Minus/plus icon
ResourcesExplore the full ACKO experience and make the most of your plan

Home / Health Insurance / Articles / Diet / List of Vitamin-D-rich food sources: Fruits & vegetables

List of Vitamin-D-rich food sources: Fruits & vegetables

Team AckoFeb 16, 2024

Vitamins help maintain the body's normal functions and fight off diseases like Rickets and Cancer. Thus a deficiency may lead to many health issues that can impair your daily life. To avoid this you must include Vitamin-D-rich food items in your diet. Here is a detailed article on different foods (vegetarian and non-vegetarian) that can help maintain the required level of Vitamin D in your body.




What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary for the body. It helps in increased absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate. It also has several other biological impacts. The most significant chemicals of Vitamin D are Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).

Role of Vitamin D

Vitamin D can help prevent infections, lessen inflammation, and slow down the formation of cancerous cells. Vitamin D receptors are present in a large number of bodily organs and tissues, suggesting that this vitamin performs vital tasks in addition to maintaining bone health. 

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D relates to the daily dose required to maintain strong bones and regular calcium metabolism.

  • UL: The highest daily consumption unlikely to negatively impact health is known as the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). The UL for Vitamin D is 4,000 IU (100 mcg) for kids aged nine and older.

  • RDA: The Recommended Daily Allowance for adults aged 19 and older is 600 IU (15 mcg), and 800 IU (20 mcg) for those over 70 years of age.

Vitamin D Deficiency

The human body depends on vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin, for several physiological processes. It is best known for its role in promoting healthy bones and avoiding diseases like rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults.

Vitamin D is often called the "sunshine vitamin" because our skin can make it when it's exposed to sunlight. When UltraViolet rays from the sun touch our skin, a substance in our skin cells called 7-dehydrocholesterol turns into a kind of pre-vitamin D. This pre-vitamin D travels through our bloodstream to our liver, where it gets converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D, or 25(OH)D for short. Thereafter 25(OH)D travels to the kidneys, where it undergoes another modification to become 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D, also known as calcitriol — the active form of vitamin D.

One of Vitamin D's most well-known functions is aiding the body's ability to absorb calcium and phosphate from the intestines. This helps in preserving healthy blood levels of these minerals, which are essential for bone health. Vitamin D is necessary for the process of bone mineralization, which makes bones more dense and strong. Together with calcium and other minerals, it helps to develop and maintain strong bone tissue.

According to some research, having adequate amounts of vitamin D may lower your chance of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer. However, additional investigation is required to show clear causation.

Vitamin D deficiency is a global health concern, especially in regions with limited sunlight exposure or for individuals with certain dietary restrictions. Following are some telltale symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency:

  • Joint pains along with weakness in muscles

  • A weaker immune system leads to frequent infections

  • Fatigue and tiredness, during the day, even after a good night's sleep

  • Cuts and bruises take longer than usual to heal

  • Increased risk of fractures due to weaker bones

  • Thinning hair or increased hair loss

  • Mood changes, especially during the darker months

In such cases, supplementation may be recommended under the guidance of a healthcare professional. However, although vitamin D is essential for health, taking too much of it can be hazardous, leading to toxicity. It's important to note that Vitamin D toxicity is rare and typically occurs from very high doses of supplements, rather than from dietary sources or sun exposure. The following are the symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity:

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Weakness and fatigue

  • Loss of appetite

  • Excessive thirst and urination

  • Kidney dysfunction includes changes in urination patterns, blood in urine, or even kidney stones.

  • Confusion and disorientation

  • Elevated blood Calcium levels (Hypercalcemia)

  • Irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure

The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D gives healthy individuals the daily dose required to maintain strong bones and consistent calcium metabolism. It is based on minimal sun exposure values. For adults aged 19 and older, the recommended daily allowance is 600 IU (15 mcg) for men and women, and 800 IU (20 mcg) for those over 70 years of age.

The maximum daily consumption that is unlikely to have a negative impact on health is known as the Tolerable Upper Consumption Level (UL). For adults and kids aged 9 and older, the UL for vitamin D is 4,000 IU (100 mcg).

List of the top food items high in Vitamin D

Although sunlight/sun rays exposure can help your body produce Vitamin D, it is not always reliable because of weather changes. To ensure adequate Vitamin D levels in your body, try to include these items in your daily diet, along with a lot of fruits and vegetables. (Note: Please consult a doctor before making dietary changes.)

Food item


Fortified Orange Juice

As it is fortified with Vitamin D and calcium, lactose intolerant people may find this item a trustworthy supply of nutrition. One cup of enriched orange juice has 100 IU of Vitamin D.


Mushrooms, like humans, can synthesise Vitamin D in the presence of sunlight. They are high in Vitamin D2 and contain 2300 IU per 100gm. On the other hand, mushrooms that are grown commercially have minimal Vitamin D2. Certain types are treated with UV light, making them a good source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D2 levels in these mushrooms range from 130 to 450 IU.

Canned Tuna

Canned tuna has 268IU of Vitamin D, making it an excellent source. It's also a less expensive choice than buying fresh fish. Eating canned tuna can also boost your niacin and vitamin K levels. However, because it contains poisonous methylmercury, over-ingestion of this dietary item might result in significant health problems. Fortified cereal. Half a cup of cereal contains 54-136 IU of Vitamin D, making it a good source.


