important to note that they may not provide enough to meet your daily requirements. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you need to take supplements or consume more vitamin D-rich foods.

Incorporating Dairy Products for Vitamin D

While fatty fish such as salmon and tuna are excellent sources of Vitamin D, not everyone enjoys seafood. Luckily, dairy products are also a great way to get your daily dose of this vital nutrient. Let’s explore the best dairy options to add to your Vitamin D food list.

Dairy ProductsAmount of Vitamin D per Serving
Milk (fortified)100 IU per 8 oz.
Yogurt (plain, low-fat)80 IU per 6 oz.
Cheese (Swiss, cheddar)6-8 IU per one ounce

As you can see, milk is one of the best dairy sources of Vitamin D, with 100 IU per 8-ounce serving. Low-fat plain yogurt is also an excellent option, with 80 IU per 6-ounce serving. While cheese may not be the most significant source of Vitamin D, it can still contribute to your daily intake.

When purchasing dairy products, look for those that are fortified with Vitamin D for even more nutritional benefits. Vitamin D-fortified milk, cheese, and yogurt are widely available at most grocery stores and can be easily incorporated into your diet.

Consider starting your day with a bowl of fortified cereal and milk or adding a dollop of yogurt to your morning smoothie for a Vitamin D boost. Additionally, using cheese as a topping for salads, sandwiches, or eggs can contribute to your daily Vitamin D intake.

Get Your Dose of Vitamin D from Eggs

Eggs are a versatile and delicious way to increase your intake of Vitamin D. Egg yolks contain a moderate amount of this essential nutrient, making them a valuable addition to any meal.

While eggs are a relatively low source of Vitamin D compared to fatty fish or fortified foods, they can still make a significant impact on your daily intake. Incorporating eggs into your meals is also an excellent way to add variety to your diet.

Free-range or organic eggs are the best choice for quality and nutrition. These eggs come from chickens that have been raised on a natural diet, which can impact the nutrient profile of the egg and provide additional health benefits.

Here is a breakdown of the Vitamin D content in a single large egg:

Egg SizeVitamin D Content (IU)*
Small (38g)~17
Medium (44g)~19
Large (50g)~21
Extra-Large (56g)~24

*IU = International Units

While eggs are a great way to obtain Vitamin D, it’s essential to not rely solely on them as a source. Incorporating a variety of Vitamin D-rich foods into your diet and prioritizing sun exposure can help you achieve optimal levels.

Incorporating Fortified Foods for Vitamin D in Your Diet

If you’re looking for an easy and accessible way to add more Vitamin D to your diet, fortified foods can be an excellent option. These foods have been enriched with extra Vitamin D, making them a convenient way to increase your intake.

Fortified foods come in many varieties, including cereals, plant-based milk alternatives, and orange juice. Here are some top fortified foods that can help you meet your daily Vitamin D requirements:

FoodVitamin D content (IU)*
Fortified milk (1 cup)120
Fortified orange juice (1 cup)50-100
Fortified cereal (1 serving)40-60
Fortified plant-based milk (1 cup)100

*IU stands for International Units, which is the standard measurement for Vitamin D content.

When choosing fortified foods, make sure to check the labels for the amount of added Vitamin D. It’s also essential to choose products that are low in added sugars and other unhealthy additives.

Incorporating fortified foods into your diet can be an effortless and tasty way to increase your Vitamin D intake. Try incorporating some of these options into your daily meals and snacks to reap the many benefits of this essential nutrient.

Tantalizing Tastes of Tuna

Tuna is a versatile and delicious fish that can be enjoyed in many ways. Whether grilled, baked, or added to salads or sandwiches, tuna can be a fantastic addition to your diet for its high Vitamin D content.

Type of TunaVitamin D Content (per 3 oz serving)
Bluefin547 IU
Albacore154 IU
Yellowfin109 IU

As shown in the table above, Bluefin tuna has the highest amount of Vitamin D, with 547 IU per 3 oz serving. Albacore and Yellowfin tuna also contain significant amounts of this essential nutrient, making them excellent options for your next meal.

Aside from its Vitamin D content, tuna is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are beneficial for heart health and can help reduce inflammation in the body. So, not only is tuna delicious, but it also offers numerous health benefits.

  • Grill or bake tuna steaks for a tasty and nutritious meal.
  • Add canned tuna to salads, sandwiches, or pasta dishes for a quick and easy Vitamin D boost.
  • Try a tuna poke bowl for a fresh and flavorful dish packed with nutrients.

Tip: When purchasing canned tuna, look for brands that use skipjack or albacore tuna, as they contain higher levels of Vitamin D than other types of tuna.

Savoring Salmon for Vitamin D

What Foods Have Vitamin D

Salmon is a delicious and healthy fish that is packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin D. Incorporating salmon into your diet is an excellent way to increase your Vitamin D intake, and it’s also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to numerous health benefits.

The American Heart Association recommends consuming at least two servings of fatty fish like salmon per week to support heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. With its high Vitamin D content and impressive nutrient profile, salmon is a great addition to your diet for overall health and well-being.

SalmonVitamin D per 100g
Wild salmon, cooked13.3 mcg
Farmed salmon, cooked4.9 mcg

Salmon can be prepared in a variety of ways, including grilled, baked, or pan-seared. It pairs well with a wide range of seasonings and flavors, making it a versatile ingredient in various dishes.

When shopping for salmon, opt for wild-caught varieties rather than farmed fish. Wild-caught salmon has been found to have higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids and lower levels of contaminants than farmed salmon.

