8 Nutritious Foods That Are High In Vitamin D
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Vitamin D is one of the most curious things in the world because not only is it a vital nutrient we all need for survival but also hormone that our body needs and makes. The best source of vitamin D in the world is sunlight, but second to that are a whole range of foods that we can eat and let our bodies synthesise to create vitamin D. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorous, so the nutrient clearly helps a lot with building and maintaining bones. 

That apart, studies have shown that vitamin D not only boosts the immune system and helps control infections but is also known to reduce inflammation and impact how our mood and neural receptors function. So, to say that maintaining high vitamin D levels is critical for overall health would not be an understatement. And yet, as the Cleveland Clinic says, vitamin D deficiency is pretty common among people worldwide, especially those who work indoors or experience long months of winter without sunlight. 

As winter approaches, it is therefore very important to know about all the foods that can provide us with the right vitamin D amounts. The daily dietary recommendation for vitamin D is 15mcg for men and women who are 19 years and older. For those above 70 years of age, the daily vitamin D requirement is 20mcg. 

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Cod Liver Oil 

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), around 100 grams of cod liver oil has 250mcg of vitamin D, making it one of the most effective vitamin D supplements in the world. In addition, fish oil of any and every kind can also be used as a substantial vitamin D supplement. The best bit is, it is available in easy-to-consume tablet forms as well as an oil that can be infused in cooking.  


While fresh tuna may or may not be available everywhere in the world, canned tuna is and it is loaded with vitamin D. The USDA says that canned tuna has around 2mcg vitamin D per 100 grams, while raw or fresh tuna has 5.7mcg of the nutrient. So, for vitamin D, if you can lay your hands on some fresh tuna, then even better.  


You might have heard that among all the nuts, cashews are the fattiest and unhealthiest. But science says that cashews are actually a great source of micronutrients, especially vitamin D. A 2022 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Heliyon says that roasted cashews have around 600IU of vitamin D, which is a lot. You can, of course, also enjoy cashews raw.  


There is a common misconception that egg whites are healthy and egg yolks aren’t, but science says that egg yolks in particular are rich in vitamin D and other minerals. According to the USDA, 100 grams of whole eggs contain around 2mcg of vitamin D. Combine this with other foods throughout the day, and your vitamin D levels will be maintained daily.  


One of the richest sources of vitamin D in the world, sardines get ignored by many because it is a small fish that tends to have more bones than flesh. The USDA says that 100 grams of fresh sardines contain 4.8mcg of vitamin D, which is a lot. Naturally, the levels are this high because sardines automatically contain essential fish oils.  


The liver of some animals like chicken, mutton and lamb are considered to be delicacies by foodies around the world. But did you know that these offal cuts are also rich in plenty of vitamins, minerals and bioactive compounds? A 2013 study in Advances in Nutrition, for example, says that the vitamin D amount in chicken and turkey liver can be as high as 325mcg!  


Another small fish variety easily and cheaply available worldwide but ignored for its strong smell and bony flavours, anchovies are loaded with vitamin D. The USDA says that 100 grams of anchovies have 1.7mcg of vitamin D. The best bit is, anchovies are very easy to cook as all you need to do is apply salt and turmeric and fry in oil or toast.  


Did you know that among all the vegetables, mushrooms are the richest source of vitamin D? The USDA says that mushrooms contain ergosterol, a compound which gets converted into vitamin D with exposure to UV light, making this fungus one of the best food sources of the nutrient. 100 grams of mushrooms can therefore contain between 21-107mg of vitamin D.