The 7 Foods Packed with Vitamin D You Need for a Healthy Immune System

salmon

Health experts say vitamin D is important to support a healthy immune system and there are 7 foods you can eat to ensure you are getting proper amounts of the nutrient.

In addition to getting a safe amount of direct daily sunlight or taking a supplement, Real Simple shares the foods -- all of which can be prepared in a healthy way -- you should consider adding to your diet. The Institute of Medicine says adults need 600 to 800 international units of iron each day and these foods can help you reach that goal.

Salmon: The popular and healthy fish provides around a third of someone's needed daily vitamin D, along with those important omega-3 fatty acids. Real Simple suggests buying Chilean farmed salmon, which should not contain mercury or antibiotics. (Check out this recipe for salmon with mango salsa!)

Mushrooms: Due to their exposure to sunlight, mushrooms can be a great source of vitamin D, plus they are packed with potassium, B vitamins, and antioxidants. An easy way to eat more mushrooms is to swap out a portion of the meat in dishes like tacos, burgers, and sauces for mushrooms, which will also help you reduce the calories and fat in your meals. (Try this stuffed Mexican portobello mushroom recipe!)

Egg yolks: Eggs are one of the only foods that naturally contain vitamin D, and Real Simple suggests skipping that egg white breakfast dish and include the yolks in your egg dishes. Plus, eggs contain selenium, which may also support your immune system. (We love starting the day with a healthy egg-kale breakfast bake.)

Fortified juice: Juices that are fortified are an easy way to get your vitamin D and a single serving of fortified orange juice can give you 15 percent of your daily vitamin D dose, plus 100 percent of your vitamin C needs.

Milk: Like juice, milk is often fortified with vitamin D and is an easy way to get the essential nutrient. Most milk, including whole down to skim, will contain vitamin D. 

Beef: Another natural source of vitamin D is beef, along with the nutrient zinc, which is said to also support our immune system. Moderation is important when considering how much red meat to eat.

Oysters: Seafood lovers will be happy to hear that oysters contain vitamin D, along with healthy fats and vitamin B12.

Get even more healthy meal ideas and recipes from The Doctors, here!

More: How to Support Your Child’s Immune System as They Return to School Unvaccinated

More: Does Cold-Water Immersion Boost Your Immune System?

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