Tap to Read ➤

List of Foods Rich in Vitamin D

Nicks J Mar 15, 2020
Wild salmon is the richest source of vitamin D. Just 3.5 oz serving of sockeye wild salmon contains more than daily requirement of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Dosage

The average intake of vitamin D for both children and adults, often expressed in daily value (DV) has been established; 400 IU per day. However, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been set to 600 IU per day.
Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, plays a significant role in the development of bones. If your body is not getting enough vitamin D, it restricts absorption of dietary calcium, which can lead to brittle bones and early onset of osteoporosis.
Although sitting in the sun for 30 minutes, is enough to meet our daily vitamin D needs, the oppressive burden of day-to-day schedule leaves us with no time for sunbathing. So, to prevent vitamin D deficiency, it becomes necessary to incorporate food-based sources of vitamin D into our diet.

Natural Sources of Vitamin D


Wild salmon packs a powerful punch when it comes to nutrition. It tops the list of foods high in vitamin D. In fact, just half a fillet of wild sockeye salmon provides a whopping 1400 IU of vitamin D. Also, wild salmon contains 8 times as much vitamin D as in farmed salmon. It is also an excellent source of vitamin A and omega 3 acids.
Herring, yet another oily fish is bestowed with goodness of nutrition. Just 3 oz serving of herring provides around 575 IU of vitamin D, which is more than your daily requirements.
If you have 1 small can of salmon for your meal, you will get around 790 IU of vitamin D. Small sardines provide around 24 IU of vitamin D but 1 can of sardines contains around 250 IU of vitamin D. Whereas, 85 g (3 ounces) of canned tuna contains 50% of your daily dose of vitamin D.

Egg Yolk

The sunshine vitamin is also present in eggs. However, if you discard the egg yolk and only eat the whites, you get zero amount of vitamin D. At around 20 IU of vitamin D in egg is concentrated in the egg yolk. So, eating egg yolk in moderation (as it is high in cholesterol) can be a good remedy to combat vitamin D deficiency.

Cod Liver Oil

1 tablespoon of cod liver oil has a whopping 1200 IU of vitamin D. However, it is advised to avoid using cod liver oil daily, as it contains excessively high amount of vitamin A (at least 3000 IU per tablespoon). So, taking cod liver oil everyday may actually lead to vitamin A toxicity.

Processed Meat

Experts often insist to restrict intake of processed meat (sausages, salami) as it contains too much of saturated fats and cholesterol but surprisingly it also contains moderate amounts of vitamin D. Salami (100 g) contains 16% of recommended daily vitamin D intake.
On the other hand, 100 g serving of pork and beef sausages have approximately 80-90 IU of vitamin D. Despite having appreciable vitamin D content, one should occasionally have processed meat, as its consumption has been associated with a wide range of health problems.


Talking about vitamin D rich foods and one simply cannot forget shiitake mushrooms. These mushrooms are very good at absorbing sunlight. Most of the light that falls on these mushroom is absorbed. When exposed to sunlight, ergosterols (a type of steroid) in mushrooms play a crucial role in the synthesis of vitamin D.
It is observed that mushrooms that get direct sunlight during the day are found to be an excellent source of vitamin D. The vitamin D content of shiitake mushrooms is 45 IU, approximately 11% of DV.

Beef Liver

Organ meat like beef liver are often criticized by health watchers as it contains too much cholesterol. However, eating it occasionally can help to reap its health benefits, as 100 g serving of beef liver has approximately 45 IU of vitamin D. One  should restrict intake of red meat to not more than 250 g per week.


With every 100 g serving of oysters, you get around 320 IU of vitamin D. Besides supplying adequate vitamin D, oysters also contain iron, vitamin B12 and zinc in significant amounts. The nutritional value is much higher, if eaten raw. Properly cook the oysters, to kill the bacteria present in raw oysters.

Did You Know?

Getting enough vitamin D is crucial for proper working of muscle fibers. Low levels of vitamin D can slow down muscle function, cause muscle pain, in turn affecting the athletic performance. So, improving vitamin D levels can help to boost peak athletic performance.
Ancient Greek athletes probably knew the importance of vitamin D in maintaining muscle coordination and strength. No wonder, their training sessions were held outside, in the hot sun. Also, they did not wear any clothes during the training session to ensure maximum exposure to vitamin D-producing sunrays.

Foods Fortified with Vitamin D


Even if milk is jam-packed with nutrients, it does not contain vitamin D. 1 US cup of fortified milk contains approximately 100-120 IU of vitamin D. So, drink 2 glasses or cups of milk everyday to get adequate vitamin D.


Yogurt fortified with vitamin D is available at grocery outlets in United States. Choose the right product, for vitamin D contained yogurt. Yoplait, Dannon and Stonyfield Farm are some of the leading brands that sell yogurt added with vitamin D. Most brands fortify a cup of yogurt with 40-80 IU of vitamin D.

Mozzarella Cheese

Fortified versions of mozzarella cheese, an Italian-type cheese obtained from water buffalo milk, are also available and can be a good addition to boost your vitamin D intake. A slice of mozzarella cheese delivers approximately 5.5 IU of vitamin D.

Orange Juice

Including vitamin D-fortified orange juice can also help to enhance your vitamin D intake. One glass of fortified orange juice will give you around 90 IU of vitamin D. Moreover, it is an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps to strengthen the immune system.


A breakfast of fortified cereals is an easy way to increase your vitamin D intake. Sainsbury's breakfast cereals contain added vitamin D and moreover they are also fortified with vitamins and minerals. Or else, you can add fortified milk to your regular cereals to fulfill your daily nutrition needs.

Soy Products

From a health standpoint, opt for fermented soy products and avoid non-fermented ones. Soy products that include soy sauces and fermented soy milk are also made with added vitamin D. A cup of fortified soy milk will give around 100 IU of vitamin D.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Deficiency of vitamin D obstructs the absorption of calcium, which can affect the bones and the joints. Calcium deficiency is linked to low intake of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency in children causes rickets, a condition that is characterized by skeletal deformities. People who frequently drink iced tea and soft drinks, suffer from vitamin D deficiency.