Vitamin D Rich Fruits and Vegetables


Eating foods high in vitamin D is important for maintaining healthy levels in the body. Vitamin D is essential for strong bones, muscle function, immune health and more. Many people don't get enough vitamin D from their diets or sun exposure. Luckily, there are a variety of fruits and vegetables that are excellent sources of this important vitamin.

This article will explore the best vitamin D rich fruits and vegetables, looking at how much this essential nutrient they contain per serving. You'll also learn why vitamin D is so important, how much you need each day, and symptoms and risks of deficiency. Read on to find out the top food sources to eat to increase your vitamin D intake.

Vitamin D Rich Fruits and Vegetables: Add them to Your Diet for a Healthy Source of Vitamin D

Why Do You Need Vitamin D?

Known as the “sunshine vitamin”, vitamin D is unique because it can be made by your body from exposure to sun. It can also be obtained from certain foods. Vitamin D is essential for:

  • Strong bones by helping your body absorb calcium - low levels are linked to soft, thin, brittle bones and osteoporosis.
  • Muscle function and strength.
  • Modulating immune function and reducing inflammation.
  • Brain development and maintenance.
  • Cell growth.
  • Reducing risk of respiratory infections, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, Alzheimer's disease and autoimmune disorders like multiple sclerosis.

The recommended daily intake is 600 IU (15 mcg) up to age 70. After age 71, the recommendation increases to 800 IU (20 mcg) per day. Deficiency is extremely common worldwide, with an estimated 1 billion people low in this essential nutrient.

Let's now look at some of the best food sources of vitamin D.

Excellent Vitamin D Rich Fruits and Vegetables


Mushrooms are unique in that they produce vitamin D2 when exposed to UV light. Those grown commercially often contain very high levels, ranging from 76–770 IU per 3.5 ounces. Wild mushrooms provide about 64 IU per 3.5 ounce serving.

Some of the best vitamin D mushrooms are maitake, morel, chanterelle and portabella. Just 3 ounces of portabella mushrooms contains about 375 IU of vitamin D, making it one of the best sources from whole foods.

Mushrooms also contain antioxidants and compounds that boost immunity and combat inflammation and cancer. They are one of the few plant sources of vitamin D and great to add to omelets, sauces, soups and stir-fries.

Fortified Orange Juice

Many companies fortify orange juice with vitamin D and calcium. Just one 8 ounce glass can provide up to 135 IU, or about 15-20% of the recommended daily amount.

Look for brands fortified with vitamin D, such as Tropicana or Minute Maid. Orange juice is also high in immune boosting vitamin C and antioxidants. It counts as 1 serving of fruit per day and helps increase your fluid intake.

Fortified Milk and Plant Milks

Cow's milk is nearly always fortified with vitamin D, as are many plant-based milks like almond, soy, coconut and oat milk.

One cup of cow's milk with added vitamin D provides about 115-124 IU. Fortified plant milks have similar amounts, ranging from 100–119 IU per cup.

Milk is naturally rich in protein, calcium, phosphorus, B vitamins and potassium. Choose unsweetened varieties to limit added sugars. Those with lactose intolerance can get these same nutrients from lactose-free milk or plant milks.

Fortified Yogurt

Many yogurts have added vitamin D along with probiotics that benefit digestive health. One 6-ounce serving of yogurt can provide 80–124 IU vitamin D, or 10–15% of your daily needs.

Try getting vitamin D from Greek yogurt for extra protein, or yogurt topped with fruit, nuts and seeds for bone protecting calcium and magnesium.

Fortified Cereals

Certain cereals are fortified with 10–25% of the daily value for vitamin D. Check the label and aim for at least 100 IU vitamin D per serving.

Some good options are Uncle Sam's, Wheaties, Cheerios, Raisin Bran or Rice Chex. Enjoy cereals with plant or dairy milk to get even more of this essential vitamin.

Egg Yolks

Egg yolks are one of the few natural food sources of vitamin D, containing about 40 IU per yolk. That's almost 10% of your daily needs in just one egg!

Egg yolks are also rich in brain boosting choline, antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin plus vision protecting vitamin A.

Aim for 1-2 whole eggs per day and try making scrambled eggs with vitamin D rich mushrooms. This provides protein, antioxidants and plenty of nutrients like iron, zinc, selenium and vitamin K2.

Herring and Salmon

Fatty fish like herring, salmon, sardines and mackerel naturally have vitamin D in the form of D3 (cholecalciferol).

A 3.5 ounce serving of cooked sockeye salmon provides about 447 IU of vitamin D, or about 75% of the recommended daily amount.

Aim for 2-3 servings per week of oily fish like salmon or sardines. These vitamin D rich foods also supply anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids that lower heart disease risk.

