Cod liver oil

Human body needs all nutrition types such as vitamins, minerals and energy to function at its maximum level. Two different kinds of vitamins are water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins. Vitamin D comes under fat soluble vitamin. All these vitamins perform specific roles in our body and give different health benefits. Vitamins are important for development of bones, teeth and to improve immunity against diseases. The requirement of vitamins can be met by eating a well balanced diet.

Vitamin D and calcium works together to strengthen our bones. Vitamin D protects human body from diseases such as osteomalacia, osteoporosis, and loss of balance, asthma, low immune function and rickets.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences says the required intake of vitamin D per day:

  • Children and teens – 600 IU
  • Adults upto age 70 – 600 IU
  • Adults over age 70 – 800 IU

Unfortunately no fruit contains vitamin D and in vegetables, only mushroom contains it. The great sources of vitamin D are White mushrooms, whole milk, cod liver oil, Sushi, Tofu, Eggs, Swiss Cheese, Herrings, Sardines, Canned salmon, Mackerel, Red snapper and few other foods.

Mushrooms – To keep our bones healthy, eating food with calcium and vitamin D is essential. Mushrooms are naturally produces vitamin D since it’s exposed to direct sunlight which enhances calcium absorption and it helps to strengthen our bones.

Dried Shiitake mushroom

It contains no fat and lots of vitamin D; fresh shiitake mushrooms are harder to find so having dried shiitake mushrooms in our kitchen helps to have a healthy flavourful ingredient at our fingertip. Dried mushroom contains vitamin D eight times more than fresh and hence it is better to take dried ones. Just 4 mushrooms gives you 20IU of vitamin D.

Chanterelle mushrooms

It not only looks different also gives 30 times more vitamin D also contains iron, potassium, fibre and niacin. Eating very small quantity of mushrooms also gives the required amount of vitamin which needs a day. Per 3-oz gives 212 IU of vitamin D

Portobello mushrooms

These mushrooms are extremely large and in dark brown colour. It is vegetarian friendly and one cup of diced mushroom contains 64% of the daily required intake of vitamin D. Per 3-oz, it gives you 154 IU of vitamin D.

top sources of Vitamin D

Whole Milk

Milk provides a number of necessary nutrients. Fortified milk contains a consistent amount of vitamin D. Whole milk is also called as cream milk. This milk is very important especially in cold weather regions where the chances of getting enough sun for the body to produce vitamin D are questionable. It is usually consumed by children and teenagers as well as by body builders. A cup of fortified whole milk provides more than 20% of vitamin D needed for the body. 1 cup of milk gives 124 IU of vitamin D.

Cod Liver oil

Cod liver oil is produced from cod liver fish. It is a great source of both vitamin A & D. This can be taken either in the form of liquid or capsules. Capsules are little expensive. The oil can be mixed water and you can gulp it down or adding this oil to homemade salads also works. 1 tsp gives 450 IU of vitamin D.


Sushi is a famous Japanese dish consisting of cooked vinegared rice served with some toppings. The calories may vary depending on the varieties and vitamin D is available in sushi if it is cooked with raw fish. The combination of rice and seafood gives good health benefits. 4 pieces of sushi gives you 14 IU of vitamin D.


This Asian food made by coagulating soy milk and then pressing the resulting curds into soft white blocks is widely available. Tofu is fortified with calcium and vitamin D. It has a low calorie count and contains large amounts of protein. It can be prepared either lightly flavoured, fried, as a soup or even smoked tofu is a popular one. Those with allergies are not advised to consume tofu.   100 gms of tofu gives 157 IU of vitamin D.

Swiss Cheese

A native of Switzerland, 99% of this cheese is produced with cow’s milk only. It is rich in vitamin C & D and both are essential to make us healthier and look younger. Take a slice of this cheese in your diet and this helps in getting enough vitamins D and C. One slice of cheese gives 6 IU of vitamin D.


One egg yolk contains 40 IU of vitamin D you can add it either to breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is important to take the whole egg and not just the whites.  It is advised to not try to get vitamin D only from eggs, since one egg contains nearly 200 milligrams of cholesterol and consuming more than 300 miligrams per day is not good for heart health. One large egg contains 44 IU of vitamin D.


Oatmeal provides all vitamins and minerals. One packet of say 44 gm of fortified oatmeal gives 154 IU of vitamin D.

Orange Juice

Home made orange juice would be the best option. But many brands of orange juices are also commonly fortified. One and half cup of juice gives you 45 IU of vitamin D. It is a healthy way to start your day.

orange juice
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Let us see the different types of seafood that contain vitamin D.

Canned salmon & mackerel

Salmon are rich in protein, Omega 3s and vitamin D3. Farmed salmon contains only 100 – 250 IU/99g but canned salmon contains 300 to 600 IU/99g. Eating 100g canned salmon gives 91% of vitamin D which needs for the day.  Canned fish contains more vitamin D also it is cheaper than fresh fish. 100 gms of salmon gives 547 IU of vitamin D. Like salmon mackerel also a great remedy for vitamin D and you can consume these in winter when sunshine is not a reliable source. 100 gms of mackerel gives 360 IU of vitamin D.

Herring and sardines

Both these varieties belong to the same family. Both types of fish are good sources of vitamin D. Sardines are rich in calcium while herring contains fatty acids which helps prevent heart diseases and keeps our brain function healthy. If the herrings are larger than 17 cm then eat them twice in a month and if it is less, you can eat a few more times. Women who are pregnant or are planning may also safely eat herrings.

100 gms of sardines gives you 270 IU of vitamin D and 143 gms of herring gives you 360 IU.

Red Snapper

This fish is loaded with essential vitamins particularly vitamins D and E, it is low in calories and rich in protein.  Taking 100 gms of snapper gives you a full day’s supply of vitamin D and helps to maintain a balanced diet.

The American Heart Association advises that fish can be taken twice in a week. It says eating fish is a great way to improve our heart health. Select any type of fish fresh, frozen or canned but try to compare the nutrition facts and choose the product.

Eat the above mentioned foods based on the age group to get required quantity of vitamin D every day. Always consume nutrition rich food to keep your body and heart healthy.

Kalaivani Selvaraj, MBA, got her Master’s degree in Human Resources. Due to her interest in natural healing, she pursued studies in the field of alternative medicine and is certified in Aromatherapy by Isla Verde Spa Training Academy. Ms. Kalaivani Selvaraj is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.