Top 8 Vitamin D Foods You Can Add to Your Diet

Are you getting enough vitamin D in your diet? This nutrient is important for healthy cell growth, proper immune system function, and calcium absorption to keep your bones strong. It also helps prevent rickets in children, and together with calcium, the “sunshine” vitamin can help prevent osteoporosis in the elderly.

Vitamin D is produced in the body when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays from the sun. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is 600 international units (IU) or 15 micrograms (mcg) for most adults. For people over 80, the RDA is 800 IU (20 mcg).

However, most people do not get enough vitamin D through sunlight, and food is not a good source of this nutrient. Diet alone usually does not allow you to exceed 288 IU per day. It’s no wonder you’re so deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency means you have 20 nanograms per milliliter or less of this nutrient in your blood. If you are obese or do not have a college education, you are at risk of vitamin D deficiency.

You can choose supplements to get the right dose. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) found in foods of animal origin is generally better absorbed by the body, although vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) of plant origin is also used in supplements. However, research is conflicting about whether vitamin D supplements have any real health benefits.

Make sure your diet includes plenty of the following foods to increase your intake.

1 salmon

Salmon is not only a great choice if you’re looking to add protein to your diet, but it’s also packed with sunshine vitamins. 60 g of cooked sockeye salmon contains about 447 IU of vitamin D. In addition to vitamin D, salmon is an excellent dietary supplement as it is a good source of healthy protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Fish contains two essential omega-3s: eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, which must be obtained from the diet. Omega-3 contributes to good immune, pulmonary, endocrine and cardiovascular health. Other fatty cold-water fish, such as mackerel and sardines, are also high in vitamin D.

2 Eat swordfish in moderation

Swordfish is another favorite. 85 grams of swordfish provides 566 IU per serving, so you’re close to your recommended daily intake of vitamin D. You should eat at least two portions of fish per week, and this fish is versatile and delicious. But beware of children and pregnant women, large fish such as swordfish are best avoided as they are more contaminated with mercury than smaller species with a shorter life span. However, the health benefits for the elderly outweigh the risks.

3 Canned tuna constitutes more than 25% of the recommended daily allowance.

85 grams of canned tuna contains 154 IU of vitamin D. This inexpensive dish is perfect for a light lunch, such as a classic tuna sandwich or tuna salad. Make your favorite dish healthy with this recipe for tuna salad with artichokes and ripe olives. Tuna is available and affordable, making it a great choice for everyone.

4 Eat mushrooms and you will get vitamin D

Although mushrooms do not naturally provide high levels of vitamin D, some are treated with UV light, which provides a higher dose of this nutrient. Vitamin D levels vary depending on the amount of UV light the mushrooms are exposed to. One serving contains 124 to 1022 IU per 100 grams (g). Once you have them, add sautéed mushrooms to eggs or fish for an even more vitamin D-rich meal. Or make a heartier mushroom dish, like vegetable-stuffed portobels.

5 Fortified yogurt is a gut-healthy snack

Yogurt is a convenient and delicious snack – and eaten plain or with fresh fruit, it’s also healthy. This type of dairy is an excellent source of gut-friendly probiotics, and choosing a fortified variety will reduce your daily vitamin D needs by 10 to 20 percent, depending on the brand.

6 Cereals can be fortified with vitamin D, and rolled oats offer fiber

A packet of unsweetened, fortified rolled oats can add a solid dose of vitamin D to your diet. Fortified ready-to-eat cereals typically provide 40 IU of vitamin D per serving. But they can provide more if you choose more fortified cereals, which contain 60.2 IU per cup.

7 Eggs contain protein and strengthen the immune system

Egg yolk has always been known to raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. However, if you skip them and opt for egg whites, you’re missing out on some of the protein and some of the immune-boosting minerals found in the yolk, such as zinc and selenium. Plus, you’re missing out on vitamin D. One egg yolk contains 41 IU, or 10 percent of the daily value, according to the NIH. Use them in moderation.

8 sardines give you calcium, omega-3 and protein.

Buying fresh fish can be expensive. If that puts you off, try canned sardines. They are cheaper than other types of fish and are high in protein, heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and vitamin D. Two sardines in 1 can provide 46 IU of vitamin D, or 12% of the daily value. This underrated fish pairs well with salads, pasta sauces and stews.

* Presse Santé aims to communicate health information in a language accessible to all. IN NO EVENT SHOULD THE INFORMATION PROVIDED BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR THE ADVICE OF A HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONAL.

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