You might associate vitamin D with exposure to sunshine, but that doesn't mean you can't find other ways to get that nutrient into your system during those especially gray, dark winter months. There are plenty of foods with vitamin D out there — many of which are probably already in your refrigerator — that will help you stay healthy and satisfied until summer comes around again.
Of course, vitamin D isn't just a great reason to go lay out in the sun; it's an incredibly important nutrient in your body that, according to Healthline, works to fight disease, reduce your likelihood of getting the flu, reduce your risk of depression, boost a healthy weight for your body, and more.
When you don't get enough vitamin D in your body, Healthline reports, it can lead to things like muscle aches and pains, weaker bones, and even stress fractures — not to mention an awful mood, since there's a chance the vitamin deficiency has something to do with you being cooped up inside for long periods of time.
Learning how to absorb vitamin D in multiple ways is a great way to ensure that you always have a high concentration in your system, regardless of the season. Here are nine types of food that are filled with vitamin D to keep you healthy and happy, even in the darkest winter months.
1. Egg Yolks To Start The Day
There are 41 international units (IU) of vitamin D per egg. Ideally, according to Prevention, you should be consuming around 600 or more IU of the vitamin a day for the ideal amount. Eating a breakfast of scrambled eggs is the perfect way to start your day off right.
2. A Plate Of Salmon Packs Nearly A Whole Day's Worth Of Vitamin D
Just three ounces of salmon has 400 IU of vitamin D, which is almost the entire recommended daily amount.
Grilling salmon for dinner (or lunch) is an excellent way to keep up your vitamin D levels without really having to think too much about it every week.
3. Beef Is Another Great, Go-To Protein
Three ounces of beef contain 42 IUs of vitamin D. While that number is pretty low compared to the 400 IUs found in salmon, it's definitely better than nothing.
Eating about nine ounces of lean beef as your protein option for the night is a great — not to mention super tasty — way to get a quick, hearty dose of that coveted sunshine vitamin.
4. Top Your Beef With Mushrooms For Even More Vitamin D
A cup of shiitake mushrooms contains 40 IU of vitamin D, so an awesome way to boost your daily intake is to sauté some of those bad boys, and drizzle them over your steak as a topping for the most vitamin D-friendly meal you could possibly enjoy.
5. Milk Is A Must For Getting Your Fill Of Vitamin D
Almost every type of cow's milk will come with a ton of vitamin D in the United States, which is why it's a great supplement in the middle of a week-long snowstorm when the sun hides away in the clouds for days on end.
According to Health.com, an eight-ounce glass of milk will fetch you around 100 IUs of vitamin D, but keep in mind, ice cream and cheese tend not to have the nutrient, so don't make the mistake of thinking any dairy will do here!
6. And Yes, Some Soy Or Almond Milks Have The Vitamin, Too
Although non-dairy milk doesn't naturally contain vitamin D, plenty of soy and almond milks are fortified with vitamin D, so that you can still get the nutrients you're looking for while opting for a non-dairy alternative.
Fortified almond milk contains 100 IU of vitamin D in a single eight-ounce glass, so feel free to pour that over your morning cereal if you're not about cow's milk.
7. A Tall Glass Of Refreshing Orange Juice Will Do The Job
Depending on the brand, an eight-ounce glass of orange juice can provide as much as 100 IUs of vitamin D. But it has to be fortified — meaning the nutrients have to been added into the beverage — so make sure you check the label of your OJ before you rely on it for your vitamin D needs.
8. Oysters Are Packed With Vitamin D, If You Have A Taste For Seafood
If you're into seafood, oysters are an amazing vitamin D-rich food, and a totally excellent excuse for happy hour, if you ask me. According to Healthline, a single three-and-a-half-ounce serving of oysters will provide a whopping 320 IUs of vitamin D, which is more than half of your suggested daily intake. There will never be a greater reason to order the appetizer than this.
9. Some Cereals Actually Have The Vitamin, Too
Plenty of breakfast cereals out there have some vitamin D in them, ensuring you get as much nutrition as possible from a bowl each morning. A cup of Multi Grain Cheerios with a half-cup of whole milk, for example, will get you 90 IUs of vitamin D, Health.com reports.