10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (2024)

Functional Foods

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (1)


Sheryl Huggins Salomon

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (2)


Kelly Kennedy, RDN

Updated on September 1, 2022

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (3)

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 theNIH. 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 theNew 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.

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Seared Salmon With Rosé and Herb Pan Sauce

Use roséto make a simple pan sauce for seared wild salmon, andthen enjoy a glass or two! The salmon cooks quickly, leaving lots of time for rosé all day.

contains Fin fish, Dairy






19 min


35 min


56 min


1½ cups rice, for serving

1 bunch trimmed asparagus, for serving

1 tbsp olive oil

2 6-oz portions skin-on wild salmon (center cut)

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1 lemon, halved

2 tbsp unsalted butter, divided

1 shallot, minced

1 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped

1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped

1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

1 tbsp capers, rinsed

⅔ cup Bonterra rosé



Cook the rice: Cook rice to desired doneness according to package instructions. Keep warm until ready to serve.


Roast the asparagus:Preheat oven to 400degrees 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 skilletor 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.

Nutrition Facts

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Fin fish, Dairy, Mediterranean, Gluten-free, Low-Carbohydrate, High-Protein, Anti-Inflammatory, Dinner

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Mushrooms Make Their Own

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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 astudy 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

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (4)

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

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (5)

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

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (6)

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

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (7)

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

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (8)

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

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (9)

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

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (10)

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

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (11)

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

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (12)

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.

Additional reporting by Kayla Blanton.

10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet (2024)


10 Vitamin D-Rich Foods to Add to Your Diet? ›

Foods high in vitamin D include fish, mushrooms exposed to sunlight, fortified milk, fortified milk substitutes, fortified tofu, fortified yogurt, fortified breakfast cereals, fortified orange juice, pork chops, and eggs.

What are the top 10 vitamin D foods? ›

Foods high in vitamin D include fish, mushrooms exposed to sunlight, fortified milk, fortified milk substitutes, fortified tofu, fortified yogurt, fortified breakfast cereals, fortified orange juice, pork chops, and eggs.

What foods add vitamin D to your diet? ›

The best food sources of vitamin D are oily fish, including salmon, mackerel, and sardines. Other sources include egg yolks, red meat, and liver. Vitamin D is added to some foods too, including breakfast cereals, plant milks and fat spreads.

What are the top 10 vitamin foods? ›

The top 15 foods highest in vitamins include fish, dark leafy greens, seeds, broccoli, pork, beef, lamb, mushrooms, nuts, eggs, sweet bell peppers, avocados, peas, winter squash, and fruits.

What is the best food to absorb vitamin D? ›

In another study in 50 older adults, consuming vitamin D alongside a high fat meal increased vitamin D blood levels by 32% after 12 hours compared to a fat-free meal ( 8 ). Avocados, nuts, seeds, full fat dairy products, and eggs are nutritious sources of fat that help boost your vitamin D absorption.

What vegetable has the most vitamin D? ›

Mushrooms are really the only notable plant-based source of vitamin D. But keep in mind that most mushrooms you'll find in the store, like button mushrooms, aren't exposed to sunlight.

How to raise vitamin D quickly? ›

Here are three ways to increase your intake:
  1. Eat foods high in vitamin D, like fish or fortified breakfast foods (milk, cereals and orange juice).
  2. Get vitamin D from moderate sunlight exposure each day.
  3. Take a vitamin D3 supplement or cod liver oil.
Jul 19, 2022

How many eggs for vitamin D? ›

Do Eggs Have Vitamin D? A serving of two eggs contains 8.2µg of vitamin D which is 82% of the recommended dietary intake. Eggs are one of the highest food sources of vitamin D.

What 3 foods are the best vitamin sources? ›

The best approach to ensure you get a variety of vitamins and minerals, and in the proper amounts, is to adopt a broad healthy diet. This involves an emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, low-fat protein, and dairy products.

What food has all 13 vitamins? ›

There's no single food that provides all 13 essential vitamins at once. Some foods, such as eggs, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains, are packed with a variety of important vitamins and minerals, but it's still important to eat a variety of nutritious foods.

What are the sources of vitamin D? ›

Good sources of vitamin D
  • oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel.
  • red meat.
  • liver (avoid liver if you are pregnant)
  • egg yolks.
  • fortified foods – such as some fat spreads and breakfast cereals.

What cancels out vitamin D? ›

Some factors that may reduce or block its absorption include: Conditions such as celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, Crohn's disease, and cystic fibrosis. These can all affect the intestines, preventing them from absorbing vitamin D found in food. BMI (body mass index) higher than 30.

What drinks have vitamin D? ›

What drink has the most vitamin D? You can get vitamin D from vitamin D-fortified beverages, including cow's milk, soy milk, and orange juice. Be sure to check the nutrition label, as only vitamin D-fortified drinks contain vitamin D.

How can I get vitamin D in my system fast? ›

Official answer
  1. Increasing your intake of foods that are naturally rich in vitamin D or fortified with vitamin D.
  2. Taking a vitamin D supplement.
  3. Getting outside and exposing your skin to sunlight (although experts do not recommend this without sun protection).
Aug 22, 2022

How can I raise my vitamin D levels quickly? ›

Here are three ways to increase your intake:
  1. Eat foods high in vitamin D, like fish or fortified breakfast foods (milk, cereals and orange juice).
  2. Get vitamin D from moderate sunlight exposure each day.
  3. Take a vitamin D3 supplement or cod liver oil.
Jul 19, 2022

Which vegetable is high in vitamin D? ›

Mushroom is one of the best Vitamin D vegetables, which naturally produces this nutrient when exposed to sunlight. They are healthy and can be cooked, baked, or pan-fried. Less than 100 grams of mushroom daily is good for health. 100-gram mushroom has2300 IU vitamin D.

How do you get 100% vitamin D? ›

  1. Spend time in sunlight. Vitamin D is often referred to as “the sunshine vitamin” because the sun is one of the best sources of this nutrient. ...
  2. Consume fatty fish and seafood. ...
  3. Eat more mushrooms. ...
  4. Include egg yolks in your diet. ...
  5. Eat fortified foods. ...
  6. Take a supplement. ...
  7. Try a UV lamp.
Mar 18, 2019

What is the richest source of vitamin D? ›

Many foods and supplements are fortified with vitamin D like dairy products and cereals.
  • Swordfish.
  • Tuna fish.
  • Orange juice fortified with vitamin D.
  • Dairy and plant milks fortified with vitamin D.
  • Sardines.
  • Beef liver.
  • Egg yolk.
  • Fortified cereals.

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