Important Vitamin D foods you need to know

Vitamin D foods plays an important role in maintaingn bone health. There are two basic vitamin D sources, one is direct exposure to sunlight and the other is through the diet. Lets look at Vitamin d rich foods including some Vegan sources of vitamin d.

Vitamin D also known as the sunshine vitamin, plays an important role in the absorption of calcium, phosphate, magnesium and plays a lead role in bone health and teeth as well. Not only our bones, but the importance of maintaining healthy vitamin D levels may be also critical in a series of health challenges including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and certain cancers.

The body of a vitamin d deficient person may absorb only 10% to 15% of dietary calcium and approximately 60% of phosphorus hence it becomes critical to increase vitamin d uptake with vitamin d rich foods.

There are two basic vitamin D sources, one is direct exposure to sunlight and the other is through the diet. The first source provides nearly 90% of the body’s vitamin D requirement in the form of Vitamin D3 which is synthesized in the skin and then converted into an active form called 25-hydroxyvitamin D in our liver and kidneys. 

The active form of vitamin D i.e. 25-Dihydroxyvitamin D is found to have boosted dietary calcium absorption by up to 40% and phosphorus absorption by up to 80%.

How much Vitamin D do I need?

An adult male requires 5 micrograms (200 IU) of vitamin D through the diet whereas an adult female needs 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D. [https://www.nap.edu/]

These guidelines are generally prescribed by the local authorities. A person who has more exposure to the sunlight like people in the equator may require less vitamin d through diet than the person residing near the poles.

Vitamin D is measured in micrograms or International Units (IU), 1 IU = 0.025 mcg.

If you do not spend a lot of time outdoors, if you do not get as much vitamin D in your diet as you can, if you do not live in an area where the sun is strong enough to help absorb vitamin D from the foods you eat, in such cases you may need higher vitamin d though vitamin D rich foods because they help you synthesize more 25-hydroxyvitamin D. 

People living above the tropics of cancer or those who do not get adequate sun exposure may require up to 1000 IU vitamin D or more vitamin d sources, depending upon their sum exposure. Intake of 4000 IU and more in adults is clinically tested and found to be tolerable without any toxicity. [PMID: 17209171]

How can I increase my vitamin D 25-Hydroxy naturally?

The best vitamin D foods are the ones in which vitamin D is present in the form of 25-hydroxyvitamin D. Such foods are animal organs such as the liver, kidney, tongue, heart, and brains. Some marine fish are also good 25-hydroxyvitamin D sources.

The second-best vitamin D rich foods are the one that provides vitamin D3 and vitamin D2. Vitamin D3 foods are mainly the animal organs such as liver and kidneys of sheep, chicken or goat and some oily fishes whereas vitamin D2 is mostly found in plant sources. Keep in mind that animal meats are also high in cholesterol and the risk of mercury contamination could be higher in the sea foods.

If you eat a healthy diet containing these vitamin D foods, you will be able to receive all the health benefits that vitamin D can provide because they help increase your body’s ability to produce 25-hydroxyvitamin D. 

Which is better vitamin D2 or D3?

If your vitamin D sources of 25-hydroxyvitamin D which is the most active and desirable form are limited, you may want to know which is better vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. Some may opine that vitamin D foods from animal sources may be more effective than vitamin D rich foods from plants as the prior is available in animal organs and nearly be absorbed by the body easily to produce 25(OH)D.

But some studies have shown that both vitamin D2 and D3 were found effective in increasing and preserving total serum concentrations of 25(OH)D. In an 11 weeks long study where the subjects were given 1000 IU vitamin D2 or vitamin D3, it was found that both vitamin D2 and D3 were effective in raising total serum concentrations of 25(OH)D. [PMID: 23386645]

In one more study, two separate groups of children were administered with a daily dose of 2000 IU vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 and found to have increased their serum 25(OH)D to the same level. [PMID: 23386645]

So it can be said that vegetarian vitamin D sources are equally helpful in achieving active 25(OH)D levels as compared with vitamin D rich foods from animals. I am presenting here vitamin d foods that you can add to your veg diet plans to maintain healthy 25-dihydroxyvitamin D levels. 

This vitamin D foods list is arranged in a manner that gives more vitamin D per kcal from the food. This ratio is expressed as kcal per mcg which means how much calories do I need to take to get 1 mcg of vitamin D. These vitamin D sources are arranged in the descending order of kcal/mcg ratio of vitamin D. So read on, you may find a vegetable that you may like to add.

Vitamin D rich foods list 30 to 21

30. Field Beans, Tender, Broad

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Field Beans, Tender, Broad has 30.81 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Field Beans, Tender, Broad holds 7.14 µg of vitamin D. Ratio of Energy to Vitamin D of Field Beans, Tender, Broad is 4.32 kcal to mcg. Accordingly, Field Beans, Tender, Broad positions 30 in vitamin D rich foods list.

