Vitamin D Deficiency? 8 Foods That Will Help Fight It
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Did you know that Vitamin D is the only nutrient that doubles as a hormone as well? Also known as the sunshine hormone, Vitamin D is a powerhouse nutrient that helps everything from skin and bone health to mental and cardiovascular health. But, on the other hand, if you have a Vitamin D deficiency, then this can seriously impair your health. In India, Vitamin D deficiency is a major health issue that impacts a large part of the population. 

According to the National Family Health Survey 5 (NFHS-5) released in 2022, the prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in India ranges from 50% to 70%. This high Vitamin D deficiency prevalence is the main reason behind the Indian population being susceptible to issues like osteopenia, osteoporosis, kidney diseases, etc. A 2021 study published in BMC Public Health also states that since Vitamin D plays a huge role in our normal bodily functions, its deficiency can lead to the development of many non-communicable diseases like colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes, tuberculosis and autoimmune issues like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. 

Another recent study published in the peer-reviewed journal Calcified Tissue International and Musculoskeletal Research says that Vitamin D deficiency can also increase the risk of age-related loss of muscle strength or dynapenia. So, apart from affecting your immune system and bodily functions, Vitamin D deficiency can also be a major obstacle for your muscle maintenance—a key factor in healthy weight loss diets. These reasons, together, highlight the value of Vitamin D as an essential nutrient, and the need to prevent Vitamin D deficiency in any way possible. 

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One of the best ways to prevent Vitamin D deficiency is to include foods rich in this nutrient in your diet. Of course, if your Vitamin D deficiency is too severe, then taking supplements as per a doctor’s recommendation is important—but dietary changes can actually help you keep the issue at bay altogether. Here are some foods rich in Vitamin D that you should include in your regular diet to ensure that you prevent Vitamin D deficiency. 

Fatty Fish 

Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout are excellent sources of vitamin D. They contain high levels of naturally occurring vitamin D3. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked salmon can provide approximately 360-600 IU of vitamin D, depending on the species and preparation. 

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is derived from the liver of codfish and is one of the richest sources of vitamin D. One tablespoon (about 14 grams) of cod liver oil can offer approximately 1,300-1,400 IU of vitamin D. 


Certain mushrooms, such as shiitake, maitake, and portobello, can produce vitamin D2 when exposed to UV light. The amount of vitamin D in mushrooms can vary, but it generally ranges from 100 to 400 IU per 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of fresh mushrooms. 

Egg Yolks

You might have thought eating egg yolks can lead to cholesterol, but the fact is, egg yolks are packed with many essential nutrients, including Vitamin D. Egg yolks contain an approximate amount of 40 IU vitamin D per large egg yolk. So, it's important to consume the whole egg to obtain the full benefits. 

Fortified Dairy Products 

Many dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese are fortified with vitamin D. The exact amount of vitamin D can vary depending on the brand and type of product. On average, an 8-ounce (240-milliliter) glass of fortified milk can provide around 100 IU of vitamin D. Reading the labels and getting dairy products from trusted sources is very important. 

Fortified Plant-Based Sources

Here’s some good news for vegans and vegetarians looking for Vitamin D-rich sources. Plant-based milk alternatives, such as soy milk, almond milk, or oat milk, are often fortified with vitamin D. The vitamin D content in fortified plant-based milk can vary, but it typically ranges from 80 to 120 IU per 8-ounce (240-milliliter) serving. 


While you may not be that fond of eating offal cuts like liver and lungs, these are usually packed with plenty of Vitamin D—depending on the way the animal source was reared of course. For example, on average, a 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked chicken liver can provide around 12-15 IU of vitamin D. A 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving of cooked mutton liver can provide approximately 1-2 IU of vitamin D. 

Fortified Cereals

Certain breakfast cereals are fortified with vitamin D to enhance their nutritional value. The vitamin D content in fortified cereals can range from 40 to 100 IU per serving, depending on the brand and type. Of course, it is very important to read the labels and get the right kind of fortified cereals, otherwise you may run the risk of excessive sugar consumption.