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The #1 Best Food to Eat for Vitamin D, Says Dietitian

Because sometimes sitting in the sun isn't enough.

There are many health benefits associated with Vitamin D. Not only is it an essential nutrient needed to keep your bones, teeth, and muscles strong and healthy, but it's also linked to immune support—which is particularly important during flu season.

One of the most common ways to get this crucial vitamin for our bodies is by sitting in the sun. According to Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, member of our medical expert board and author of The Sports Nutrition Playbook, spending 15 to 20 minutes in the sun, with a good amount of your skin exposed, is the best way to activate vitamin D. Especially during the strongest sun hours of the day, which are typically 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

However, remembering to consistently get the proper amount of sun for healthy Vitamin D production can often be forgotten. According to the Dietary Reference Intake, the average adult should get between 600 to 800 international units (IU) of vitamin D on a daily basis, depending on your age.

"Because most Americans don't get enough sunshine on a regular basis, a large portion of the population is deficient in or has insufficient levels of vitamin D," says Goodson. If you're wondering if this could be you, check out Sure Signs You're Lacking in Vitamin D, Say Experts.

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Thus, many experts, like Goodson, recommend getting vitamin D from food instead. Even though there are many foods that can provide you with Vitamin D—we wanted to know which food was the best of them all when it comes to getting the right amount of this essential vitamin in our bodies. And it turns out salmon is the best food to eat for Vitamin D levels in the body.


"A 3.5 ounce (100 gram) piece of Atlantic salmon provides 526 international units (IU) of vitamin D, [which is] 66% of the daily value," says Goodson. "It is important to note that wild salmon typically has a higher vitamin D amount than farmed salmon, but both do provide it."

It's important to note, with salmon you're not just looking at Vitamin D when it comes to health benefits, you also get a solid dose of omega-3 fatty acids, high-quality protein as well as other nutrients, Goodson highlights.

So, when choosing a fillet, it's a good idea to go for the wild salmon as opposed to the farmed salmon if you're looking for the most Vitamin D nutrients. And if you want to start incorporating more salmon into your diet, but you're not exactly sure where to start, here are our 21+ Best Healthy Salmon Recipes for Weight Loss to get you started.

For even more healthy tips, read these next:

Rachel Linder
Rachel is an Associate Editor responsible for compiling the daily Eat This, Not That! newsletter, making TikTok and YouTube videos for the brand, writing articles for the site, creating original graphics and providing direct assistance to the editors when needed. Read more about Rachel