Top foods highest in vitamin D

Top 127 Foods Highest in Vitamin D

​Did you know fish and ​mushrooms are some of the greatest sources of vitamin D?

​​If not, here's a curated list of the highest food sources of vitamin D ​according to the data ​made available ​by the US Department of Agriculture, or USDA. (1)

But first, here are some words of caution:

In case you are vegan, or vegetarian, you can find a list of the highest plant-based vitamin-D-rich foods here.

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​Please take into account that this list includes dairy products. Dairy products are contraindicated ​when you are taking high doses of vitamin D.

​Furthermore, if you are taking such high doses you need to be aware that, just like dairy, fishbones are also rich in calcium. For this reason, if you are in a low-calcium diet take extra care not to eat any fishbones.

In case you are wondering why would anyone eat fishbones, that's actually easy to do when you are eaten canned sardines, for example.

​The ​​richest Sources of Vitamin D

  • 1
    ​Cod liver oil, with 10,000 IU per 100 grams.

The number one spot is occupied by cod liver oil.

Vitamin D in Cod Liver Oil

However, no one will realistically consume 100 grams of its oil.

A more down-to-earth dose will be one tablespoon​.

In that case, the person will be consuming 1,360 IU of vitamin D3 per tablespoon. How does that compare with the ​following foods on our list?

  • 2
    ​​Mushrooms, brown, Italian, or crimini, exposed to ultraviolet light, raw: 1,276 IU.
  • 3
    ​Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light, raw: 1,135 IU.
  • 4
    ​Mushrooms, maitake, raw: 1,123 IU.

Mushrooms dominate the remaining of our top 4.

Just like humans, when the skin of a mushroom is exposed to ultraviolet B radiation it can produce vitamin D.

But, what kind of vitamin D?

Vitamin D in mushrooms

Unlike us, though, mushrooms will produce mostly vitamin D2 and vitamin D4 which are not as readily available as the vitamin D3 you can find on cod liver oil, fish, eggs, or dairy products.

It's also interesting to note how even 100 grams of these mushrooms aren't enough to beat a single tablespoon of cod liver oil.

  • 5
    Fish, halibut, Greenland, raw: 1,097 IU.

​The Greenland halibut is the first fish on our list.

As you'll soon see, fish ​fill most of our list. Besides being rich in omega 3 fatty acids they are great sources of vitamin D.

Just bear in mind that, as the USDA points out, 1097 IU is the amount of vitamin D you would find in a ​raw​ fish.

Vitamin D in Sushi

​And, in case you are wondering why ​would anyone eat it raw like I was, ​​​it turns out halibut is a ​popular fish used for sushi. (2)

  • 6
    ​Fish, mackerel, salted: 1,006 IU.
  • 7
    ​Fish, carp, raw: 988 IU.
  • 8
    ​Fish, eel, mixed species, raw: 932 IU.
  • 9
    ​Fish, salmon, sockeye, canned, drained solids, without skin and bones: 859 IU.
  • 10
    ​Fish, salmon, sockeye, canned, drained solids: 841 IU.
  • 11
    ​Fish, salmon, sockeye, canned, total can contents: 761 IU.
  • 12
    ​Fish, trout, rainbow, farmed, cooked, dry heat: 759 IU.
  • 13
    ​Fish, salmon, chinook, smoked: 685 IU.
  • 14
    ​Fish, salmon, sockeye, cooked, dry heat: 670 IU.
  • 15
    ​Fish, swordfish, cooked, dry heat: 666 IU.
  • 16
    ​Fish, mackerel, Atlantic, raw: 643 IU.
  • 17
    ​Fish, sturgeon, mixed species, smoked: 642 IU.
  • 18
    ​Fish, trout, rainbow, farmed, raw: 635 IU.
  • 19
    ​Fish, salmon, pink, canned, drained solids: 580 IU.
  • 20
    ​Fish, salmon, sockeye, raw: 563 IU.
  • 21
    ​Fish, Salmon, pink, canned, drained solids, without skin and bones: 563 IU.
  • 22
    ​Fish, swordfish, raw: 558 IU.
  • 23
    ​Fish, salmon, pink, canned, total can contents: 547 IU.
  • 24
    ​Fish, cisco, smoked: 530 IU.
  • 25
    ​Fish, salmon, Atlantic, farmed, cooked, dry heat: 526 IU.

​One thing I love about the USDA is how ​detailed they are.

​For example, most sources will just tell you salmon contains a certain amount of vitamin D.

But, what ​kind​ of salmon?

What if it his canned?

What if you drain the can?

What if it is cooked?

Thanks to this approach we can learn that canned sockeye salmon actually contains more vitamin D, gram per gram, than the other kinds of salmon.

And, in case you are wondering why the vitamin D ​content goes up after your drain the can, that's because these values are per 100 grams.

This means that when you remove the water you need to add more fish to maintain the weight at 100 grams.

Since the water contains no vitamin D but the fish solids do, draining the can, and adding more fish to keep the total weight at 100 grams, will actually increase the total amount of vitamin D.​​​

  • 26
    Mushrooms, portabella, exposed to ultraviolet light, grilled: 524 IU.

