My last post, “Vitamin D and Why You Need to Know More than Your ABCs,” generated a lot of interest about where to get the elusive vitamin, particularly in food. Unlike vitamins A, B, and C, which are found in a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, natural sources of vitamin D are relatively scarce, particularly for vegetarians and vegans.
Fish has the best bang for your buck when it comes to vitamin D. According to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, one tablespoon of cod liver oil has 1,360 IU. But if that idea makes you gag, pieces of fish, cooked or raw, are good sources too. Cooked salmon (3.5 ounces) has 360 IU of vitamin D, while the same serving size of cooked mackerel has 345 IU. Canned fish, like tuna and sardines, are also good sources of vitamin D. Eggs also have vitamin D, but pack a much smaller punch at 20 IU. But note that it is found in the yolk, so whipping up an egg white omelet will do you no good when it comes to vitamin D.
The other food sources are fortified with vitamin D. Ready-to-eat cereals have an average of 40 IU per serving, while D-fortified nonfat or low-fat milk has 100 IU per cup. Some brands of yogurt, margarine, and cheese are also fortified with D, so be on the lookout when you are in the dairy section.
For a long time, the meat-and-dairy-based sources of vitamin D made the nutrient nearly impossible for vegetarians and vegans to find in food. But now, different brands of soy milk come stocked with vitamin D. According to the USDA, one cup of D-fortified soy milk has between 97 and 114 IU, depending on whether it’s unsweetened, light, vanilla, or chocolate. When exposed to UV rays, mushrooms can also be rich in vitamin D. Monterey Mushrooms’ Sun Bella brand mushrooms are ripened in the sun, rather than in the dark, like most mushrooms, so that they have vitamin D.
Because we could all use to get a little more vitamin D, I included some recipes, courtesy of Cooking Light, that are as delicious as they are healthy. Enjoy!
1 cup chopped fresh mango
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar