Foods rich in vitamin D

Although the sun is a great supplier of this vitamin, there are foods that we can include in our diet so as not to suffer a deficit that could affect our health.

Foods rich in vitamin D
Foods rich in vitamin D

Despite living in one of the sunniest countries on the planet, almost 80% of the elderly and 60% of the Spanish population have a deficiency in vitamin D. And, although the sun is a great supplier of this vitamin, it is important to know how to get it in the food we eat.

Vitamin D deficiency affects children, adults and the elderly. It is known that this vitamin ensures a correct absorption of phosphorus and calcium in the bones, and that its deficit causes joint problems due to the weakness of our bones, becoming brittle and can cause osteoporosis, fractures and even other types of diseases.

Professor Victoria Arija, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Public Health at Rovira y Virgili University, explains it like this: “a deficient intake of Vitamin D through diet or due to low sun exposure is related to cancer, cardiovascular diseases and autoimmune, diabetes and depression “.

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A deficient supply of Vitamin D through the diet or due to insufficient sun exposure is related to cancer, cardiovascular and autoimmune diseases, diabetes and depression

And it is that after 50 years the possibility of suffering from vitamin D deficiency increases. As we age, we lose part of our ability to synthesize this vitamin from sunlight. That’s why experts insist that it takes at least 30 minutes of sun exposure twice a week to produce a sufficient amount of vitamin D from sunlight.

Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more common among people of all ages, but especially among older adults. These are some of the signs that may indicate that we suffer from low levels of this vitamin:

Weak Muscles:

Vitamin D deficiency can cause heavy legs and difficulty standing and climbing stairs. In older people, weakened muscles and bones indicate a greater risk of falls and fractures, so this vitamin must be controlled very well to maintain strong muscles and bones.

Weight gain:

Vitamin D also plays an important role in regulating appetite and body weight, as it has been shown that high levels of vitamin D are associated with a reduction in body fat, while low levels are associated with obesity or being overweight.


Often times, many people who are constantly tired do not realize that they may have a nutritional deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults, causing fatigue due to the fragility of muscles and bones.

Digestive problems:

some studies prove that approximately 60% of patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease have low levels of vitamin D.


When the lack of vitamin D wears down the bones, in this case the skull, and weakens the muscles, it can cause an osteomalácic headache.
Mental problems: Low levels of vitamin D can contribute to cognitive decline, increasing the risk of developing diseases such as Alzheimer’s or other dementias.

How to get vitamin D?

As we have already discussed, the best way to get vitamin D is by exposing yourself to the UVB rays of the sun. However, around 50% of the world’s population does not get enough sun, so diet is essential when it comes to getting this vitamin.

The necessary daily intake of vitamin D is 15 micrograms or 600 International Units in all people except babies up to 12 months (they need 10 mcg or 400 IU) and those over 70 years (they need 20 mcg or 800 IU). We are going to review in which foods we can find it in greater proportion:

vitamin D
vitamin D

Fish such as herring, sardines, mackerel, or salmon

Although in Spain there is not as much tradition of consuming it as in other countries, fresh herring is one of the best sources of vitamin D, providing 22.5 mcg per 100 grams (900 IU). If we prefer to consume it pickled, it would provide us 17 mcg (680 IU).

Other alternatives are sardines: 7 mcg per 100 g (280 IU), mackerel, with 16 mcg per 100 g (640 IU), or salmon, with 8 mcg per 100 g (320 IU).

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