​Another thing we learn from this list is the effect cooking can have on the vitamin D content of ​a mushroom.

If you recall, in their raw state, portabella ​mushrooms were number 3 on our list clocking at 1,135 IU of vitamin D per 100 grams.

However, once grilled, the number ​shrinks to 524 IU. That's a 54% drop.

​Are you up for some mushroom sushi?

  • 27
    ​​Fish, salmon, pink, cooked, dry heat: 522 IU.
  • 28
    ​Fish, sturgeon, mixed species, cooked, dry heat: 515 IU.
  • 29
    ​Fish, whitefish, mixed species, smoked: 512 IU.
  • 30
    ​Fish, catfish, channel, wild, raw: 500 IU.
  • 31
    ​Fish, roe, mixed species, raw: 484 IU.
  • 32
    ​Fish, whitefish, mixed species, raw: 478 IU.
  • 33
    ​Fish, mackerel, Pacific and jack, mixed species, cooked, dry heat: 457 IU.
  • 34
    ​Fish, salmon, coho, wild, cooked, dry heat: 451 IU.
  • 35
    ​​Milk, dry, nonfat, instant, with added vitamin A and vitamin D: 440 IU.
  • 36
    ​Fish, pompano, Florida, raw: 439 IU.
  • 37
    ​Fish, salmon, pink, raw: 435 IU.
  • 38
    ​​Margarine, regular, 80% fat, composite, stick, with salt, with added vitamin D: 429 IU.
  • 39
    ​Egg, yolk, dried: 417 IU.
  • 40
    ​Fish, salmon, Atlantic, farmed, raw: 441 IU.
  • 41
    ​​Milk, dry, whole, with added vitamin D: 420 IU.
  • 42
    ​Fish, sturgeon, mixed species, raw: 412 IU.
  • 43
    ​Fish, snapper, mixed species, raw: 408 IU.
  • 44
    ​Fish, salmon, chum, canned, drained solids with bone: 386 IU.
  • 45
    ​Fish, mackerel, Pacific and jack, mixed species, raw: 366 IU.
  • 46
    ​Fish, salmon, coho, wild, raw: 361 IU.
  • 47
    ​Fish oil, sardine: 332 IU.
  • 48
    ​​Egg, whole, dried: 331 IU.
  • 49
    ​​Cheese, pasteurized process, American, fortified with vitamin D: 301 IU.
  • 50
    ​​Egg Mix, USDA Commodity: 296 IU.
  • 51
    ​Fish, mackerel, jack, canned, drained solids: 292 IU.
  • 52
    ​Fish, mackerel, Spanish, raw: 292 IU.
  • 53
    ​Fish, tuna, light, canned in oil, drained solids: 269 IU.
  • 54
    ​​​Egg, yolk, raw, frozen, pasteurized: 238 IU.
  • 55
    ​Fish, halibut, Atlantic and Pacific, cooked, dry heat: 231 IU.
  • 56
    ​Fish, tuna, fresh, bluefin, raw: 227 IU.
  • 57
    ​Fish, sea bass, mixed species, raw: 226 IU.
  • 58
    ​Egg, yolk, raw, fresh: 218 IU.
  • 59
    ​Fish, herring, Atlantic, cooked, dry heat: 214 IU.
  • 60
    ​Mushrooms, Chanterelle, raw: 212 IU.
  • 61
    ​Mushrooms, morel, raw: 206 IU.
  • 62
    Fish, sardine, Atlantic, canned in oil, drained solids with bone: 193 IU.
  • 63
    ​Fish, sardine, Pacific, canned in tomato sauce, drained solids with bone: 193 IU.
  • 64
    ​Fat, chicken: 191 IU.
  • 65
    ​Fat, duck: 191 IU.
  • 66
    ​Fat, turkey: 191 IU.
  • 67
    ​Fish, halibut, Atlantic and Pacific, raw: 190 IU.
  • 68
    ​Fish, shad, American, raw: 190 IU.
  • 69
    ​Fish, shad, American, raw: 190 IU.
  • 70
    ​Fish, rockfish, Pacific, mixed species, cooked, dry heat: 183 IU.
  • 71
    ​Fish, herring, Atlantic, raw: 167 IU.
  • 72
    ​Fish, cod, Atlantic, dried and salted: 161 IU.
  • 73
    ​Fish, trout, mixed species, raw: 155 IU.
  • 74
    ​Mushrooms, shiitake, dried: 154 IU.
  • 75
    ​Fish, rockfish, Pacific, mixed species, raw: 151 IU.
  • 76
    ​​Fish, tilapia, cooked, dry heat: 150 IU.
  • 77
    ​Fish, flatfish (flounder and sole species), cooked, dry heat: 139 IU.
  • 78
    ​Chicken, broilers or fryers, separable fat, raw: 130 IU.
  • 79
    ​Egg, yolk, raw, frozen, salted, pasteurized: 126 IU.
  • 80
    ​Seaweed, Canadian Cultivated EMI-TSUNOMATA, dry: 126 IU.
  • 81
    ​Fish, tilapia, raw: 124 IU.
  • 82
    ​Egg, yolk, raw, frozen, sugared, pasteurized: 123 IU.
  • 83
    ​Pork, fresh, backfat, raw: 122 IU.
  • 84
    ​Fish, perch, mixed species, raw: 118 IU.
  • 85
    ​Fish, caviar, black and red, granular: 117 IU.
