Plus, easy recipes to help incorporate these foods into your diet.   

By Lauren Wicks
June 27, 2019
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When we think of Vitamin D, most of us think of sunshine or a big glass of milk, but there are several other delicious ways to get enough of this vital nutrient. Vitamin D is actually not even a vitamin at all, but a hormone, and it is essential for proper bone growth and helping our body absorb calcium. 

Getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D can also help prevent certain types of cancers, autoimmune diseases like MS, depression, and type 2 diabetes. The current RDA is 600 IU for those between 1-70 years old, and almost 50 percent of the U.S. population doesn’t get enough!

Here are some of our favorite foods for helping your body get the Vitamin D boost it needs. These picks are even better than an 8-ounce glass of milk, which packs about 30 percent of your daily needs: 

Salmon

Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Salmon is one of the ultimate superfoods, packed with those all-important omega-3 fats for better brain health, a stronger heart, shiny hair, and even glowing skin! Another, lesser-known perk? A 3-ounce serving of salmon contains more than a whole day’s Vitamin D recommendation—a whopping 112 percent.  

Swapping salmon for chicken, steak, and other meats once or twice a week can make a huge difference for your health. Our crispy Panko Salmon With Snap Peas makes for a perfect healthy weeknight dinner. 

Mushrooms

Credit: Kelsey Hansen

Mushrooms are the only natural plant-based source of Vitamin D, as dairy, juice, and grain products are fortified. Some studies show that a serving of mushrooms could contain anywhere from 50-100 percent of our daily Vitamin D needs. 

We love mushrooms for their meaty texture and versatility in a wide variety of dishes. They add great texture—and a little protein boost—to our hearty Black Bean and Mushroom Burgers.

Canned Tuna

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Canned tuna is a healthy staple for simple and filling weekday meals—especially in the summer when it’s too hot to use the oven! Thankfully, there happens to be 38 percent of our daily Vitamin D needs in a three-ounce serving.

We suggest doing your research on canned tuna to find a more sustainable option that is minimally processed. We give these cans a sophisticated flair with our Tuna-Quinoa Toss that is perfect for adding to your weekend meal prep roster. 

Looking to boost your intake of other essential nutrients?

Fortified Orange Juice

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Orange juice started being fortified with Vitamin D in the ‘30s, and about half of Americans pour themselves a glass every morning. One cup of this tangy beverage packs about 34 percent of our daily Vitamin D needs. 

If you’re looking to boost your Vitamin D intake, but prefer to stick to just coffee or tea in the mornings, orange juice makes a perfect liquid base for smoothies, like in our anti-inflammatory Turmeric-Mango Smoothie. 

Oysters

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Probably best known as aphrodisiacs (or homes to pearls), oysters are also nutritional powerhouses. They are packed with zinc, Vitamin B12, selenium and omega-3 fats—nutrients many Americans don’t get enough of—for optimal brain health and a strong immune system.

Oysters also happen to be a great source of Vitamin D and pack 53 percent of our daily needs in a 3.5-ounce serving. Our Oysters With Pickled Quinoa Mignonette is fresh, herby way to enjoy these babies.