The Best Sources of Vitamin D for a Healthy Diet

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are important for strong bones and teeth. Many foods and supplements are fortified with vitamin D, such as dairy products and cereals, cod liver oil, salmon, swordfish, tuna, orange juice fortified with vitamin D, dairy and vegetable milks fortified with vitamin D, sardines, and beef liver. Herring is an excellent source of vitamin D, containing 214 IU of vitamin D per 3.5-ounce (100-gram) serving. Pickled herring, sardines, and other fatty fish, such as halibut and mackerel, are also good sources.

Oily fish is the best source of vitamin D3, with rainbow trout providing 645 IU for 81% of the Daily Value (DV). Red salmon has slightly less than trout, with 570 IU and 71% of the DV. Salmon may contain mercury, but some authorities say that the benefits of salmon outweigh the dangers, especially if eaten in moderation. A typical serving of sardines, which is approximately one can, would provide about 200 IU. Sardines offer other nutrients, such as vitamin B12 and omega-3s.

At 44 IU and 6% of the recommended daily dose, the vitamin D in one egg is almost identical to that of two sardines. The cholesterol content makes it not recommended to consume eggs. Some people hate it, but it has a big nutritional impact, as it contains a lot of protein, iron and vitamin A. Like eggs, it's quite high in cholesterol.

The vitamin D in 3 ounces of liver is 42 IU for 5% of the DV. In addition to fatty fish like salmon and sardines, other good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, red meat and liver. Vitamin D is also added to some foods such as breakfast cereals, vegetable milks and greases. Check the package information to see if this applies to the products you purchase. In some countries cow's milk is fortified with vitamin D but not in the United Kingdom. With adequate sun exposure and a healthy diet comprised of foods that contain vitamin D supplements may not be needed. As an expert in nutrition and health I recommend that you include a variety of sources of Vitamin D in your diet to ensure you get enough of this essential nutrient.

Eating oily fish like salmon or trout at least twice a week is a great way to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Other sources such as sardines or herring are also excellent sources of Vitamin D. If you don't eat fish then eggs or fortified foods like breakfast cereals can be a good alternative.

Elijah Rinner
Elijah Rinner

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