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Vitamin D: It’s in these foods

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 271 views

Our body can produce most of its own vitamin D if the skin receives sufficient sunlight. On the other hand, the coverage of requirements through food is relatively low: only a few foods contain appreciable quantities of the sun vitamin. Find out more about vitamin D in food and how to prepare it properly here.

Vitamin D: These foods are particularly rich!

Vitamin D is also known as the sunshine vitamin. Rightly so: After all, the body is able to produce it itself from sunlight. So in summer we cannot avoid going outdoors regularly if we do not want to risk a vitamin D deficiency.

If you let the sun shine on your skin regularly, you also replenish your vitamin D stores. The body feeds on it in winter when sunlight is scarce.

In addition, experts recommend consuming foods with vitamin D on a regular basis – even if nutrition only plays a small part in meeting your needs. But first you have to know: Which foods contain vitamin D and in significant amounts?

Cod liver oil used to be considered the vitamin D-rich food par excellence. It is a fatty oil obtained from the liver and kidneys of marine animals. In fact, cod liver oil contains a comparatively large amount of the sun vitamin. But it doesn’t taste particularly good.

Fortunately, there are alternatives – albeit not very many. It is primarily animal foods that have a relevant vitamin D content. But there are also some plant foods with vitamin D:

Food Vitamin D content in micrograms per 100 grams
Dairy products
Camembert 0,3
Emmental 1,1
Gouda 1,3
Drinking milk, 3.5% fat 0,1
herbal cream cheese 0,6
Processed cheese (45% fat in dry matter) 3,1
Quark (20/40% fat in dry matter) 0,1/0,2
goat milk 0,3
fish, marine animals
oysters 8
Aal 20
Hering 25
cod 1,3
Salmon 16
Baltic herring 7,8
Sardine 11
Schwarzer Heilbutt 15
Meat, poultry, sausage
chicken liver 1,3
Lamb’s liver 2
beef liver 1,7
chicken egg 2,9
chicken yolk 5,6
Fruit Vegetable
Mushroom, roh 1,9
Chanterelle, raw 2,1
Morel, porcini , raw 3,1
Butter bis 2,5
Vegetable/diet margarine 2,5

How to meet your vitamin D needs

The recommended daily amount of vitamin D is around 20 micrograms per day. But with which food portions do you cover this need? Here are some examples:

  • 100 Grams Aal
  • 80 to 90 grams of herring
  • 4 eggs (e.g. as an omelet)

Those who eat animal-based foods usually meet their needs. People who completely avoid animal products have a harder time meeting their vitamin D needs.

With the exception of mushrooms, fruit and vegetables contain negligible amounts. In addition, there is only vitamin D2 in plant-based foods – the less effective, plant-based counterpart to human and animal vitamin D3. The food selection for vegans must therefore be made particularly carefully.

Vitamin D: storage and processing information

Vitamin D is heat stable and is retained even during cooking at temperatures of up to 180 degrees Celsius. Fatty vitamin D foods such as fortified margarine or cooking oils are therefore well suited for the preparation of vitamin D-containing warm dishes.

Reference amount: how much vitamin D does the body need?

The estimated requirement for vitamin D is 20 micrograms per day for children over the age of one year, adolescents and adults. With this amount, the concentration of 25-OH vitamin D in the blood can be achieved – the storage form of vitamin D. This concentration is considered optimal for health.

With sufficient sun exposure, the recommended daily requirement of vitamin D – and consequently the desired serum concentration of 25-OH vitamin D – can be largely covered by self-production: The body then forms 80 to 90 percent of the required amount of vitamin D in the skin Foods with significant amounts of vitamin D, such as herring and mackerel, provide the rest.

This becomes problematic when the skin is not exposed to enough sun, or when the sun is too weak in the winter months for the body to produce vitamin D. Foods that are usually on our menu provide little vitamin D. In young people and Adults are only around two to four micrograms per day, and even less in children. This means: In order to get the recommended dose of 20 micrograms per day, you would have to eat two kilograms of Emmental cheese, for example.

Are vitamin D supplements necessary and useful?

As already mentioned, there are hardly any foods with a lot of vitamin D. It is therefore correspondingly difficult to cover the requirements with foods containing vitamin D alone when there is a lack of sun exposure. In this case, taking vitamin D from supplements often makes sense.

However, high doses of vitamin D can sometimes lead to serious health side effects. It is therefore advisable to first have your doctor check your own vitamin D supply before resorting to vitamin D supplements.

If you actually have a deficiency, your doctor will then recommend a suitable dosage of vitamin D depending on the extent of the deficiency.

Please discuss with your doctor whether foods with a lot of vitamin D may or should also be consumed.

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