Foods with Vitamin D Can Help Boost the Immune System and So Much More
Vitamin D foods may be easy to find, but do we get enough vitamin D from the food we eat? The problem is many foods are fortified with vitamin D, but food naturally containing the Vitamin in more than trace amounts are actually fairly rare. Anyone can eat a box of fortified cereal and say hey I just got my vitamins for the day, but in my opinion natural is better.
Getting enough vitamin D from the foods we eat certainly sounds like the best option, but is it? Continue reading to learn more about why we need vitamin D. Discover the best Vitamin D foods to boost your immune system and provide optimal health and wellness. Plus if you say pretty please I'll include tasty vitamin D rich recipes - because what fun is it to learn about the best way to get D from food without actually getting to try them?
Depending on what research study you read two thirds or more of the US population is low in Vitamin D. 75% is a stunning number of people that are insufficient or deficient in this very crucial vitamin.
How do you get your Vitamin D? - Take a quick poll
Fish Tops the List of Foods High in Vitamin D3
Fish and Certain Seafoods are the Best Food Source of Vitamin D
Fish and mollusks is not only rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids but certain wild caught fish are the best source of vitamin D food. Below are the best fish to "catch" on your plate if you want to boost your daily D. Listed generally from highest to lowest based on a 200 calorie portion. (The amount of vitamin D can really differ based on how it is cooked, where it is raised and even among different fish in the same species so keep that in mind)
- Herring: Herring is a powerhouse of vitamin D with a whopping 1384IU for 3oz of fresh Atlantic herring. This vitamin rich fish tops the list of fish with those healthy fats and oils that contain vitamin D3.
- Channel Catfish: Wild Catfish is another great source of the precious D weighing in at 425IU per 3oz serving. One fillet will up the amount to around 800IU.
- Oysters: Those small oil rich raw oysters are a great source of Vit D. Only about 270IU per 6 medium oysters (which is about 3oz), but per 200 calorie serving these low cal mollusks pack a punch right under catfish.
- Sockeye Salmon: Salmon is one of the highest vitamin D fish. In fact, a 3oz serving of Sockeye Salmon has around 650IU of Vitamin D - which is a touch over the recommended daily amount. Make yourself a sandwich with a whole can of Sockeye Salmon and you have one tasty 2800IU burst of vitamin D.
- Pink Salmon: Pink Salmon is also very high in D. Not quite as high as Sockeye but a 3oz serving of canned Pink Salmon has around 530IU of Vitamin D with the liquid and 390IU drained.
- Steelhead Trout: Love your trout? Alaskan trout will bring in around 500IU per 3 oz serving.
- Halibut: Stop by Greenland for some fresh Halibut and you'll enjoy another 500IU per 3oz serving. Who stops at just 3oz of Halibut though? A tender juicy full fillet will give you a nice dose of 2450IU of Vitamin D.
- Mackerel: Holy mackerel (sorry couldn't help myself) a 3oz serving of Mackerel will give you around 300IU - a full fillet is around 400IU
- Canned Tuna: Tuna while not as high as a similar can of salmon will give you around 400IU of D, in comparison a 3oz serving is only around 200IU.
- Cod: Atlantic Cod is a white fish and much lighter in oils and fats that contain vitamin D. Therefore if you enjoy a nice dinner of cod a 3oz portion will give you only around 70IU.
A study by the National Institute of Health shows that the amount of vitamin D in fish may not be as high as nutritionists state. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ Not only that, the amount of D significantly drops if the fish is farmed vs fresh or is fried in vegetable oil vs baked.
A typical large egg has around 17-18IU of vitamin D. The vitamin D is primarily in the yolk, not the white. Pastured egg yolks have 4-6 times more vitamin D than conventional eggs so if you can find a local farmer you'll get much more bang for your cluck. (Sorry couldn't help myself)
While not as much vitamin D as a fish fry a good pastured 3 egg omelet is a great way to get more vitamin D and this wild rice sausage omelet with toasted sesame seeds ups the D with the sausage. Add in some tasty mushrooms and you'll get 100+IU in your morning meal.
- 2 -3 Large Eggs
- 1/2 cup diced wild rice summer sausage
- 1/2 tsp sesame seeds
- 1/4 cup Shiitake mushrooms (optional)
- 3 Large fresh basil leaves
- Sea salt
- Ground pepper
- Colby Jack cheese
- Pastured Butter or coconut oil
- Pre-heat omelet pan on medium high heat.
- Beat eggs (add a touch of water to make them nice and fluffy). Add salt and pepper or any other seasonings you'd like.
- Toast the sesame seeds with a touch of course salt (I love adding dried garlic and dried chili peppers to the mix). When nice and toasty set aside in a bowl.
- Add a bit of butter or coconut oil to the hot pan you used for the sesame seeds - add the egg mixture and sprinkle on the sesame seeds.
- Turn heat to low and cover for a few minutes until the egg is done throughout.
- Add your cheese, wild rice sausage, fresh basil and mushrooms - flip in half and serve!
