With the world post 2020 even more focussed on better health, and a strong immune system, many people want to know how to take control of health by eating better foods.
This way we can increase the amount of vitamins and minerals our body actually needs.
One such vitamin with more focus than ever before is Vitamin D.
In this article we’re going to share some of the best food sources of Vitamin D so you can optimise your diet for a stronger immunity.
Primary Food Sources Of Vitamin D
Calories per 100g
Vitamin D per 100g
Raw Atlantic Mackerel
Almond Milk (fortified)
43 kcal /250ml
Other sources of Vitamin D
The most obvious alternative source of Vitamin D is from the sun. Exposure of your skin to sunlight is actually recommended year round by the NHS. They suggest X minutes a day to maximise your vitamin D intake.
This is not always practical, certainly during the winter months here in the UK.
So supplementing with Vitamin D capsules is a great way to top up. However, you may also want to consider pairing your vitamin D intake with magnesium to help maximise the absorption and utilisation by your body. We’ll cover this pairing in detail further down this article
Let's get back to the food sources.
Despite being surrounded by the sea in the UK, we’re not really a fish-loving society. Except of course for a bag of chips and a battered cod on a Friday from your local chippy.
Unfortunately, the white meat from cod and haddock are not great sources of Vitamin D.
Raw Atlantic Mackerel - 643IU per 100g
Mackerel is the king of fish-sourced vitamin D. It’s certainly an acquired flavour, but a 100g fillet can provide a strong daily maintenance dose of Vitamin D.
My favourite way of eating mackerel that’s quick and convenient, is to buy the smoked mackerel fillets from the supermarket… I microwave the fillet for 30 seconds and place it between generously buttered wholemeal bread slices for the ultimate lunchtime sandwich.
Add in the fact you’ll get about 5000mg of Omega 3 from a fillet of mackerel too, you’ll be loading up your DHA and EPA at the same time.
Atlantic Salmon - 526IU per 100g
Next on our list is Salmon, whilst not as loaded with Vitamin D as Mackerel, the taste is more acceptable to our sensitive pallets here in the UK.
Personally, I eat salmon most days with my scrambled eggs for breakfast. Yes, I understand how pretentious and middle class that sounds, but doubled with the good fats and other vitamins and minerals in eggs, it’s my breakfast of champions.
It also means I’m not loading up with refined sugars as my first meal of the day.
Herring - 214IU per 100g
This is probably a harder sell than Mackerel, to be honest. I’ve included it in this list for completeness. Another great fish for not just its Vitamin D content.
It’s a fantastic source of protein at 23g per 100g and vitamin B12.
My own experience of herring is grilled on a barbeque or as soused herring, essentially pickled. Both are delicious, but certainly an acquired taste.
Sardines - 427IU per 100g
Another oily fish, with mega Omega 3 and Vitamin D. And if you're particularly concerned about mercury levels in your fish, Sardines are generally known to be low in that toxin.
Sardines are probably my favourite fish. And I don’t mean the stuff that is packed in a can with brine. Freshly grilled sardines are a delight everyone should experience.
Next time you’re visiting Portugal, take the opportunity to try grilled sardines from the menu. My mouth is watering as I type.
Shiitake Mushrooms - 18IU per 100g
This is one of the few vegan-friendly sources of vitamin D. Mushrooms are generally exposed to daylight and as such are a reasonable source for vegans and vegetarians. Although eating 100g of mushrooms is not easy!
Given the rest of this list is predominately non-vegan/vegetarian friendly, it’s recommended that you either supplement with Vitamin D as well as increase your exposure to sunlight.
Given the wide variety of mushrooms, you might need to do some deeper research to find out what mushrooms are best for Vitamin D. White button mushrooms have less than 1/3rd the vitamin D of shiitake mushrooms.
Egg Yolks - 218IU per 100g
Eggs have had a long history of bad PR. Pretty much all of it is completely unfounded. Eggs are incredible foodstuff packed with good nutrients. The yolks specifically contain a high dose of Vitamin D, as well as good fats too.
Don’t neglect the whites though, as they are an amazing protein source in a low-calorie format.
Personally, I eat 2 to 3 eggs per day for breakfast. Along with my other breakfast habits it sets me up for the day, rarely needing to snack during the day.
Beef Liver - 49IU per 100g
Organ meats are having a bit of a revival of late. Something I was exposed to as a kid (many decades ago) my parents would regularly serve up liver for dinner.
Not only does it contain a decent amount of vitamin D, it’s also a great source of vit C, B-6 and B-12.
To be honest this is not something I’ve eaten in years, despite being a meat eater and will eat pretty much anything from a cow. But there are trends evolving with supplements made from organ meats.
Other Mentionable Sources
There are of course plenty of other food sources of Vitamin D
Canned Tuna - 154IU per 100g
Added to Almond Milk
Added to Tofu
Added to Oatmeal
Depending on where you are in the world, different foods have vitamin D added (or fortified)
How Vitamin D and Magnesium Work Together
With all these amazing food sources of Vitamin D, you need to consider your body’s stores of Magnesium. Magnesium plays an important role in the activation of Vitamin D in the liver and kidneys.
The problem is we’re chronically deficient in Magnesium as a society. And increasing your vitamin D intake will make this mag deficiency worse in its role in absorption. So pairing your vitamin D intake with increased magnesium intake is a very good idea.
Once again you can do this with food. Specifically green leafy vegetables such as spinach, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains. All super sources of magnesium.
You can of course supplement with Magnesium for added convenience.
Supplement Sources of Vitamin D
If you’re looking to supplement your diet with nutritional supplements, you don’t need to go mad with the highest doses of vitamin D3 shown on the label.
2000IU of Vitamin D3 per day is considered optimal, and exactly what we provide in our Amber Boost turmeric and Vitamin D supplement for a daily dose.
Remember to combine the increased Vitamin D intake with a Magnesium Citrate supplement such as Drift Off from Lean Greens.
As with all recommendations of dietary changes, remember we’re all unique and have different requirements, so always check with your doctor or a registered dietitian for customised recommendations.
Want to try out Amber Boost Turmeric capsules with Vitamin D3? 👇🏻
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