This is a popular fish, whether canned, smoked, pickled, or raw. Per 100gm serving, it contains 216 IU of Vitamin D. Pickled herring also has 112 IU of Vitamin D and salt, both of which are necessary for the human body.


This fatty fish is high in Vitamin D. A single serving of 100gm Atlantic salmon has 526 IU of Vitamin D, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Composition Database. Wild salmon contains more Vitamin D than farmed salmon. A 100g serving of wild salmon has 988 IU of Vitamin D, whereas farmed salmon contains only 25% of the recommended dosage.

Cow's milk (fortified)

This is a popular food in India that contains calcium, phosphorus, and riboflavin. It is an excellent source of Vitamin D, with 115-130 IU per cup. This can also be a good Vitamin D rich food for a 1 year old baby.

Cod Liver Oil

Instead of eating fish, you can take this as a supplement. It is nutrient-dense and includes 448 IU of Vitamin D per teaspoon. Children who are Vitamin-D-deficient might consider taking this. It is also high in Vitamin A and Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which your body requires. However, you should avoid taking too much cod liver oil because an increase in Vitamin A levels in your body might be dangerous. This can also be a Vitamin D rich food for hair growth.

Egg Yolks

Consuming eggs provides 37 IU of this vitamin. However, the Vitamin D content of eggs is determined by sun exposure and the Vitamin D level of chicken feed. Eggs from chickens grown on pasture and exposed to sunlight are three to four times richer in Vitamin D. These eggs have 6000 IU of Vitamin D.


Sardines are an excellent source of this vitamin. It has 177 IU of Vitamin D in it. Vitamin D foods to add to your diet include fatty fish such as halibut and mackerel.

Top Vitamin-D-rich food items for vegetarians

The following foods are rich in Vitamin D.

  • Yoghurt: Because it is fortified with Vitamin D, dairy and nondairy yoghurts have high levels of this vitamin. It contains around 120 IU of Vitamin D per cup.

  • Cheese: Vitamin D is abundant in cheese, particularly cottage cheese. Cheddar, Fontina, and Monterey cheeses are also high in this vitamin. A 100g portion of any form of cheese contains approximately 24 IU of Vitamin D.

  • Fortified soymilk: Because soymilk includes the same nutrients as cow's milk, it is a healthy meal option for vegans and vegetarians. Soy Milk has 120 IU of Vitamin D per cup.

How to Get More Vitamin D

There are other ways to ensure your body gets enough vitamin D. Here are some great sources of Vitamin D-elicious!

  • Cheese

  • Beef liver

  • Yellow egg yolks

  • Mushrooms

  • Fortified milk, cereals and juices

  • Fish (salmon, tuna)

Vitamin D deficiency

A shortage of Vitamin D in the diet, poor absorption, or a need for higher quantities due to a metabolic condition can all lead to Vitamin D deficiency. A deficiency may occur if a person does not consume enough Vitamin D and does not spend enough time in the sun. 

Vitamin D deficiency can lead to the following conditions.

  1. Cancer: Studies have shown that Vitamin D helps prevent the growth of tumours and reduce their progression, including Breast, Ovary, Colon, Prostate Cancer, and Brain Tumours. 

  2. Type 2 Diabetes: The conditions that result in Type 2 diabetes (T2DM), such as impaired pancreatic beta cell function, insulin resistance, and inflammation, may severely impact Vitamin D deficiency. Higher Vitamin D blood levels have been linked to decreased incidence of type 2 diabetes. 

  3. Cold: Low Vitamin D levels in adults are associated with an increased likelihood of recent upper respiratory tract infections, colds, and coughs.

  4. Rickets: Rickets is a disease that causes bone abnormalities in infants and young children due to the failure of bone tissue to solidify. Low levels of Vitamin D can lead to this medical condition.

  5. Osteomalacia : Adults with osteomalacia have weak, brittle bones that can be strengthened with Vitamin D dietary supplements. This differs from Osteoporosis, which causes bones to become porous and brittle, and is irreversible.


  • Cancer Fighter: Vitamin D can reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation.

  • Not a Vitamin: Vitamin D is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin; it is required to absorb calcium and phosphate from the gut into the bloodstream


The sun helps the body produce Vitamin D, it may be a complex chemical reaction but getting about 20 minutes of some good sunlight everyday shouldn't be too hard. This particular vitamin plays an important role in maintaining bone health and immunity. Make sure you walk into the sunlight, often.

Also read: best family health insurance policies

Frequently asked questions

Following are some common queries about Vitamin D and their answers.

Can taking too much Vitamin D affect my body?


Taking too much Vitamin D can affect your body, as too much calcium can accumulate in the body if you take too many Vitamin D tablets over time (Hypercalcaemia). This may also harm the heart, kidneys, and bones.

Do supplements containing Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2 differ from one another?


Supplements containing Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2 differ from one another because, according to studies, Vitamin D3 supplements tend to elevate blood levels of the vitamin more and maintain those levels more than D2 supplements.

What are the symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity?


The symptoms of Vitamin D toxicity include.

  • Abnormal heartbeat

  • Anorexia

  • Elevated blood levels of calcium cause hardening of blood vessels and tissues, which could harm the heart and kidneys.

  • Loss of weight

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. It is based on several secondary sources on the internet. As this content piece is not vetted by a medical professional, please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.



Want to post any comments?


Affordable Health Insurance for You & Your Family starting @ ₹20/day*

✅ 100% Room Rent Covered* ✅ Zero deductions at claims ✅ 7100+ Cashless Hospitals

quote icon

Check health insurance

quote icon