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Get vitamin D from these foods if you want to avoid the summer sun

Do you want to keep your vitamin D intake in check but avoid sun exposure in summer? If so, include these 6 vitamin D rich foods in your regular diet.
vitamin D for brain
Can't get enough sun exposure? Make these your go-to foods for vitamin D! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Aayushi Gupta Updated: 23 May 2024, 12:50 pm IST
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No one likes to be in the sun because of the scorching heat in summer. However, if you avoid the sun, it can result in vitamin D deficiency which can be detrimental to your overall health. So what’s the solution anyway? Well, you can fulfill your regular intake by including these vitamin D foods in your diet.

Why does your body need vitamin D?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient needed to regulate the calcium and phosphate in the body and keep bones, teeth, and muscles healthy. It is also important for the absorption of calcium in our bodies. And the lack of vitamin D causes bone deformities in children and bone pain in adults.

vitamin D rich foods
Vitamin D should be in your plate also. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

How can you keep your vitamin D intake in check?

Natural sunlight exposure is the richest source of vitamin D. However; nobody wants to go outside in the scorching heat and be directly exposed to the sunlight. “Half of the world’s population does not get enough vitamin D as they mostly spend their time indoors, applying sunscreen, or eating a vitamin D deficient diet. If you are someone who doesn’t like spending time outdoors, the best alternative is to eat foods rich in vitamin D,” says Physiotherapist and certified diet counsellor Dr Swathi Reddy. However, one needs to be aware of how much vitamin D is good for the body, as it has some harmful effects as well.

6 foods high in vitamin D

Are you wondering what foods have vitamin D? Here are six food options for you to try out in order to treat a vitamin D deficiency.

1. Fatty fish

Fatty fish like salmon, sardines, oysters, shrimp, and mackerel are some foods with vitamin D. They are not only delicious but also excellent and natural sources of vitamin D. In fact, according to Dr Reddy, the vitamin D present in fatty fish can be easily absorbed by your body as compared to plant-based vitamin D sources. A study, published in The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, states that farmed salmon has 25 percent of vitamin D content as compared to wild salmon.

2. Egg yolk

Egg yolks are one of the vitamin D rich foods which you can consume on a regular basis as it is easy to get. People who don’t enjoy fish can eat whole eggs as they have high levels of vitamin D and are rich sources of protein. Dr Reddy says, “People avoid the yellow part of the egg (yolk) because it has saturated fats which can raise your LDL levels (bad cholesterol) in the blood. In case of any health issues egg yolk has to be taken based on dieticians’ advice. However, a good amount of minerals are found in the yolk.. Therefore, you can enjoy it without any worries.” According to Food Data Centra, an egg yolk contains 37IU of vitamin D, which is 5 percent of your daily value.

vitamin D rich foods
Egg yolk is your friend and is there to help. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Mushrooms

Another addition to the list of foods that have vitamin D is mushrooms. To keep the vitamin D level up in the summer, you can also consume mushrooms. Mushrooms are a must-have source of vitamin D for vegetarians. Wild mushrooms that grow in the natural sunlight have higher vitamin D levels as they synthesize vitamin D like our body does. Commercially grown mushrooms are often grown in darker environments and have a lesser amount of vitamin D in them. However, both can be enjoyed to fulfill the daily amount of vitamin D. According to a study, published in Nutrients, mushrooms are a rich source of vitamin D2, while animal products have vitamin D3.

Also, read: Is sunlight exposure enough for your vitamin D needs?

4. Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil contains 75 percent of a person’s recommended daily allowance of vitamin D. It should be your next best food for vitamin D consumption. A study, published in Nutrients, suggests that cod liver oil is a rich source of vitamin D, and is also used to treat rickets, psoriasis, tuberculosis. In fact, cod liver oil is another popular vitamin D supplement for people who do not like fish and eggs. It is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids as well which can be helpful in maintaining healthy bones, relieving joint pain, and improving eye health. Unfortunately, cod liver oil is also rich in vitamin A which can be toxic if taken in excess. So consume it in moderation.

5. Yoghurt/curd

The only difference between curd and yoghurt is the bacteria in them. Yoghurt has streptococcus thermophilus, a type of probiotic bacteria, along with lactobacillus bacteria which is good for your overall health. Greek yoghurt contains a good amount of vitamin D, along with calcium and protein.

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6. Cheese

Want another reason to enjoy cheese? Well, cheese is also high in vitamin D, phosphorus, fat, protein, and calcium which make it a healthy source of several important nutrients. It can naturally contain a high amount of vitamin D which can be really helpful in fulfilling your daily requirements.

Also Read: Do you feel persistently tired? These 7 factors might be blocking your vitamin D absorption

vitamin D rich foods
Eat cheese, but in moderation. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Can you get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone?

You might be wondering if the vitamin D rich foods consumption is enough for your daily needs or if it’s healthy to replace vitamin D intake from sunlight with foods rich in vitamin D. Well, the answer is that food is not everything, and you need to do much more to prevent a vitamin D deficiency! Dr Reddy says, “Always remember there is no better source of vitamin D than sunlight. Try to expose yourself to indirect sunlight for 20 minutes before 11 A.M. every day. Try doing the same in other seasons as well.”

Daily recommended dose of vitamin D

According to the National Institute of Health, the daily recommended dose of vitamin D is 20mcg for adults, and children who are over the age of four years. Foods that provide 20 percent or more of the daily value are considered to be foods high in vitamin D. cod liver oil, trout and salmon are good options.

The connection between vitamin D and calcium

Vitamin D is needed for the better absorption of calcium in your body. With vitamin D, the body is able to absorb more than 10-15 percent of dietary calcium, states a study, published in Current Rheumatology Reports. Vitamin D also helps make calcium available for bone mineralization. Calcium and vitamin D are connected as without vitamin D, calcium cannot enter the bones.

Vitamin D supplements

Taking a supplement can help maintain your vitamin D levels. However, there are some things that you must remember before taking vitamin D supplements. These should only be taken after discussing with your healthcare practitioner, who you should inform about your underlying health conditions. Read here to know more.


How can I increase my vitamin D levels quickly?

Spending more time in the sunlight, consuming vitamin D rich foods, as well as taking vitamin D supplements, after consulting a healthcare professional, may help in increasing vitamin D levels.

What drinks are high in vitamin D?

Orange juice, cow’s milk, as well as soy milk and carrot juice are drinks that are high in vitamin D, and can help raise your levels.

Which dry fruit is best for vitamin D?

Dry fruits such as almonds, dates, raisins as well as dried figs and cranberries can help get your daily dose of vitamin D

Is ghee rich in vitamin D?

Yes, ghee has vitamin D. Besides vitamin D, ghee is also rich in vitamin A, vitamin E and Vitamin K, as well as vitamin B12.





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About the Author

Aayushi Gupta is a health writer with a special interest in trends related to diet, fitness, beauty and intimate health. With around 2 years of experience in the wellness industry, she is connected to leading experts and doctors to provide our readers with factually correct information. ...Read More

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