Canned Tuna

Canned tuna packed in oil provides 232 IU vitamin D in just a 3 ounce serving. That's over one third of your daily requirement from just one small can of tuna!

Along with vitamin D, canned tuna also contains omega-3s, niacin, vitamin K, selenium and phosphorus. Choose sustainable skipjack or albacore tuna and limit intake to 6 ounces or less per week due to mercury concerns.

Beef Liver

Beef liver is an excellent source of vitamin D, with about 135 IU (22% DV) in just 3 ounces. It's also one of the best sources of vitamin A, iron, folate, copper and all the B vitamins.

Try pan frying beef liver with onions or adding it to ground meat like in meatballs or burgers. Eat grass fed liver in moderation, about 1 ounce 1-2 times per week, as it is also high in cholesterol.

UV Exposed Mushrooms

Exposing mushrooms to ultraviolet light significantly boosts their vitamin D content. For example, white button mushrooms quadruple their vitamin D levels after being treated, providing over 300 IU per half-cup serving.

Look for UV treated mushrooms, or place them gill-side up in the sun for 30–60 minutes before cooking. This allows them to synthesize high amounts of vitamin D2.

Fortified Cottage Cheese

Many brands fortify low fat cottage cheese with vitamin D. Just half a cup provides about 53 IU, or 7% of the daily value.

Cottage cheese is soft, creamy and high in protein, calcium, B vitamins and selenium. Enjoy it topped with fruit, nuts or baked into wholesome breakfast bars or muffins.

Other Good Food Sources

While the foods above are richest in vitamin D, there are a few other worthwhile mentions:

  • Swiss cheese: 49 IU per ounce
  • Fortified non-dairy milks: about 35-45 IU per cup
  • Cod liver oil: Up to 1,360 IU per tablespoon
  • Fortified tofu: About 130 IU per half cup
  • Sardines: About 164 IU per can
  • Fortified plant-based yogurt: Around 118 IU per container
  • Shiitake mushrooms: About 46 IU per half cup
  • Eggnog: Approximately 107 IU per cup
  • Oysters: About 100 IU per 3 ounces

As you can see, there are many ways to get enough vitamin D from a healthy, whole food diet. Focus on the foods mentioned in this article to ensure you meet your daily needs of this essential sunshine vitamin.

Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

Since vitamin D deficiency is extremely common worldwide, it's important to watch for potential signs and symptoms:

  • Bone and back pain
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Depression and fatigue
  • Bone loss, fractures or breaks
  • Frequent illness and infections
  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Hair loss
  • High blood pressure

Chronically low levels can also lead to serious diseases like osteoporosis, rickets, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune disorders.

Aim for the recommended 600-800 IU of vitamin D per day from the food sources described here along with sun exposure whenever possible. Supplements may also help those at high risk of deficiency.

Summary of Key Vitamin D Rich Foods

To recap, here are some of the top vitamin D foods along with how much they contain per serving:

  • Portabella mushrooms: 375 IU per 3 ounces
  • Sockeye salmon: 447 IU per 3.5 ounces
  • UV treated mushrooms: Over 300 IU per 1/2 cup
  • Beef liver: About 135 IU per 3 ounces
  • Egg yolk: 40 IU per yolk
  • Fortified milk: 115-124 IU per cup
  • Fortified orange juice: Up to 135 IU per cup
  • Fortified yogurt: 80-124 IU per 6 ounces
  • Canned tuna: 232 IU per 3 ounces
  • Fortified cereals: Around 100 IU per serving

Consume a variety of these vitamin D rich fruits, vegetables, dairy products and proteins to prevent deficiency. Get some sun exposure when possible and certain foods like mushrooms become even better sources when UV treated. Eating a diet high in these foods allows you to maintain healthy vitamin D levels year round.

Q: What are the benefits of vitamin D?

A: Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that plays a crucial role in maintaining strong bones and teeth. It also helps in boosting the immune system, regulating insulin levels, and supporting overall brain health.

Q: How can I get enough vitamin D?

A: There are a few ways to get enough vitamin D. The sun is a natural source of vitamin D, and spending some time outdoors can help your body produce it. You can also get vitamin D from certain foods and supplements.

Q: What are the best sources of vitamin D?

A: The best sources of vitamin D include fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, cod liver oil, fortified dairy products, fortified orange juice, and fortified cereals. Certain mushrooms, such as shiitake and portobello, are also a good source of vitamin D.

Q: What are some vitamin D rich fruits and vegetables?

A: Some vitamin D rich fruits and vegetables include mushrooms, specifically shiitake and portobello mushrooms. Additionally, certain types of seaweed and fortified plant-based milks like almond milk can have vitamin D.

