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Delicious D’s, Ways to Get More Vitamin D in Your Diet

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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!

Mango Lassi


1 cup chopped fresh mango
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups fat-free plain Greek yogurt (or plain Soy yogurt would work too)
1/2 cup 1% low-fat milk
2 teaspoons chopped pistachios
Dash of ground cardamom (optional)

Full recipe is here:

Mushroom, Barley, and Beef (Optional) Soup


1 cup boiling water
Cooking spray
1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms (about 8 ounces)
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup finely chopped carrot (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
1/2 cup finely chopped parsnip (about 1 small)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
12 ounces lean beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
6 cups less-sodium beef broth, divided
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 thyme sprigs
1 cup uncooked barley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Full recipe is here:

Add a Comment6 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I actually read the piece and as someone who tries to get as many nutrients as possible from the foods I eat I really appreciate the advice and recommendations. I tried the barley soup recipe and really enjoyed it...will be having it again. Thank you for the great ideas Crystal!

June 29, 2009 - 3:54pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Glad you liked the recommendations and thank you for participating in the discussion! It is definitely is an elusive vitamin, so it is good to know what few sources actually have it. And glad you liked the recipe - I myself am a fan of mango lassi!

June 29, 2009 - 4:07pm
EmpowHER Guest

I take a liquid D3 supplement because I know I cannot get enough in my diet! I found a great one that actually tastes good by Wellesse. I take the liquid because I can easily does my whole family at dinner time without trying to get them to swallow vitamin pills!

June 29, 2009 - 1:57pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Thank you for your recommendation! I will have to check out the liquid supplement from Wellesse, thanks for your input on a good supplement!

June 29, 2009 - 4:05pm
EmpowHER Guest

Sorry, but your recipes and your advice are off the mark on Vitamin D. While you may be getting great attention talking about Vitamin D, recommending egg yolks (40 IU each) as a 'good' source of vitamin D is off the mark.

When the recommendations by researchers are more like 4000 IU's per day, egg yolks are a 'negligible' source of Vitamin D. Mushrooms, likewise, are negligible - UNLESS they have been SUN DRIED!! Regular mushrooms grown in the dark- as most mushrooms are- Do not contain vitamin D.

15 minutes of full sun exposure provides approximately 20,000 IU's in summer in fair skinned people. It is a MUCH more efficient way to get your vitamin D. Supplements and sunshine are really the only realistic way to get sufficient vitamin D every day.

Check out this link on Vitamin D Foods.


Kerri Knox, RN

June 29, 2009 - 8:48am
(reply to Anonymous)

HI Kerri, thanks for being engaged in the discussion. Vitamin D is definitely a hot topic, particularly because it is so difficult to get!

In my last piece, I recommended taking a supplement to get your daily dose of vitamin D because it is so hard to get in food. Sun exposure, meanwhile, can be difficult as well, especially if you work indoors and/or live in the northern United States, so supplements do seem to be the best and easiest way to make sure that you're getting enough. I definitely went out and picked up a supplement! This piece was meant to focus exclusively on where you can get it from food because it is so rare.

You are right that egg yolks have little bang for your buck when it comes vitamin D. This was not listed to be a "good" source of vitamin D, but rather one of the few sources, particularly for people who do not eat fish. But like I say above, it doesn't pack a big punch, particularly when compared to fish.

As for mushrooms, they do need sun ripened in order to be a source of vitamin D. The brand Sun Bella brand that I list above is sun ripened. The process of exposing mushrooms to UV rays was news to me - what an interesting discovery!

Thank you for being engaged in this discussion and for the link you provided. I am very interested in nutrition and will refer to it!

June 29, 2009 - 4:03pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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