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Foods High in Vitamin D

Foods High in Vitamin D

Vitamin D is unique, because it can be obtained from food and sun exposure.However, up to 50% of the world's population may not get enough sunlight, and 40% of people in the US are deficient in vitamin D.This is partly because people spend more time indoors, wear sunblock outside and eat a Western diet low in good sources of this vitamin.The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) is 400 IU of vitamin D per day from foods, but many health organizations recommend getting 600 IU.If you don't get enough sunlight, it should probably be closer to 1,000 IU per day.Here are 9 healthy foods that are high in vitamin D.


Salmon is a popular fatty fish and also a great source of vitamin D.According to nutrient databases, one 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving of salmon contains between 361 and 685 IU of vitamin D.However, it is usually not specified whether the salmon was wild or farmed. This might not seem important, but it can make a big difference.One study found that wild-caught salmon contains 988 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving, on average. That's 247% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI).Some studies have found even higher levels in wild salmon, ranging up to 1,300 IU per serving.Farmed salmon contained only 25% of that amount, on average. Still, that means a serving of farmed salmon contains about 250 IU of vitamin D, which is 63% of the RDI.

Herring and Sardines

Herring is a fish eaten around the world. It can be served raw, canned, smoked or pickled.It's also one of the best sources of vitamin D.Fresh Atlantic herring provides 1,628 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving, which is four times the RDI.If fresh fish isn't your thing, pickled herring is also a great source of vitamin D, providing 680 IU per 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving. That's 170% of the RDI.However, pickled herring also contains a high amount of sodium, which some people consume too much of.Sardines are another type of herring that is also a good source of vitamin D. One serving contains 272 IU, which is 68% of the RDI.

Cod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil is a popular supplement. If you don't like fish, taking cod liver oil can be a good way to obtain certain nutrients that are hard to get from other sources.At about 450 IU per teaspoon (4.9 ml), cod liver oil is an excellent source of vitamin D. It's been used for many years to prevent and treat deficiency in children.Cod liver oil is also a fantastic source of vitamin A, with 90% of the RDI in just one teaspoon (4.9 ml). However, vitamin A can be toxic in high amounts.Therefore, it's best to be cautious with cod liver oil and not take more than you need.Cod liver oil is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which many people are lacking in.

Canned Tuna

Many people enjoy canned tuna because of its light flavor and the fact that it can be kept on-hand in the pantry.It is also usually cheaper than buying fresh fish.Canned light tuna contains up to 236 IU of vitamin D in a 100-gram (3.5-oz) serving, which is more than half of the RDI.It is also a good source of niacin and vitamin K.Unfortunately, canned tuna is often associated with methylmercury, a toxin that is found in many types of fish. If it builds up in the body, it can cause serious health problems in humans.However, some types of fish pose less risk than others. Light tuna is typically a better choice than white tuna, and it's considered safe to eat up to 6 oz per week.


Oysters are a type of clam that live in salt water. They are delicious, low in calories and full of nutrients.One 3.5-oz (100-gram) serving of wild oysters has only 68 calories, but contains 320 IU of vitamin D, or 80% of the RDI.In addition, one serving of oysters contains 2–6 times more than the RDI of vitamin B12, copper and zinc — far more than multivitamins contain.

Eating plenty of these vitamin D-rich foods is a great way to make sure you get enough of this important nutrient.