A: The recommended daily intake of vitamin D varies by age and gender. For adults between the ages of 19-70, the recommended intake is around 600-800 IU (International Units) per day. However, it is always best to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized recommendations.

Q: Can I get vitamin D from fortified foods?

A: Yes, fortified foods can be a good source of vitamin D. Many dairy products, cereals, and orange juice brands are fortified with vitamin D. Check the labels to ensure the product contains vitamin D.

Q: Should I take vitamin D supplements?

A: If you are unable to get enough vitamin D from natural sources and fortified foods, your healthcare provider may recommend taking vitamin D supplements. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplements.

Q: Can I get vitamin D from plant-based sources?

A: While most natural sources of vitamin D are animal-based, some plant-based foods are fortified with vitamin D. These include fortified plant-based milks like almond milk and certain types of mushrooms.

Q: What happens if I don't get enough vitamin D?

A: Not getting enough vitamin D can lead to a deficiency, which can cause health problems such as weakened bones (osteoporosis), muscle weakness, increased risk of certain diseases, and decreased immune function. It is important to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D.

Q: Can I synthesize vitamin D from food alone?

A: While the body can synthesize vitamin D from sun exposure and convert it from certain foods to a certain extent, it is often difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone. It is recommended to consider a combination of sun exposure, fortified foods, and supplements to ensure adequate vitamin D levels.

Resources used to write this article


Dubost, N. J., Ou, B., & Beelman, R. B. (2007). Quantification of polyphenols and ergothioneine in cultivated mushrooms and correlation to total antioxidant capacity. Food chemistry, 105(2), 727-735.

Keegan, R. J., Lu, Z., Bogusz, J. M., Williams, J. E., & Holick, M. F. (2013). Photobiology of vitamin D in mushrooms and its bioavailability in humans. Dermato-endocrinology, 5(1), 165-176.

Orange Juice

Tangpricha, V., Koutkia, P., Rieke, S. M., Chen, T. C., Perez, A. A., & Holick, M. F. (2003). Fortification of orange juice with vitamin D: a novel approach for enhancing vitamin D nutritional health. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 77(6), 1478-1483.


Calvo, M. S., & Whiting, S. J. (2013). Survey of current vitamin D food fortification practices in the United States and Canada. The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology, 136, 211-213.


Gurgun, A., Yilmaz, D., Kisacik, B., Yasar, Z. N., Karaca, C., Akbulut, H., ... & Inal, V. (2018). Effects of yogurt supplemented with vitamin D on cytokines and cardiac biomarkers in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Nutrition, 55, 103-108.


Calvo, M. S., Whiting, S. J., & Barton, C. N. (2004). Vitamin D fortification in the United States and Canada: current status and data needs. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 80(6), 1710S-1716S.

Egg Yolks

Liu, J., Sempos, C. T., Donahue, R. P., Phinney, K. W., Lupton, J., & Shapses, S. A. (2006). Non-supplemented food fortification with vitamin D: The importance of endogenous contributions in the elderly. The journal of nutrition, health & aging, 10(2), 111-115.


Lu, Z., Chen, T. C., Zhang, A., Persons, K. S., Kohn, N., Berkowitz, R., ... & Holick, M. F. (2007). An evaluation of the vitamin D3 content in fish: Is the vitamin D content adequate to satisfy the dietary requirement for vitamin D?. The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology, 103(3-5), 642-644.


Lu, Z., Chen, T. C., Zhang, A., Persons, K. S., Kohn, N., Berkowitz, R., ... & Holick, M. F. (2007). An evaluation of the vitamin D3 content in fish: Is the vitamin D content adequate to satisfy the dietary requirement for vitamin D?. The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology, 103(3-5), 642-644.

Beef Liver

Hollis, B. W., Wagner, C. L., Drezner, M. K., & Binkley, N. C. (2001). Circulating vitamin D3 and 25-hydroxyvitamin D in humans: An important tool to define adequate nutritional vitamin D status. The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology, 76(1), 631-634.

UV Mushrooms

Kalaras, M. D., Beelman, R. B., Eliason, B., & Kalaras, A. D. (2012). Generation of potentially bioactive ergosterol-derived products following pulsed ultraviolet light exposure of mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). Food Chemistry, 135(2), 396-401.

Cottage Cheese

Pfeiffer, C. M., Sternberg, M. R., Schleicher, R. L., Haynes, B. M., Rybak, M. E., Pirkle, J. L., ... & Flegal, K. M. (2013). The CDC's Second National Report on Biochemical Indicators of Diet and Nutrition in the US Population is a valuable tool for researchers and policy makers. The Journal of nutrition, 143(6), 938S-947S.

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