Natural sources of Vitamin D (excluding the sun!)

Check out this list of foods that can help you in the fight against Vitamin D deficiency. Incorporate them into your cooking regime to give yourself a little boost as each little bit helps in your overall goal to reach recommended levels of Vitamin D.

Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese tops the table for Vitamin D dense cheeses. Its relatively high Vitamin D content makes it a good choice as it contains 25 iu of Vitamin D! You would have to eat a huge amount to get anywhere near your recommended daily allowance, about 2 Kg should provide enough Vitamin D however you might feel a bit nauseous after consuming that much! All in all ricotta has about five times as much Vitamin D as many other well known cheeses!

Beef Liver

An 80 gram or 3 oz portion of beef liver contains more than 40 iu of Vitamin D. This equates to about 7% of the RDA needed for someone who is not receiving a great deal of exposure to the sun. Beef is also a great source of Vitamin B-12 and organ meats deliver a high dose of iron, one of the highest amounts. If youre heading to the store for meat, look for organic beef as you can be sure they have been fed on grass and this provides additional nutrition as well as being a more sustainable method of farming, not to mention the cattle were probably a lot happier!


Salmon has an extremely good Vitamin D content, the most Vitamin D of any food. Wild salmon in particular has a far greater concentration than farmed salmon and it costs a lot more than farmed salmon, you do get what you pay for unfortunately. An average size fillet of sockeye salmon has more than 2,800  iu of Vitamin D. This is 4 times more than you need in a day so would be ideal for a family meal.


Two large eggs have about 10 percent of a RDA of Vitamin D. Eggs from truly free-range chickens are the best for Vitamin D as you would expect. Unfortunately if an egg box says free-range on it there are likely to be vast differences in what you perceive as free-range and what in reality it is like for the chickens. Try to buy eggs that you know have come from chickens that have genuinely been given a nice life and plenty of space, which I agree, is not that easy at times! Better still, keep your own chickens as you will definitely be going outside more to tend to them and inadvertently getting exposure to the sun!


Mushrooms can provide a great Vitamin D boost, there are so many varieties and each one differs in Vitamin D quantity. A single Shiitake mushrooms has about 45 iu – about 9% of a daily serving of Vitamin D. Portabello mushrooms contain about 40 iu each, however white mushrooms contain only 5 iu per mushroom. Did you know that if you grow mushrooms, exposing them to more sunlight means they will contain more Vitamin D?

vitDFortified foods

Fortified foods such as milk and cereal can provide a more balanced meal than a Vitamin D supplement and are a good way to take action against a lack of Vitamin D. The quantity of Vitamin D in cereals can vary from product to product but all the information you need to make an informed choice will be on the label. The range of Vitamin D levels in fortified cereals begins from around 30 iu  in corn flakes to 100 iu in bran flakes or shredded wheat.


A measley 80 gram portion of pork can provide as much as 85 iu of Vitamin D. That is about 15% of your RDA so it’s a very good source. The highest percentage can be found in pork spare ribs, and the amount of Vitamin D in pork differs greatly in regards to cut and preparation. A slice of ham does not really count as pork because for starters it can be quite processed and levels of Vitamin D are negligible.

Fish (general)

Various types of fish are high in vitamin D. Typically raw fish contains more Vitamin D than cooked, and fatty cuts will contain more than lean cuts due to the fact that Vitamin D is fat soluble. Any fish which is canned in oil will have a greater proportion of Vitamin D than those canned in water because of the preservative effect of oil on the vitamin. Raw fish is typically eaten in the form of sushi or smoked salmon. The following list shows the amount of Vitamin D you can get from these different kinds of fish :

Raw Atlantic Herring :    1628 iu (271% of RDA) per 100 gram serving,

2996 iu (499% of RDA) per fillet,

456 iu (76% RDA) per ounce.

Pickled Herring :              680 iu (113% of RDA) per 100g serving

Canned Salmon :             (127% of RDA)

Raw Mackerel :                (60% of RDA)

Oil Packed Sardines :      (45% of RDA)

Canned Mackerel :          (42% of RDA)

Oil packed Tuna :             (39% of RDA)


Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil, although not strictly food, has been a popular supplement for many years and naturally contains very high levels of vitamin A and vitamin D. Cod liver oil provides 10000 iu (1667%of RDA) per 100 gram serving, or 1360 iu (340% of RDA) in one tablespoon. It is an excellent supplement and should be one of the first to be put on any list of potential supplements to take.

This list should provide plenty of food for thought! Why not have a look at the wide range of articles and news on to find out more!

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