  • 86
    ​Fish, flatfish (flounder and sole species), raw: 113 IU.
  • 87
    ​Fish, herring, Atlantic, pickled: 113 IU.
  • 88
    ​​Cheese, fresh, queso fresco: 110 IU.
  • 89
    Egg, whole, raw, frozen, pasteurized: 105 IU.
  • 90
    ​Pork, fresh, spareribs, separable lean and fat, cooked, braised: 104 IU.
  • 91
    ​​Cheese food, pasteurized process, American, without added vitamin D: 102 IU.
  • 92
    ​Lard: 102 IU.
  • 93
    ​Animal fat, bacon grease: 101 IU.
  • 94
    ​Meat drippings (lard, beef tallow, mutton tallow): 100 IU.
  • 95
    ​Fish, pike, northern, raw: 99 IU.
  • 96
    ​Pork, cured, ham, extra lean (approximately 4% fat), canned, unheated: 93 IU.
  • 97
    ​Pork, fresh, spareribs, separable lean and fat, raw: 91 IU.
  • 98
    ​Egg, whole, cooked, fried: 88 IU.
  • 99
    ​Pork, fresh, spareribs, separable lean and fat, cooked, roasted: 88 IU.
  • 100
    ​Egg, whole, cooked, hard-boiled: 87 IU.
  • 101
    ​Fish, herring, Atlantic, kippered: 86 IU.
  • 102
    ​Egg, whole, raw, fresh: 82 IU.
  • 103
    ​Egg, whole, cooked, poached: 82 IU.
  • 104
    ​Fish, tuna, yellowfin, fresh, cooked, dry heat: 82 IU.
  • 105
    ​Fish, tuna, white, canned in water, drained solids: 80 IU.
  • 106
    ​Turkey and pork sausage, fresh, bulk, patty or link, cooked: 79 IU.
  • 107
    ​Pork, cured, ham, separable fat, boneless, heated: 75 IU.
  • 108
    ​​Milk, canned, evaporated, nonfat, with added vitamin A and vitamin D: 79 IU.
  • 109
    ​Cheese, dry white, queso seco: 73 IU.
  • 110
    ​Fish, whiting, mixed species, cooked, dry heat: 73 IU.
  • 111
    ​Egg, whole, cooked, scrambled: 72 IU.
  • 112
    ​Pork, fresh, separable fat, cooked: 72 IU.
  • 113
    ​Pork, fresh, loin, country-style ribs, separable lean and fat, bone-in, cooked, roasted: 72 IU.
  • 114
    ​Eggs, scrambled, frozen mixture: 72 IU.
  • 115
    ​Pork, fresh, shoulder, whole, separable lean and fat, raw: 70 IU.
  • 116
    ​Egg, whole, cooked, omelet: 69 IU.
  • 117
    ​Egg, duck, whole, fresh, raw: 69 IU.
  • 118
    ​Pork, fresh, separable fat, raw: 69 IU.
  • 119
    ​Fish, anchovy, European, canned in oil, drained solids: 69 IU.
  • 120
    ​Fish, tuna, fresh, yellowfin, raw: 69 IU.
  • 121
    ​Veal, loin, separable lean and fat, raw: 69 IU.
  • 122
    ​Egg, goose, whole, fresh, raw: 66 IU.
  • 123
    ​Egg substitute, liquid or frozen, fat-free: 66 IU.
  • 124
    ​Cream, fluid, heavy whipping: 63 IU.
  • 125
    ​​​Soymilk (All flavors), enhanced: 47 IU.
  • 126
    Turkey, whole, skin (light and dark), roasted: 54 IU.
  • 127
    ​Milk, buttermilk, fluid, whole: 52 IU.

​The midrange of our top 127 is dominated by fish.

From the 127 entries, more than 60 are from fish.

It would be interesting to study the vitamin D status of ​​avid sushi eaters, don't you agree?

Meanwhile, if you are unable to get enough of the UVB rich sunlight and want to improve your vitamin D levels without resorting to supplementation or drinking cod liver oil, your next best option is making the habit of eating mushrooms and plenty of fatty fish​.

Eat more vitamin-D-rich fish

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Tiago Henriques

With more than 10 years of experience as a Public Speaker, Tiago Henriques has done hundreds of public talks. He was born in 1987, in Portugal, and is the Author of 3 books — and counting — and the creator and editor of the Portuguese Science Project, "Ciência Desenhada," where complicated science is explained in a simple way, using whiteboard animation techniques.Tiago developed his own practical and down-to-earth teaching method inspired by his experiences with the Portuguese Deaf Community and their use of highly visual, descriptive and easy-to-understand language.

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