29. Red gram, Tender, Fresh

Red gram, Tender, Fresh has 124.19 kilocalories energy per 100 grams. Red gram, Tender, Fresh comprises 28.96 mcg of vitamin D. Energy to Vitamin D ratio of Red gram, Tender, Fresh is 4.29 kcal/mcg. So, Red gram, Tender, Fresh rank 29 in vitamin D sources.

28. Cloves

Cloves have 186.53 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Cloves contain 45.07 µg of vitamin D2. Kcal to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Cloves is 4.14. Thus, Cloves lines 28 in vitamin D foods.

27. Snake Gourd, Long, Dark Green

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Snake Gourd, Long, Dark Green has 11.94 kilocalories energy every 100 gm weight. Snake Gourd, Long, Dark Green holds 3.08 mcg of vitamin D2. Energy to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Snake Gourd, Long, Dark Green is 3.88. Therefore, Snake Gourd, Long, Dark Green grades 27 in vitamin D rich foods list.

26. Jack Fruit, Raw

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Jack Fruit, Raw has 26.27 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Jack Fruit, Raw comprises 6.84 µg of vitamin D. Energy, kcal to Vitamin D2, mcg ratio of Jack Fruit, Raw is 3.84. Hence, Jack Fruit, Raw positions 26 in vitamin D sources.

25. Onion, Stalk

Onion, Stalk has 25.56 kilocalories energy per 100 gm weight. Onion, Stalk contains 6.81 mcg of vitamin D. Ratio of Energy to Vitamin D of Onion, Stalk is 3.75 kcal to mcg. Accordingly, Onion, Stalk ranks 25 in vitamin D foods.

24. Blackberry

Blackberry has 54.22 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Blackberry holds 14.65 µg of vitamin D2. The energy to Vitamin D ratio of Blackberry is 3.70 kcal/mcg. So, Blackberry lines 24 in vitamin D rich foods list.

23. Ladies Finger

Ladies Finger has 27.47 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams. Ladies Finger comprises 7.46mcg of vitamin D2. Kcal to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Ladies Finger is 3.68. Thus, Ladies Finger grades 23 in vitamin D sources.

22. Cho Cho Marrow

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Cho Cho Marrow has 18.87 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Cho Cho Marrow contains 5.46 µg of vitamin D. Energy to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Cho Cho Marrow is 3.46. Therefore, Cho Cho Marrow positions 22 in vitamin D foods.

21. Kovai, Small

Kovai, Small has 19.11 kilocalories energy every 100 gm weight. Kovai, Small holds 6.06 mcg of vitamin D. Energy, kcal to Vitamin D2, mcg ratio of Kovai, Small is 3.15. Hence, Kovai, Small ranks 21 in the vitamin D rich foods list.

Vitamin D foods list from 20 to 11

20. Papaya, Raw

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Papaya, Raw has 23.88 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Papaya, Raw comprises 7.8 µg of vitamin D2. The ratio of Energy to Vitamin D of Papaya, Raw is 3.06 kcal to mcg. Accordingly, Papaya, Raw lines 20 in vitamin D sources.

19. Cluster Beans

Cluster Beans has 40.12 kilocalories of energy per 100 gm weight. Cluster Beans contains 13.72mcg of vitamin D2. The energy to Vitamin D ratio of Cluster Beans is 2.92 kcal/mcg. So, Cluster Beans grades 19 in vitamin D foods.

18. Zizyphus

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Zizyphus has 48.72 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Zizyphus holds 16.7 µg of vitamin D. Kcal to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Zizyphus is 2.92. Thus, Zizyphus positions 18 in the vitamin D rich foods list.

17. Maize, Tender, Local

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Maize, Tender, Local has 119.89 kilocalories energy per 100 grams. Maize, Tender, Local comprises 42.34 mcg of vitamin D. Energy to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Maize, Tender, Local is 2.83. Therefore, Maize, Tender, Local rank 17 in vitamin D sources.

16. Kovai Big

Kovai Big has 17.43 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Kovai Big contains 6.25 µg of vitamin D2. Energy, kcal to Vitamin D2, mcg ratio of Kovai Big is 2.79. Hence, Kovai Big lines 16 in vitamin D foods.

15. Wood apple

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Wood apple has 78.1 kilocalories of energy every 100 gm weight. Wood apple holds 28.71mcg of vitamin D2. The ratio of Energy to Vitamin D of Wood apple is 2.72 kcal to mcg. Accordingly, Wood apple grades 15 in vitamin D rich foods list.

