Healthy Foods That Are High in Vitamin D

Health and Nutrition

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” as our body is capable of producing vitamin D in the presence of sunlight. One of the most important functions of vitamin D in the body is that it is required to absorb calcium (1).


Vitamin D deficiency


Vitamin D deficiency occurs when there is reduced intake of vitamin D or when it is not absorbed properly. It is also seen in people who do not receive sufficient exposure to sunlight. Exposure to the sun has become less which leads to the decline of vitamin D synthesis by the skin. 


Depending on the stage of life, vitamin d deficiency can lead to


  • Rickets is the result of vitamin D deficiency in children. In this condition the bones are not properly formed because mineral deposition is affected.


  • Osteomalacia is the adult form of rickets (1).


Healthy foods that are high in vitamin D (2)


Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is extracted from liver of cod fish. Cod liver oil contains 250 µg of vitamin D in 100 grams of oil. Along with vitamin D cod liver oil is also a rich source of vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acids which also provide several health benefits (3).

It is the best source of vitamin D.



Mushrooms are good sources of vitamin D. But most vegetarians do not eat mushrooms because they do not like the texture. But some of them do and for those mushrooms can be a blessing as far as vitamin D is concerned. The amount of vitamin D present in different types of mushrooms is listed below. 

Vitamin D/100grams of mushrooms

Raw Crimini Mushrooms (Exposed to Sunlight or UV): 31.9 µg

Raw Portabellas (Exposed to Sunlight or UV) : 28.4 µg 

Maitake Mushrooms : 28.1 µg



Fish in general are good sources of vitamin D. 

Vitamin D/100grams of fish

Atlantic Mackerel: 16.1 µg

Canned salmon: 21 µg

Pink salmon: 10.9 µg

Trout, white fish, roe and tuna type of fish also are good sources of vitamin D. Fish along with vitamin D are also good source of protein.


Milk and milk products

Milk and milk products are fair sources of vitamin D and along with other vitamin D containing foods may help in meeting vitamin D requirement.

Vitamin D/100 grams of product

Dehydrated milk: 10.5 µg


Sardine oil

Sardine oil (100 grams) contains about 8.3 µg vitamin D. It is one of the most popular fish oils and is also a rich source of omega 3 poly unsaturated fatty acids.


Egg yolk

Yolk (100grams) of the egg has 5.4 µg of vitamin D. Egg is also a good source of protein, micronutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B 12 and iron. 


Rich chocolate powder

Chocolate powder contains 9 µg of vitamin D per 100 grams. But the amount of chocolate powder consumed is low. It is a good source but on a daily basis not many people consume chocolate powder.


Vitamin D fortified foods

Keeping vegans and vegetarian population in mind there are several foods which are fortified with vitamin D such as milk, orange juice and some breads and breakfast cereals (4).

Fortified milk and fortified orange juice contain 1.3 µg and 1 µg vitamin D per 100 grams respectively (2). Fortified breakfast cereals provide about 2.5 mg vitamin D per serving (4).


Final word


There is research work which states that low levels of vitamin D levels are linked to increased risk of fractures, muscle pain, muscle weakness, cardiovascular risk, diabetes mellitus, polycystic ovary syndrome, infections, and autoimmune disorders (5, 6). 


Therefore, it is extremely important to take recommended amounts of vitamin D. It may be through sunlight exposure, through diet or through supplementation. 




  1. Wildman, R. (2009) The Nutritionist-Food, Nutrition, and Optimal Health. Vitamins are vital molecules in food 191. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group. Second Edition. New York and London.


  1. National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Legacy Release, United States Department of Agriculture.


  1. Griffing, G. T. (2008) Mother was right about cod liver oil, Medscape journal of medicine. Vol. 10(1).


  1. Zhang, R. and Naughton, D.P. (2010) Vitamin D in health and disease: Current perspectives, Nutrition Journal. Vol. 9 (65).


  1. Singh, P. (2018) Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency and Comorbidities: A Review, Journal of the Association of Physicians of India.Vol.66.


  1. DeLuca, H.F. (2004) Overview of general physiologic features and functions of vitamin D, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 80(6).

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