Food & Nutrition Science

Incorporating Foods Rich in Vitamin D into a Diet Plan

It’s the middle of summer, so foods rich in vitamin D are probably not at the forefront of your clients’ concerns since we absorb it from sunlight. But what about the rest of the year? Vitamin D is essential for absorbing calcium, a mineral we need to consume on a daily basis for excellent bone health. It also enhances our ability to maximize a other minerals we need such as iron, zinc and magnesium.

Vitamin D is also critical for someone—especially women—suffering from depression. According to Rick Nauert, Ph.D. in a contribution to Psych Central: “Emerging research suggest an association between low levels of vitamin D and depression in otherwise healthy young women. Oregon State University (OSU) researchers found that young women with lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to have clinically significant depressive symptoms over the course of a five-week study.” While there is no established level of vitamin D sufficiency for mental health, boosting your intake can never hurt, especially since it has a wide variety of other benefits.


In addition to sunlight and supplements, incorporate these foods rich in vitamin D into your client’s diet

Fatty or oily fish, such as wild salmon, trout, eel, swordfish and mackerel are excellent sources of vitamin D. But wild salmon trumps the rest. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation: “A 3.5-ounce fillet of cooked wild salmon contains 360 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D.” Salmon also boasts omega-3 fatty acids, which is essential for a healthy heart and healthy cholesterol-levels.

Break out the eggs for tomorrow’s breakfast. One large hard-boiled egg contains 44 IUs of vitamin D. If your clients prefer their eggs poached or scrambled, one egg can still provide your clients with 7 percent of their daily vitamin D intake. While pasture-raised eggs are an excellent source, the vitamin D is concentrated in the yolk, so the entire egg must be consumed to get the most out of it. Eggs are also more enjoyable when paired with another breakfast item, such as fortified yogurt, milk or cereal. If your client is lactose intolerant, however, have him or her try soy yogurt, soy milk or another dairy alternative of his or her choice. Finally, encourage your client to incorporate mushrooms and tofu into his or her evening routine. One cup of portabello mushrooms, for example, boasts 64 percent of your client’s daily value. A friendly tip: Expose mushrooms to sunlight to increase the value of vitamin D per serving.

Interested in learning more about the benefits of clean-eating? Download our complimentary e-book: “The Ultimate Guide to Eating Clean.”


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