14. Broad Beans

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Broad Beans has 29.38 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Broad Beans comprises 11.58 µg of vitamin D. Energy to Vitamin D ratio of Broad Beans is 2.54 kcal/mcg. So, Broad Beans positions 14 in vitamin D sources.

13. Corn, Baby

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Corn, Baby has 73.08 kilocalories energy per 100 gm weight. Corn, Baby contains 31.2 mcg of vitamin D. Kcal to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Corn, Baby is 2.34. Thus, Corn, Baby ranks 13 in vitamin D foods.

12. Amaranth Leaves, Red

Amaranth Leaves, Red has 33.44 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Amaranth Leaves, Red holds 15.1 µg of vitamin D2. Energy to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Amaranth Leaves, Red is 2.21. Therefore, Amaranth Leaves, Red lines 12 in vitamin D rich foods list.

11. Basella Leaves

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Basella Leaves has 19.58 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams. Basella Leaves comprise 9.18mcg of vitamin D2. Energy, kcal to Vitamin D2, mcg ratio of Basella Leaves is 2.13. Hence, Basella Leaves grades 11 in vitamin D sources.

Top 10 vitamin D foods

10. Papaya, Ripe

Papaya, Ripe has 23.88 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Papaya, Ripe contains 11.47 µg of vitamin D. Ratio of Energy to Vitamin D of Papaya, Ripe is 2.08 kcal to mcg. Accordingly, Papaya, Ripe positions 10 in vitamin D foods.

9. Amaranth Leaves, Red And Green Mix

Amaranth Leaves, Red And Green Mix have 31.53 kilocalories energy every 100 gm weight. Amaranth Leaves, Red And Green Mix holds 15.25 mcg of vitamin D. Energy to Vitamin D ratio of Amaranth Leaves, Red And Green Mix is 2.07 kcal/mcg. So, Amaranth Leaves, Red, And Green Mix rank 9 in vitamin D rich foods list.

8. Amaranth Leaves, Green

Amaranth Leaves, Green has 30.57 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Amaranth Leaves, Green comprises 16.01 µg of vitamin D2. Kcal to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Amaranth Leaves, Green is 1.91. Thus, Amaranth Leaves, Green lines 8 in vitamin D sources.

7. Pippali

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Pippali has 216.38 kilocalories of energy per 100 gm weight. Pippali contains 118 mcg of vitamin D2. The energy to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Pippali is 1.83. Therefore, Pippali grades 7 in vitamin D foods.

6. Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green

Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green has 26.27 Kcal energy every 100 grams. Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green holds 15.23 µg of vitamin D. Energy, kcal to Vitamin D2, mcg ratio of Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green is 1.72. Hence, Amaranth Spined Leaves, Green positions 6 in vitamin d rich foods list.

5. Tomato Ripe Local

Tomato Ripe Local has 19.58 kilocalories of energy per 100 grams. Tomato Ripe Local comprises 12.24 mcg of vitamin D. Ratio of Energy to Vitamin D of Tomato Ripe Local is 1.60 kcal to mcg. Accordingly, Tomato Ripe Local ranks 5 in vitamin D sources.

4. Tomato, Ripe, Hybrid

Tomato, Ripe, Hybrid has 18.87 Kcal energy every 100 grams by weight. Tomato, Ripe, Hybrid contains 11.83 µg of vitamin D2. The energy to Vitamin D ratio of Tomato, Ripe, Hybrid is 1.60 kcal/mcg. So, Tomato, Ripe, Hybrid lines 4 in vitamin D foods.

3. Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red And Green Mix

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Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red And Green Mix have 23.64 kilocalories energy every 100 gm weight. Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red And Green Mix holds 15.04 mcg of vitamin D2. Kcal to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red And Green Mix is 1.57. Thus, Amaranth Spined Leaves, Red And Green Mix grade 3 in vitamin D rich foods list.

2. Curry Leaves

Curry Leaves has 63.53 Kcal energy per 100 grams by weight. Curry Leaves comprises 117 µg of vitamin D. Energy to Vitamin D2 ratio in kcal/mcg of Curry Leaves is 0.54. Therefore, Curry Leaves positions 2 in vitamin D sources.

1. Pomegranate, Maroon Seeds

Pomegranate, Maroon Seeds has 54.69 kilocalories of energy per 100 gm weight. Pomegranate, Maroon Seeds contains 109 mcg of vitamin D. Energy, kcal to Vitamin D2, mcg ratio of Pomegranate, Maroon Seeds is 0.50. Hence, Pomegranate, Maroon Seeds tops in vitamin D foods.

Nutritionist & Dietician
Hello everyone, I am Nutritionist Smriti Indarapu, a Post Graduate Diploma holder in Nutrition and Dietetics, practicing nutrition for the last 10 years. The journey started when we were having our family... Read full bio
www.vegdietplans.com

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