You already know that getting enough calcium is a big deal for having healthy bones and teeth. But what you may not realize is that in order to absorb calcium, you need vitamin D (that’s why you see milk fortified with vitamin D). The benefits of vitamin D go beyond your joints, though. It’s also essential for mental health (it’s called the sunshine vitamin, after all). As people get older, they’re at risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures. In fact, the National Institutes of Health recommends that adults ages 19-70 get 600 IU of vitamin D daily.
Unfortunately, it’s fairly common to suffer from a vitamin D deficiency because there aren’t many foods rich in it. And while the sun is the best source of vitamin D, it can be tough to get the right amount of UV rays without sunscreen. But eating foods that are natural sources of vitamin D, like fortified milk products and fatty fish, can help. Check out these recipes to ensure you get enough of this anxiety-fighting nutrient.
9 Delicious Recipes to Help You Get Your Vitamin D Daily
One mackerel fillet has all the vitamin D you need in a day. The traditional Japanese dish, known as Saba Shioyaki, is the best way to enjoy it. You’ll see Saba Shioyaki in bento boxes or served as a seafood entrée at Japanese restaurants. All you need is a little salt, sake, radish and soy sauce to flavor it up. The trick? Salt the fish and then let it rest in order to slightly dry it out and give it a denser texture. Photo and recipe: Namiko Chen / Just One Cookbook
Fatty fish, like salmon, are great sources of vitamin D, and we love how quickly salmon cooks for a speedy and sophisticated dinner. In this French-inspired recipe, the food bloggers season the salmon with garlic, thyme, rosemary, paprika and lemon. After seasoning them, wrap salmon fillets in parchment paper and let them roast in the oven up to 11 minutes. Thyme and honey lend a nice balance of herbs and sweetness to the potatoes. Photo and recipe: Alex and Sonja Overhiser / A Couple Cooks
Calling fro-yo healthy is always a bit of a stretch, but this is a dessert you can really feel good about. A little honey, jam and berries is all that’s used to sweeten this ice cream alternative. Be sure to use yogurt and coconut milk that are fortified with vitamin D. Photo and recipe: Erin Clarke / Well Plated
When exposed to the sun, mushrooms — much like humans — produce vitamin D. In fact, scientists have found that the amount of the nutrient you can get from mushrooms left for an hour in the sun is equivalent to a vitamin D supplement. Once you’ve sunned your mushrooms, prepare this delicious stir-fry recipe, which makes shrooms the star. Combine red pepper flakes, garlic, ginger, tamari, lime juice and sesame oil to make a mouthwatering marinade. Photo and recipe: Dana Shultz / Minimalist Baker
Downing a glass of milk for breakfast isn’t ideal. We get it — milk isn’t everyone’s fave. But overnight oats are an awesome way to sneak in a full serving of vitamin D-enriched dairy in the form of yogurt and milk or non-dairy milk. Wholefully has a great selection of eight recipes to try, including chocolate peanut butter or carrot cake. Photo and recipe: Cassie Johnston / Wholefully
Bring back the nostalgia of a crisp, refreshing Orange Julius on a hot day — without the guilt of that sugary sweet “smoothie.” This recipe swaps in real fruit and OJ for sweetness, and frozen bananas for creaminess. Orange juice and Greek yogurt are both available in vitamin D-fortified versions. Photo and recipe: Jessica Gavin
Before you turn up your nose at the thought of whole canned fish, try this bright and flavorful sardine toast. It’s rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene from the red peppers and carrots. Don’t miss Kath’s video with all the details on cooking with sardines. Photo and recipe: Kath / Kath Eats Real Food
Eggs are one of the few naturally occurring sources of vitamin D, so why not work them into your recipe rotation at breakfast, lunch and dinner? Cue our favorite evening egg dish: the frittata. Top some cheese, which adds a hit of vitamin D, and you’ve got yourself a D-rich dish that tastes more indulgent than it is. Once Upon a Chef’s version includes zucchini to amp up the vitamin C content, too. Photo and recipe: Jenn Segal / Once Upon a Chef
Egg sammies are an awesome way to swap out basic lunchmeat for a vitamin D-dense alternative. While Smitten Kitchen features five delicious egg sandwiches, we love the Shakshuka Pita — a twist on the traditional Middle Eastern dish. It’s also packed with vitamin C from the peppers and tomatoes, and basically tastes like an exotic vacation in a pita pocket. Photo and recipe: Deb Perelman / Smitten Kitchen