Vitamin D Foods List
A diet plan that includes foods rich in Vitamin D can help you maintain strong bones and teeth, prevent heart disease and even help ward off depression.
You would think that with the sun shining down on us, we would all be getting plenty of Vitamin D, but many people are seriously deficient in the “sunshine vitamin” and don’t even know it.
Vitamin D is used by the body to facilitate the absorption of calcium. This is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth and protecting against diseases such as osteoporosis.(1)
In addition to its importance for bone health, Vitamin D has also been found to reduce inflammation, which can help with various conditions such as arthritis, asthma, and even cardiovascular disease.
Benefits of a Vitamin D Diet Plan
Here are some of the benefits you stand to gain by indulging in a diet that is rich in vitamin D.
Enhanced Immune Function
The immune system is responsible for protecting you against disease and illness.
An effective immune system is essential to your overall health and vitality, so it’s essential to make sure that you’re getting adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Vitamin D has enhanced immune function by boosting the body’s natural ability to fight off infections.
Stronger Bones and Teeth
Vitamin D is essential for bone health because it helps the body use calcium from the diet.
Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency has been associated with rickets, a disease where the bone tissue doesn’t properly mineralize, leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities.
However, research reveals the importance of vitamin D in protecting against a host of health problems.
Vitamin D’s primary role in keeping bones strong explains why this nutrient is often associated with osteoporosis prevention.
Scientists have also observed links between low vitamin D levels and various conditions, including osteoarthritis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases.
As such, it is becoming clear that getting enough vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and overall good health.
Better Muscle Coordination and Strength
Vitamin D is a critical factor in helping your muscles and nerves work properly. When you don’t get enough of it, you may experience muscle weakness and imbalance.
This can lead to injuries from falls or other accidents.
In addition, research shows that vitamin D may play a role in reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases that affect muscle activity or coordination.
Vitamin D has been shown to reduce inflammation by suppressing the activity of inflammatory cells and regulating the production of pro-inflammatory molecules in the body.
A higher vitamin D level is associated with a decreased risk of multiple sclerosis, one of the most common inflammatory diseases in young adults.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in regulating mood and warding off depression. People with depression who received vitamin D supplements tend to notice an improvement in their symptoms.
Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. This type of depression is often linked to the change from longer days in summer to shorter ones during the winter months.
What’re more, studies show that supplementing with vitamin D can help with symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Tips for Incorporating Vitamin D into your Diet
While we can get vitamin D from foods, supplements, and the sun, getting it from a healthy diet is best.
Though you may get enough of this vital vitamin through sun exposure, many people need to focus more on their diets, particularly in the winter when we spend more time indoors.
Here are some simple ways to add more vitamin D-rich foods to your diet:
Get a good breakfast. Fortified cereals and bread products are an easy way to get vitamin D and other nutrients like calcium and fiber.
Other breakfast foods like margarine, eggs, and milk are also rich in vitamin D.
Eat more fish. The alternative name for vitamin D is “the sunshine vitamin,” but fish is also an excellent source. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel are excellent sources of vitamin D.
Grilled wild salmon with lemon and herbs makes for a delicious dinner meal. Herring and sardines also contain high amounts of nutrients.
Get your veggies. Beef liver is one of the few meat sources of vitamin D, but vegetarians can find it in mushrooms and fortified soy products like tofu and soy milk.
Mushrooms exposed to sunlight can produce vitamin D2, just like humans when our skin is exposed to the sun’s rays.
Foods to Eat on a Vitamin D Diet
Here are the foods you should be eating if you want enough vitamin D.
Fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help reduce inflammation in your body. They also supply small amounts of vitamin D.
Beef liver supplies small amounts of vitamin D, highly bio-available iron, and many other nutrients. However, it’s also high in cholesterol and should be eaten only occasionally.
Mushrooms have been shown to have the ability to produce vitamin D2 when exposed to ultraviolet light, so they are another option for getting more vitamin D in your diet.
Because they can be grown in controlled environments and exposed to UV light before harvesting, you can buy mushrooms with more concentrated vitamin D levels.
Cheese’s natural color is white, which means that it’s also an excellent source of calcium. But don’t be fooled by brightly colored cheese products like orange cheddar.
These are usually artificially colored to appeal to consumers and don’t offer the same health benefits as pure white cheeses.
Egg yolks are a great source of vitamin D, with one large egg providing 20 percent of your DV.
Egg yolks also contain biotin, folate, and choline, essential nutrients to include in your diet to improve fetal brain development during pregnancy.
A healthy vitamin D diet is easy to follow. Vitamin D can be found in many foods and is made in our bodies when we expose our skin to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
The amount of sun needed depends on your skin type, where you live, the time of day and year, and whether you are wearing sunscreen.
People with lighter skin can get enough vitamin D by exposing their arms and face to sunlight for 5 to 30 minutes at least twice a week. People with darker skin need more time in the sun.
Many people need to take a daily vitamin D supplement because they do not get enough food or spend time in the sun.
The best way to know if you are getting enough vitamin D is to talk with your health care provider about having your vitamin D levels checked.
Printable Vitamin D Foods List Table (PDF)
|Eggs and Sweet Potatoes
|Chicken and Kale Salad
|Sauteed Shrimp and Spinach
|Scrambled eggs with a sweet potato hash
|A cup of yogurt
|Tuna salad in an avocado
|Salmon with sauteed spinach
|Greek yogurt with nuts
|A handful of almonds
|Chicken on top of a kale salad
|Black bean soup with quinoa
|2 hard-boiled eggs and a cup of tea
|A small bowl of coconut chips
|Grilled salmon with tomatoes and avocado
|Grass-fed lean steak with grilled asparagus and broccoli
|Porridge made with milk, topped with walnuts
|Celery sticks with cottage cheese
|Chicken breast with vegetable stir fry
|Tuna salad on an English muffin
|Salad of romaine leaves with cherry tomatoes
|Greek yogurt mixed with berries
|Spinach salad with mushrooms
|Salmon steak with cauliflower rice
|Porridge with berries and sunflower seeds
|A handful of sesame seeds
|Tuna salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and avocado
|Grilled chicken with roasted veggies and quinoa