Foods that contain vitamin D aren’t as abundant as those containing other vitamins and minerals. However, because this is such an important nutrient, it pays to include food sources in your diet. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium for strong, healthy bones. It also plays a role in immunity, cell growth and the reduction of inflammation in the body. Those reasons make it crystal clear that including foods that contain vitamin D in your meal plan is a healthy choice we can all benefit from.
Fish is one of the best foods that contain vitamin D in hefty doses. Not all species make the cut, however. Your best bets are swordfish, salmon, tuna and sardines. That gives you several options for including fish in your diet. Bake, roast or grill salmon and swordfish and serve with baked potatoes and salad. Tuna fish sandwiches are great for your lunchbox and sardines can be eaten on crackers or crostini. No matter how you serve it, these types of fish can really help you meet the daily intake recommendations for vitamin D.
2. Fortified Foods
Because there aren’t many foods with vitamin D, some food manufacturers fortify their products with the nutrient. That helps people get adequate amounts without having to worry about loading up on supplements. Foods that are commonly beefed up with added vitamin D include breakfast cereals, orange juice, milk and yogurt. Read the nutritional information panel to be sure you’re choosing an item that will help you meet your vitamin D needs.
I love eggs because they’re super fast and easy to prepare, they taste great and they’re affordable. In fact, I cook eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That’s great news for me because eggs contain vitamin D. However, for all you egg white omelet lovers, you probably aren’t getting much since the vitamin D is located in the egg yolk. So toss one or two in next time you cook and you’ll get a great boost with no extra effort.
I know that liver isn’t all that appealing to very many people. But if you’re one of the few that love it, you add to your vitamin D intake each time you eat it. Liver is served in some restaurants and you can often get it from the meat counter at the grocery store if you ask. If you simply can’t stomach liver, don’t worry about it. You have several other options.
Cheese has small amounts of vitamin D. Even if you gorge on it, you probably aren’t meeting the daily intake recommendations. However, if you love cheese and eat it all the time, you are certainly contributing. Try adding cheese to your turkey sandwich, sprinkling it on scrambled eggs or enjoying it with crackers for a snack. No matter how you slice it, cheese is a good choice for vitamin D intake.
Mushrooms aren’t high in vitamin D, but the amount in them increases with exposure to the light at the grocery store. That’s a great reason to toss some in your cart next time you shop. Add raw mushrooms to a salad for a great taste and texture. Mushrooms also work well in omelets. Sauté mushrooms and serve alongside steak or chicken. Use large mushroom caps in place of meat when you make burgers or toss a few into your next pot of stew.
Ok, technically it’s not a food, but since I’ve exhausted the list of the best food sources, no article on vitamin D would be complete without at least some mention of sunshine. When your body is exposed to sunlight, it boosts your levels. While it’s not a good idea to go out in the sun without sunscreen the majority of the time, a few minutes of straight sun is a good way to increase vitamin D in your body.
Do you like any of the foods on this list? Fish and milk probably supply me with the bulk of my vitamin D. Do you think you get enough of this important nutrient?