Known as the “sun vitamin”, vitamin D is a necessary nutrient that is produced when the body is exposed to sunlight. It’s also found in a limited number of foods. From maintaining strong bones to supporting a healthy immune system, vitamin D actually acts as a hormone in the body and has significant health benefits. But roughly 42% of Americans are nutritionally deficient.

While it doesn’t take much sun exposure to repair your vitamin D for the day, cold temperatures, limited sun exposure, and concerns about an increased risk of skin cancer can make it difficult. Many need vitamin D supplementation to keep their levels constant. However, there are some vitamin D foods worth including in your diet to take advantage of the nutritional benefits of this powerful nutrient and achieve the recommended daily value of 20 µg or 800 IU. Here are some of the highest vitamin D foods that you can incorporate into your everyday life:

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1. Rainbow trout

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      This salmon relative may be a lesser-known fish, but it offers a ton of nutritional benefits. A 3-ounce serving of cooked rainbow trout packs in 645 IU of vitamin D, or 81% of the daily value, which is even more than the same serving of salmon. With its delicate taste, this tender and flaky fish is well suited for various types of marinades or just for the usual salt and pepper.

      2. mushrooms

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      Not only are mushrooms full of flavor and antioxidants, they’re also one of the few vegan sources of vitamin D and also the only plant-based source of nutrients. Half a cup of sliced ​​white mushrooms exposed to UV light packs containing 366 IU of vitamin D, which is almost half the daily value. These mushroom recipes are full of flavor and provide a vitamin D boost for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

      3 eggs

      Flatbread with avocado, egg, feta cheese and rocket salad

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      Increase your health with this inexpensive, yet high-quality source of protein. Eggs are a great addition to any meal of the day and are full of essential nutrients. The egg yolks contain vitamin D, so opt for whole grain omelets instead of just protein. One large egg contains 44 IU of vitamin D or 6% of the daily value. Our top choice is GH Nutritionist honored Eggland’s best eggs that have six times more vitamin D than ordinary eggs. Try them out in these easy egg recipes for your best brunch ever.

      4. Salmon

      raw fresh tasty salmon and vegetables

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      The health benefits of this popular fish are many, from helping a healthy immune system to reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cognitive decline. Three ounces of cooked sockeye salmon contain 570 IU of vitamin D, or 71% of the daily value. Serve these easy salmon recipes for a healthy and tasty weekday dinner.

      5. Sardines

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      This inexpensive fish is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids but low in mercury. Just two cans of sardines not only contain 46 IU of vitamin D, or 6% of the daily value, but are also an excellent source of calcium, which together can support bone health. Sardines are also high in vitamin B12, which makes them a popular choice among pescatarians. You can enjoy them straight from the can, add them to a salad or grill fresh sardines like any other fish.

      6. Cod liver oil

      Dietary supplement capsules with oil omega 3, vitamin A or e

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      Cod liver oil, one of the highest dietary sources of vitamin D, has been used for years to help prevent vitamin D deficiency. One tablespoon of cod liver oil is not only rich in omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients like vitamin A, but also contains a whopping 1,360 IU of vitamin D, which is 170% of the daily value. Add cod liver oil to homemade salad dressing for your daily dose. Smoothies can be another great way to sneak cod liver oil into your daily routine. Since cod liver oil is not ideal for cooking and at high temperatures, it is often taken in the form of dietary supplements.

      7. Liver


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      The liver is full of nutrients, making it one of the most nutritious foods in the world. A standard three-ounce serving of braised beef liver contains 42 IU of vitamin D, or 5% of the daily value. Liver is used in many dishes, such as the Greek Easter soup magiritsa. But if you hate organ meat, other options on this list may provide a bigger dose of vitamin D anyway.

      8. Fortified milk and cereals

      Right above the dash of milk that is served on the table at breakfast

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      A profitable combination of milk and cereal isn’t just a convenient breakfast option. These items are both commonly fortified with several important nutrients, including vitamin D. One cup of 2% milk fortified with vitamin D contains 120 IU of vitamin D, which is 15% of the daily value. However, it may surprise you that non-dairy alternatives are also loaded with the nutrient. Soy, almond, and oat milk fortified with vitamin D are also good choices GH Nutritionist Approves Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk that packs 25% of the daily value in just one serving. Ready-to-eat, fortified cereals provide around 10% of the daily value for vitamin D in just one serving. However, be sure to check the nutritional information on the cereal label so that you do not overdo it with added sugar.

          Registered dietitian
          Stefani Sassos is a registered nutritionist with a BS in Nutritional Science from Pennsylvania State University and a MS in Clinical Nutrition from New York University.

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