Liquid Vitamin D Drops Help Supplement Vitamin D
Unfortunately many of us despite eating the right foods, and getting enough sun still need to take extra vitamin D.
Did you know sunscreen blocks the creation of vitamin D? It's true! And if you live in a northern climate (say anywhere north of San Francisco, CA) the sun just doesn't have a strong enough UV index to create enough vitamin D most of the year.
Our family takes a little extra Vitamin D3 every day, especially in the winter, to keep our immune system nice and pumped up. We really like these vitamin D drops here since there are no funky ingredients - just plain 'ol D.
Faster acting liquid D3 gets to where it needs to go in the body sooner which helps give the immune system a fighting chance.
Vitamin D3 vs D2?
Vitamin D3 is produced in animals with exposure to the sun. Vitamin D2 is produced in some plants (mostly mushrooms) with exposure to the sun or artificial ultraviolet light. The body uses Vitamin D3 and D2 similarly but tends to make more efficient use of vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 from mushrooms is the most natural food form of the vitamin for vegetarians and vegans.
Mushrooms: The Best Plant Food Source of Vitamin D - Tip: Sun Your Mushrooms for Increased Vitamin D
The above chart shows the Vitamin D2 content of several mushroom variates for a single 84 gram serving. While I have to admit I'm not much of a mushroom fan myself I did have a lot of fun hunting for wild Morel mushrooms as a kid with the fam. It is interesting to note Morel mushrooms are one of the highest D packed shrooms.
Typically mushrooms are pretty low in vitamin D with most store bought white mushrooms bringing in under 10IU of D per serving. The more exotic Maitake mushroom is super charged at nearly 950IU. However a very interesting tip to increase the vitamin D content of mushrooms is to "sun" your mushrooms before you eat them.
Just like animals (people included) produce vitamin D3 when exposed to the sun, mushrooms do the vary same with D2. So the more sun exposure you can give your shrooms the more vitamin D packed they will become. Even if you don't have time (or the sun) to up your mushrooms D before you eat them look for sun dried store bought mushrooms for the highest D2 content.
According to the video below Shiitake mushrooms can absorb as much as 46,000IU of that precious D over a couple days! The chart above shows even a few minutes of sun exposure can up the D to 500IU or more depending on the type of mushroom.
How to Sun Your Mushrooms to Get More Vit D
Easy Ways to Increase the Vitamin D Content of Mushrooms
1: Place mushrooms gill side up (the underside of the mushroom) in the sun or under a UVB light
2: The longer the better but even a 5 minute exposure will increase the D. 6 hours from 10am to 4pm is optimal with a maximum benefit of 2 days
Very fun video talking about four sources of vitamin D.
Look for information about sunning your mushrooms to supercharge the vitamin D2 at the 5:00 mark.
More vitamin D foods to come including more information on mushrooms, eggs and meats.
And of course more recipes! ... plus a surprise dark chocolate treat you don't want to miss... bookmark and come back again!
Still have questions about "The D"? - More D Resources, Food Sources and Information
- 461 Foods that Contain Vitamin D
An extensive list of foods that have Vit D, along with the amount of D per 200 calorie serving. Mostly fortified foods however.
- Recommended Amount of Vitamin D
National Institute of Health quick facts guide to vitamin D including recommended daily intake and vitamin D2 vs D3 information. Also referenced are a number of foods rich in Vitamin D.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2014 Rusty Quill
Thanks for Stopping By - What are your favorite foods that contain Vitamin D?
Rusty Quill (author) on September 27, 2014:
Ha, ha thank you Shades-of-truth I couldn't resist. :) I hadn't heard about foot pain, but I know low vitamin D is associated with all sorts of illnesses and bodily issues. Even those of us that think we get enough vitamin D from the sun can be low in D as well - my father in law works out in the sun every day and just found out he is deficient - you just never know.
Emily Tack from USA on September 27, 2014:
I loved the "bang for your cluck" comment. I also found that getting enough Vitamin D in your diet can help with foot pain some people have.
The way most of us have to work indoors, it is often hard to get all of the Vitamin D our bodies require. Great article!
Rusty Quill (author) on April 08, 2014:
@dcliege: Sounds like you have it covered dcliege thanks for stopping by!
dcliege on April 05, 2014:
I try to eat a variety of Vitamin D-rich foods, and also bought the Vitamin D drops advertised a few months ago. Take at least 2000 mg/day in addition to the Vitamin D added to my calcium tablets.
Rusty Quill (author) on April 03, 2014:
@TapIn2U: Thank you TapIn2U, yes it is surprising how many of us are low in vitamin D. And even if you supplement with D "supplementing" with good foods is a great idea too. :) Plus it is much more fun to eat a healthy meal than take a pill.
TapIn2U on April 02, 2014:
Great lens! I've known a lot of people with vitamin D deficiency and been taking supplements. These list of vitamin D containing foods are what they need. Got to share it to them. Sundae ;-)