8 Ways to Get Ample Vitamin D in the Winter

01/19/2013

Salmon photoIt’s the middle of winter and chances are you’re not getting enough vitamin D considering that the best known source is the sun. According to an article in US News, in the winter it's impossible to produce vitamin D from the sun if you live north of Atlanta because the sun never gets high enough in the sky for its ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere.

Vitamin D is critical to a healthy functioning body because deficiencies are linked to a host of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, breast cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer. While this is sort of scary stuff, it can be prevented by including certain foods in your diet.

Here’s how to get your fill:

1. Salmon

Salmon is a good source of vitamin D with 360 International Units (IU), but according the National Institutes for Health, farmed salmon has approximately 25 percent of the vitamin D content of wild salmon. 

2. Eggs 

Vitamin D is found in the yoke of the egg and each yoke has 20 IU.

3. Coconut Milk

It’s soy and dairy free and often fortified with vitamin D. Read your labels, but one serving of coconut milk can have 25 percent of your daily allowance of this crucial nutrient. 

Coconut milk image

4. Flounder 

Flounder, a delicious white fish, has about one-fourth of your daily allowance of vitamin D. 

5. Mushrooms

Certain varieties of mushrooms have significant amounts of vitamin D, but the amount varies widely by type. For example, shiitake mushrooms have 45 IU while button mushrooms have 5 IU.

6. Pure Cod Liver Oil

Pure cod liver oil is amongst the most potent forms of vitamin D. Just 1 tbsp has 1,360 IU  or 340 percent of your daily allowance.

Fish oil pills photo

7. Orange Juice

Read your labels, but fortified orange juice can have 137 IUs, or 34 percent of your daily allowance. 

8. Sardines

Sardines have made a real come back and that's a good thing, considering that just two tiny fish pack have 46 IUs. 

Photo: Thinkstock

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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