10 Ways To Get More Vitamin D In Your Diet

Most of the health articles you read talk about lowering your cholesterol, getting enough protein and vitamin C, and making a point to eat less sugary and fried food options. Such focus, however, is seldom given to one essential vitamin that aids in regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption, maintaining strong teeth and bone health, and providing protection against diseases like cancer and diabetes. I’m talking, of course, of vitamin D.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is produced in the skin after exposure to sunlight, earning it the nickname, the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’. It helps to maintain normal immune system response and assists in the growth and development of your bones and teeth. Vitamin D is also believed to be effective against certain forms of cancer, the flu, and even heart disease. So how do you get an adequate amount of this life-giving vitamin? The best way is by exposure to sunlight (about 10 minutes/day of midday sunshine), but if you cannot get outside often enough, or the weather is being uncooperative, here are ten foods you can add to your diet to ensure you are getting your necessary amount of vitamin D.

1. Salmon

Salmon is an excellent source of Vitamin D, containing about 450 IUs (international units) per three-ounce serving. The normal recommended daily intake for Vitamin D is 600 IUs according to the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

2. Trout

Like salmon, trout is another great way to get your vitamin D fix. You can serve trout in a number of ways, including salad with vinaigrette dressing, or serve it smoked, grilled, or pan-fried, although the latter is probably not the healthiest option.

3. Eel

This one will be a hard argument to make for some people, but it’s never too late to try something new. Eel, like trout, can be smoked, fried, or grilled, and is a great additive for a seafood soup or stew. You can also make an eel chowder, or an eel and clam chowder mix. Feel free to experiment!

4. Sardines

Sardines are the chicken of the sea, and coincidentally, are a rich source of vitamin D. They make excellent additions to salads, as appetizers with crackers and sauce/dip, or even in pasta like fettuccine.

5. Shrimp

While sardines may be known as the chicken of the sea, shrimp are the fruit of the sea. According to Benjamin Beauford Blue, “You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it,” and even make “shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich, and that’s about it!” Evidently there are plenty of ways to get your vitamin D fix from shrimp.

6. Canned Tuna

Tuna is another pretty adaptable food item across various dishes. You can make a tuna sandwich, a salad, or even a tuna casserole. Other tasty recipes for tuna include rigatoni, tuna and egg salad, tuna and white bean soup, and tuna with pasta salad.

7. Egg Yolk

Eggs are likely much easier to sell you on than eel or trout. You can have eggs with virtually any breakfast meal, but in order to get the vitamin D you seek, you will have to be sure to eat the whole egg, and not just the whites. Try some eggs-over-easy with some toast for breakfast, or, if you prefer scrambled eggs, again be sure to utilize the whole egg, not just the whites.

8. Fortified Milk/Orange Juice

Cow’s milk is usually fortified with vitamin D here in the United States, so getting a plentiful amount of it shouldn’t be too difficult if you drink milk regularly or have it with your coffee or cereal. Additionally, some forms of fortified orange juice can serve as an alternative to drinking a glass of milk. Both options contain about 100 IUs per eight-ounce serving, so if you can, try to drink a couple of glasses a day.

9. Beef Liver

Again, not the most appealing dish to get your recommended daily amount, but liver is also high in protein, iron, and vitamin A, which makes it a great dish for keeping your body healthy. Unfortunately, liver does contain a lot of cholesterol, so if you would prefer a fatty fish like salmon, by all means pick your poison.

10. Supplements

If cooking or eating fish doesn’t hold any appeal for you, you can always stop by your local GNC and pick up some vitamin D supplements or some fatty fish oils. Multivitamins are another great way to go in terms of supplements, because on top of vitamin D they also contain other essential vitamins and minerals necessary for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.