Incorporating salmon into your meals is an excellent way to boost your Vitamin D intake and enjoy a delicious, nutritious dish.

Mackerel: A Fish Packed with Vitamin D

Mackerel is a lesser-known fish with an impressive nutrient profile. This oily fish is a great source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and minerals like selenium and magnesium. What sets mackerel apart is its high Vitamin D content. A 3.5-ounce serving of cooked mackerel contains 306 IU of Vitamin D, which is more than half of the recommended daily intake for most adults.

In addition to its Vitamin D content, mackerel has numerous health benefits. Omega-3 fatty acids found in mackerel can help reduce inflammation and improve heart health. Selenium, another mineral found in mackerel, plays a critical role in thyroid function and may also have anti-cancer properties.

If you’re looking for sources of Vitamin D, don’t overlook mackerel. This fish can be prepared in various ways, such as grilled or baked with herbs and spices, and can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet.

Considerations for Vitamin D Absorption

While incorporating foods high in Vitamin D is crucial, it’s also essential to ensure proper absorption to reap its benefits fully. One way to enhance Vitamin D absorption is by pairing these foods with sources of dietary fat.

For instance, you can add avocado slices to your tuna salad or drizzle olive oil over your grilled salmon. Sprinkling nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, on your yogurt or cereal can also help boost absorption.

Research suggests that taking Vitamin D supplements with a fatty meal can enhance absorption. Therefore, if you’re taking Vitamin D supplements, consider taking them with a meal that contains healthy fats.

In addition to dietary fat, Vitamin D absorption can depend on other factors, such as age, health status, and medication use. Therefore, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the best approach to meet your Vitamin D requirements.

Soaking Up the Sun for Vitamin D

Apart from incorporating vitamin D-rich foods into your diet, sunlight exposure is another crucial way to obtain Vitamin D. Spending some time outdoors, especially during the sunniest parts of the day, can help your body naturally produce Vitamin D. Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” for a reason. When sunlight hits your skin, it triggers the synthesis of Vitamin D in your body.

However, it’s essential to practice sun safety and protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Experts recommend spending between 10-30 minutes in the sun each day, depending on your skin tone and where you live. After the time limit, it’s essential to apply sunscreen or wear protective clothing to prevent skin damage.

In addition, certain factors can affect the amount of Vitamin D your body produces from sunlight, such as weather conditions, pollution, and geographical location.

To maximize your sun exposure, try to spend time outside during peak sunlight hours. In the US, these times are typically between 10 am to 3 pm, depending on your location. Another way to ensure optimal Vitamin D absorption is to expose more skin to sunlight, such as arms, legs, and back.

By incorporating outdoor activities into your day-to-day routine, you can increase your Vitamin D levels while also enjoying the benefits of fresh air and sunshine.


Incorporating Vitamin D-rich foods into your diet is a simple way to maintain optimal health. By choosing natural sources such as salmon, mackerel, and dairy products, you can get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Additionally, fortified foods like cereals and plant-based milk alternatives can be a convenient way to increase your Vitamin D intake.

Remember to consider factors that aid absorption, such as pairing these foods with sources of dietary fat, and taking advantage of sunlight exposure when possible. Prioritize your health by including these Vitamin D sources in your diet for strong bones and a robust immune system.


Why is Vitamin D important for your health?

Vitamin D plays a significant role in maintaining healthy bones, supporting immune function, and aiding calcium absorption. Including Vitamin D-rich foods in your diet can help prevent deficiencies and promote overall well-being.

What are the natural sources of Vitamin D?

Natural sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel, as well as dairy products, fortified cereals, and egg yolks.

How can I incorporate dairy products for Vitamin D?

Include milk, yogurt, and cheese in your diet to increase your Vitamin D intake. Look for fortified dairy products that have been enriched with additional Vitamin D for an even greater boost.

How can I get my dose of Vitamin D from eggs?

Incorporate eggs into your meals, whether it be in omelets, salads, or baked goods, to increase your Vitamin D levels. Remember to opt for free-range or organic eggs for the best quality and nutrition.

Are there fortified foods that contain Vitamin D?

Yes, many food products are fortified with Vitamin D to help individuals meet their daily requirements. Look for fortified cereals, plant-based milk alternatives, and orange juice for a convenient way to boost your Vitamin D intake.

What are some tantalizing tastes of tuna for Vitamin D?

Tuna can be enjoyed grilled, baked, or added to salads or sandwiches, making it a delicious addition to your Vitamin D-rich diet.

How can I savor salmon for Vitamin D?

Enjoy grilled or baked salmon to experience its health benefits and increase your Vitamin D levels. Salmon is a fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is one of the best sources of Vitamin D.

Is mackerel a great source of Vitamin D?

Yes, mackerel is often overlooked but is a hidden gem when it comes to Vitamin D. This flavorful fish can be a great addition to your diet, helping you meet your Vitamin D requirements while adding variety to your meals.

How can I ensure proper absorption of Vitamin D?

Pairing Vitamin D-rich foods with sources of dietary fat, such as avocado, olive oil, or nuts, can enhance Vitamin D absorption and maximize its benefits.

Can sunlight exposure provide Vitamin D?

Yes, apart from food sources, sunlight exposure is another important way to obtain Vitamin D. Spending time outdoors, especially during the sunniest parts of the day, can help your body naturally produce Vitamin D. Remember to practice sun safety and protect your skin from harmful UV rays.

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