10 Foods High in Vitamin D

cooked salmon

Although we can find many foods in the supermarket that have been fortified with a synthetic form of vitamin D, there are only a select number of foods that naturally contain vitamin D.

Normally, our body takes in vitamin D in the form of sun-synthesis through the skin. But in our modern times, where many of us spend countless hours indoors, our actual exposure to the sun is limited. This fact may be a principle cause of many ailments, including depression [1].

Personal Disclaimer: I follow an organic vegan diet and I personally use Vitamin D3 serum from premier research labs or consume Shiitake mushrooms. I also make sure I get some sunlight everyday. However, because I have received so many requests from meat eaters on sources of vitamin D in foods I decided to post the following food sources. I must say though that I do recommend a meatless diet for optimum health.

The Top Foods Containing Vitamin D

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1. Shiitake and Button Mushrooms

Surprisingly, the dried versions of shiitake mushrooms are high in vitamin D. This may be due to the fact that these mushrooms are great at sucking up sunlight. Shiitake mushrooms are also rich in B vitamins like B1 and B2. Make sure that you find mushrooms that have been dried in the sun, not by artificial means, in order to achieve the benefits of high vitamin D content.

2. Mackerel

A small, 3½ ounce portion of these high omega-3 containing fish will give you 90% of your recommended daily amount. Currently, the FDA recommends that people eat more of these oily fishes to infuse their bodies with the vitamins and omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA’s) that the human body cannot produce on its own.

3. Sockeye Salmon

A small 3½ ounce portion of cooked salmon will give you 90% of the recommended dietary intake of Vitamin D. Make sure to purchase salmon that has been caught from the wild, if not, then sustainably farmed.

4. Herring

Herring are high in vitamin D because they thrive on plankton, which is full of vitamin D.

5. Sardines

Sardines are one of the best foods sources of vitamin D. One small tin can of sardines will provide you with approximately 70% of your daily needs. These tiny canned fish are also a great source for vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and selenium.

6. Catfish

Catfish: Again, another fish that makes a habit of feeding on plankton, catfish are constantly taking in minuscule sea life that create vitamin D from sunlight.

7. Tuna

Tuna-Foods High in Vitamin D

Eat 3 ounces of tuna daily for 50% of your vitamin D needs. Fresh, wild-caught tuna is the most nutritious. Remember, eating oily fish can also lubricate the body with “good fats” that provide health benefits like better memory and brain function.

8. Cod Liver Oil

If you can stomach the strong aroma, this oil is super-rich in vitamin D. This golden oil, is also rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Incorporating this oil into your diet will help promote healthy and strong bones. Because of its high Vitamin D content, cod liver oil has also been shown to fight osteoporosis in adults, improve brain function, and optimize nervous system function.

9. Eggs

Eggs are another food that contains vitamin D in small amounts. Eating one egg daily will provide you with approximately 10% of your daily needs. I personally recommend eating free-range eggs from a local farm, if possible.

10. Sunshine

Okay, we know it’s not a food, but daily exposure to sunshine can seriously increase your vitamin D intake. In fact, this vitamin has actually been referred to as the sunshine vitamin. Light hitting the skin from the sun’s rays stimulates the production of this vitamin and hormone. This is great news for those of us that can take a sun-bath daily. But, for those of us in colder, cloudier climates, we can up our intake from the foods we eat. This could explain why Native Inuit people in Alaska ate so much fish!

7 Health Benefits of Vitamin D

There are many reasons to stock up on foods containing vitamin D, health benefits of the vitamin include:

  1. The prevention of chronic diseases.
  2. The protection and lubrication of your bones, teeth and hair.
  3. The regulation of cellular growth and healthy cell activity.
  4. Overall reduction of systemic redness and swelling.
  5. Skeletal health.
  6. Postmenopausal women and African-American men may benefit the most.

As I mentioned above, if you are a vegetarian or don’t eat fish, you can still get the same benefits by taking a vitamin D supplement or make sure to get plenty of sun on a daily basis.

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM


  1. Vitamin D Council. Vitamin D and Depression: A patient friendly summary. 2012.

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  • nemo

    you just made me stop drinking milk starting today after just pouring some into my coffee. yuk pus and blood yuk!!!

  • nemo

    i hear that pigs are one of the most dirtiest animals to eat. i guess its because they eat anything.

  • john

    Mushrooms are a fungi not a vegetable. The vegetables listed above contain so little vitamin D, you would need to eat a whole bag of potatoes to get the RDA. Sunlight, certain meats, and fungi is the only prevalent source of vitamin D

  • john

    Your body naturally stores vitamin D in the summer for later use in the winter. We are amazing creatures!

  • Alexis Elizabeth Drob

    I also stopped using milk and now am making my own homemade almond milk which is delightful and one can barely taste the difference between it and the real milk.

  • Alexis Elizabeth Drob

    Eeeeew soy anything is sickening!!!

  • Alexis Elizabeth Drob

    And jack is a moron who thinks he knows everything when in reality he is a worm!!!

  • Alexis Elizabeth Drob

    OMG I hate mushrooms, those slimey things!!

  • jan

    I really think it is lack of sun shine. Sun block watching tv etc.. No sun because of cemtrails. I am quite dark skinned and will need more sunlight

  • jan

    I forgot epsom salt’s baths ( good salts)

  • jan

    picky, not nice!!!

  • jan

    do you have any sugestions?

  • ron

    what sunshine? the sky is never clear these days!! on a good day there is still a haze

  • Ann

    Menopause took all my D vitamin. At once.

  • mscognizance

    Vitamin B12 cures pernicious anemia. Vitamin C cures scurvy.

  • mscognizance

    As we get older, our skin is less able to make vitamin D from sunshine; I don’t know if you are old. Also hypothyroidism is associated with low vitamin D. It is important for women to have their thyroid levels checked, not just the TSH but T3 and T4.

  • Rita

    I found this item very helpful thanku

  • Ange

    My husband is type II diabetic…so I guess if he takes 5000 Vitamin D3 he will be curred? He also in going into the state of high blood pressure. His doctor put him on Metforim, Simivastan and Licinopril.

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  • settler

    Why do you refer to the “Native Inuit people in Alaska” in the past tense, as if they were extinct or had stopped eating fish?

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  • Michele Inman

    I am vegetarian for over 30 years and mostly vegan now….am very fit and great health but do have a vit D deficiency so all this info helps! Thanks so much!

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