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Vitamin D: Dietary Drama

photo showing foods high in vitamin D | Georgia Dermatology Center
Known as the sunshine vitamin yet widely overlooked when it comes to other sources, vitamin D is in more foods than people realize. In fact, until recently many believed that vitamin D could only be obtained by exposure to the sun. Nonetheless, vitamin D can be found in a variety of foods even vegetarian and vegan fare.

Vitamin D Deficiency Risks

Although most people get plenty of D, the right amount is essential for good health. According to the Mayo Clinic, vitamin D deficiency can cause your bones to become brittle, thin or malformed. What is more, D is believed to play a significant function in maintaining the immune system, in insulin resistance and high blood pressure. However, it has not been scientifically proven. One thing for certain, doctors agree that the body needs a certain amount. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is as follows:

• Ages 1 to 70 – 600 international units (IU) per day
• Age 70 and older – up to 800 IU per day

Various Fish

Vitamin D can be found in fatty fish such as salmon, sardines and herring. Fatty fish is also rich in omega-3s plus it’s a fabulous source of lean protein. Just one small fillet will provide you with your daily recommended (RDA).

Tuna is also loaded in the vitamin, around 300 IUs per 8 ounces. Enjoy tuna on a sandwich, in a casserole or in a salad.

Beef Liver

Beef liver offers a high amount of vitamin D, about 42 IUs per three ounces. It is also rich in minerals, protein and essential amino acids. Serve beef liver as a steak, with casseroles or fried with onion.

Certain Mushrooms

There are certain mushrooms that are packed with D like maitake, Portobello’s, chanterelles, shiitakes and morels. The low-cal treat can be added to salads, sandwiches, served on top of a burger or sautéed.

Also, recent studies claim that mushrooms have higher levels of vitamin D if they are exposed to the sun. In fact, you can now purchase mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light.

Fortified Breakfast Cereals

Today you can find numerous cereals that are fortified with D. However, the total amount will vary per brand. In addition, you can select from various cereals to fit your dietary needs such as multigrain, unsweetened, low-cal and more.


Eggs are another great source of D, especially the yolk. Two large eggs provide about one-tenth of daily recommendations of vitamin D. Enjoy eggs a variety of ways such as an omelet, boiled, fried or added to baked goods.

Ricotta Cheese

The majority of cheeses are very low in this important vitamin except for ricotta. In fact, ricotta has 5-6 times more vitamin D than other cheese products. Ricotta can be added to many sweet and savory dishes like lasagna, cheesecake, and pancakes or paired with fruit such as blueberries or apples.


Just an 8-ounce cup of milk provides 200 IUs of D. Milk is also high in calcium which strengthens your bones. If you are not a milk drinker or you are lactose intolerant, soy milk is an excellent substitute with 300 IUs per cup.


Typically, the amount of D in a person’s diet is often lower than the daily recommendations. However, daily exposure to sunlight will generally make up the difference. Experts claim that 20 to 25 minutes of sunlight is all that is needed.

In fact, sunlight triggers the body to make vitamin D. The more you are in the sun, the more vitamin D your body makes. On the contrary, many are concerned that overexposure will put them at risk of getting skin cancer. Equally, the amount of sunlight needed depends upon each individual. For instance, people who are older or who are dark skinned tend to produce less vitamin D. Further, you can prevent skin cancer in many ways.

If you are concerned about not getting enough D, it is best to consult a physician. In addition, if you suspect that you may have skin cancer, make an appointment with a specialist or a dermatologist as soon as possible

Georgia Dermatology Center

At Georgia Dermatology Center you will find an amazing medical staff with numerous years of combined experience. For instance, Dr. Gross has received countless honors and awards. Some of Dr. Gross’s awards in dermatology include the Advocate of the Year Award (2015), Continuing Education Award (1992, 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2015), Presidential Citation (2013) and many others.

For your convenience, Georgia Dermatology is located in Cumming, GA and serves the surrounding areas including Alpharetta, Gainesville, Milton, Roswell, Suwanee and Sandy Springs. Moreover, our qualified and highly professional staff at Georgia Dermatology Center can answer any questions or concerns that you may have.

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