What Are the Vitamin D Foods for Vegetarians?

Health and Nutrition
23.10.2019

Vegetarians can be classified into different groups based on how restrictive their diets are when it comes to animal foods. The more restrictive they are the more they have to be cautious about not becoming deficient in certain nutrients such as protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B 12 etc.

Different types of vegetarians

Vegans

Vegans restrict their diet to plant foods. For example, cereal grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. They may have to take supplements to meet recommended dietary allowanced of certain nutrients.

Lacto-vegetarians

These people include milk and dairy products to a vegan diet. Milk is a complete source of protein. Also, dairy products are good sources of calcium. Dairy products make meeting nutrient recommendations a little easier for this group.

Ovo-vegetarians

This group of people include eggs in their diet.  Eggs make it easier for them to meet nutrient recommendations.

Lacto-ovo-vegetarians

This group of people can include dairy products and eggs in their diet. It is quite easy to meet all the nutritional requirements for this group of people (1).

How much vitamin D do we need?

The units used to measure vitamin D are micrograms (µg) and also International Units (IU). One microgram of vitamin D is equal to 40 IU of vitamin D. 

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is 600 IU for adults and for pregnant and lactating women it is 800 IU (2).

 

Food sources that provide vitamin D for vegetarians (3)

  1. Mushrooms 

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

Raw Crimini Mushrooms (Exposed to Sunlight or UV): 31.9 µg / 100 grams

Raw Portabellas (Exposed to Sunlight or UV) : 28.4 µg / 100 grams

Maitake Mushrooms : 28.1 µg / 100 grams

Raw White Button Mushrooms (Exposed to Sunlight or UV) : 26.2 µg /100 grams

Portobellos (Exposed to Sunlight or UV): 13.1 µg /100 grams

Chantarelle Mushrooms : 5.3 µg /100 grams

Morel Mushrooms : 5.1 µg / 100 grams

 

  1. Milk and milk products

Lacto-vegetarians and lacto-ovo-vegetarians both consume 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

Evaporated milk: 2 µg 

Whole milk and butter milk: 1.3 µg 

Skim milk: 1.2 µg 

Cheese also is a fair source of vitamin D. Different cheeses supply different amounts of vitamin D. 

Vitamin D/100grams of cheese

American cheese: 2.5 µg 

Cheddar cheese: 0.6 µg

Mozzarella cheese: 0.4 µg

  1. Egg

Eggs contain about 2 µg of vitamin D per 100 grams. Ovo-vegetarians and lacto-ovo-vegetarians consume eggs. But how much vitamin D they get from eggs is a point to be considered. 

A lot of these people do not mind eating foods in which egg is added such as pastries, desserts etc but to eat an omelette or boiled egg they are a little fussy. 

 

  1. Rich chocolate powder

Chocolate powder contains 9 µg of vitamin D per 100 grams. But how much chocolate powder does one eat every day? It is a good source but on a daily basis not many people consume chocolate powder.

  1. Vitamin D fortified food

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 cereals (4).

Fortified milk and fortified orange juice contain 1.3 µg and 1 µg vitamin D per 100 grams respectively (3). Fortified breakfast cereals provide about 2.5 mg vitamin D per serving (4).

Final word

For vegetarians, especially for vegans fortified foods seem to be a good source of vitamin D. Eat a variety of these foods to get the RDA of vitamin D.

Also spending time outdoors in the sun would be a good idea to get the requirement of vitamin D fulfilled. 

 

References

 

  1. Wildman, R. (2009) The Nutritionist-Food, Nutrition, and Optimal Health, Second Edition; Proteins Are the Basis of Our Structure and Function 124; Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, New York and London.

 

  1. Singh, P. (2018) Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency and Comorbidities: A Review, Journal of the Association of Physicians of India. Vol. 66. http://japi.org/january_2018/11_ra_Treatment.pdf

 

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

https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list

 

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

https://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-9-65

 

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