Although the list of Vitamin D foods is fairly short, there are a handful worthy of mention that can help you increase your Vitamin D intake.

We’ve talked a lot about how powerful Vitamin D is as a critical player in your health. The natural question that follows is how to get more. There’s obviously the sun and supplements, but of course it’s appealing to get more from the food you eat as well.

Although the list of Vitamin D foods is fairly short, there are certainly a handful worthy of mention that can be used as a component in your plan to increase your Vitamin D intake.

By far the most useful Vitamin D foods are found in the sea, particularly in the form of salmon. For example, in a 3 oz. serving, sockeye salmon has 794 IU while chinook salmon has 583 IU. After the salmon choices, the natural whole-food sources of Vitamin D become more scattered and contain far lower levels.

Three ounces of Atlantic sardines have 164 IU and pickled Atlantic herring has 96 IU. Pork has Vitamin D, with three ounces of spareribs measured at 88 IU. One cup of cooked shitake mushrooms has 45 IU and three ounces of beef liver has 42 IU. In one hard-boiled egg you’ll find 27 IU.

We should also mention the fortified products like milk and cereals. I rarely recommend fortified foods because the absorption and usefulness gets a lot more questionable when a vitamin is simply inserted into foods it doesn’t naturally occur in. I also personally wouldn’t add dairy to my list of Vitamin D food sources because it is associated with so many other health issues. But, for information purposes, a cup of fortified whole milk contains 124 IU.

Because of the importance of Vitamin D, in November the Recommended Daily Allowance was raised from 200 IU to 600 IU with tolerable levels going from 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU. So you can see looking at the numbers above that if you were to rely on Vitamin D foods alone to get appropriate levels you don’t have very many options. Every day you’re either eating salmon fillet, a few racks of spareribs (I don’t recommend this option), or a whole lot of boiled eggs. While salmon is incredibly healthy for you in a number of ways, eating it daily may not be the recommended approach either. Depending on where your salmon was harvested, because it is a predatory fish it may contain high levels of mercury, which is why nutritionists recommend eating it (and other large fish species) only a couple times a week.

Of course, you don’t have to eat the entire recommended daily dose if you are getting enough sunlight. Based on where you live and the season of the year this can also be a challenge. But certainly take advantage of what light you can.

Because of the difficulty of making sure you’re getting enough of this important nutrient solely through Vitamin D foods and the sun, most doctors and nutritionists recommend supplementing as well. As always, I recommend taking the best Vitamin D supplement you can find (I’ve enjoyed the one I buy through Vital Choice). Take the time to verify that you’re getting sufficient amounts. You may be surprised at how much your body has been craving it.

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