When we think of Vitamin D, most of us think of sunshine or a big glass of milk, but there are several other delicious ways to get enough of this vital nutrient. Vitamin D is actually not even a vitamin at all, but a hormone, and it is essential for proper bone growth and helping our body absorb calcium.
Getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D can also help prevent certain types of cancers, autoimmune diseases like MS, depression, and type 2 diabetes. The current RDA is 600 IU for those between 1-70 years old, and almost 50 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t get enough!
Struggling to cook healthy? We'll help you prep.
Here are some of our favorite foods for helping your body get the Vitamin D boost it needs. These picks are even better than an 8-ounce glass of milk, which packs about 30 percent of your daily needs:
Salmon is one of the ultimate superfoods, packed with those all-important omega-3 fats for better brain health, a stronger heart, shiny hair, and even glowing skin! Another, lesser-known perk? A 3-ounce serving of salmon contains more than a whole day’s Vitamin D recommendation—a whopping 112 percent.
Swapping salmon for chicken, steak, and other meats once or twice a week can make a huge difference for your health. Our crispy Panko Salmon With Snap Peas makes for a perfect healthy weeknight dinner.
Mushrooms are the only natural plant-based source of Vitamin D, as dairy, juice, and grain products are fortified. Some studies show that a serving of mushrooms could contain anywhere from 50-100 percent of our daily Vitamin D needs.
We love mushrooms for their meaty texture and versatility in a wide variety of dishes. They add great texture—and a little protein boost—to our hearty Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers.
Canned tuna is a healthy staple for simple and filling weekday meals—especially in the summer when it’s too hot to use the oven! Thankfully, there happens to be 38 percent of our daily Vitamin D needs in a three-ounce serving.
We suggest doing your research on canned tuna to find a more sustainable option that is minimally processed. We give these cans a sophisticated flair with our Tuna-Quinoa Toss that is perfect for adding to your weekend meal prep roster.
Looking to boost your intake of other essential nutrients?
- 8 Foods With More Iron Than Beef
- 7 Tasty Foods With More Fiber Than a Cup of Broccoli
- 7 Easy Ways to Get Enough Calcium When You’re Vegan
- No One Gets Enough Vitamin D, but a Crazy Mushroom Technique Could Change That
Fortified Orange Juice
Orange juice started being fortified with Vitamin D in the ‘30s, and about half of Americans pour themselves a glass every morning. One cup of this tangy beverage packs about 34 percent of our daily Vitamin D needs.
If you’re looking to boost your Vitamin D intake, but prefer to stick to just coffee or tea in the mornings, orange juice makes a perfect liquid base for smoothies, like in our anti-inflammatory Turmeric-Mango Smoothie.
Probably best known as aphrodisiacs (or homes to pearls), oysters are also nutritional powerhouses. They are packed with zinc, Vitamin B12, selenium and omega-3 fats—nutrients many Americans don’t get enough of—for optimal brain health and a strong immune system.
Oysters also happen to be a great source of Vitamin D and pack 53 percent of our daily needs in a 3.5-ounce serving. Our Oysters With Pickled Quinoa Mignonette is fresh, herby way to enjoy these babies.
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