” What food is rich in vitamin D?”. Parents often urge to know answer to this question. This is because vitamin D insufficiency is so rampant in kids these days.

Vitamin D not only facilitate growth of a child but also it is a food that boosts immunity. So no wonder why it is the talk of town. Let us know more about this vitamin through this post.  

What is vitamin D?

Vitamins are those nutrients required in small quantities to maintain proper health. Vitamins are of 2 types, namely water soluble and fat soluble vitamins. 


Consistency and texture of this vitamin is thick and oily. This makes it apparent that vitamin D belongs to the group of fat soluble vitamins.

Types of vitamin D

Below are 2 types of vitamin D

Egocalciferol – vitamin D 2 – Plant sources of vitamin D has vitamin D 2

Cholecalciferol- vitamin D 3 – Animal sources of vitamin D has vitamin D 3

Food rich in vitamin D

Vitamin D is fundamentally a vitamin ( a form of nutrient ). After ingestion it goes inside body and gets activated. Thereafter it acts like a hormone. 

Its cardinal function is to enhance absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Also it builds up immunity and prevents asthma. In addition there are several other secondary functions of vitamin D as well.

Deficiency of vitamin D leads to a wide array of illnesses. In severe cases it may cause crippling disease like rickets. Hereby every parent better know how to do little changes in diet of a kid so that s/he gets adequate vitamin D. 

1. Sunlight

Though it is not part of diet, still I have mentioned sunlight at the top. Considering that, sunlight is a remarkable natural source of vitamin D. Wherefore vitamin D is better known as sunshine vitamin

The best thing about sunlight is, it is accessible to everyone, irrespective of a person is rich or poor!

When sunlight ( UVB ) falls on skin of a person, it synthesises pre-vitamin D ( a vitamin D precursor in lay man’s term ). This is taken to liver and then kidney where functional vitamin D is formed.

Now a days because of urbanisation and indoor lifestyle, level of vitamin D has reduced noticeably. Thus urban kids tends to become insufficient in vitamin D.

How much sunlight does your kid need per day for vitamin D synthesis ?

Daily requirement of sunlight as recommended by FDA is 5-30 mins between 10 am to 4 pm. Nevertheless do not put your child in scorching hot sun. 

What hinders vitamin D production in skin?

  • Wearing full sleeve clothes while exposed to sun
  • Sunlight coming through glass 
  • Applying sunscreen has been a major factor reducing vitamin D synthesis. But again we need to balance it with risk of skin cancer.

Dark pigmented skinned person needs more sunlight exposure compared to lighter skinned person.

  • Smog and air pollution reduce skin vitamin D synthesis

2. Milk

Parents literally run after their kid with glass of milk hoping that s/he might have some. Many associate milk with growth of a child and they are in-fact right. Cow milk has necessary proteins, calcium and vitamin D which are vital for growth in a child. 

Cow milk should be introduced only after one year of age as recommended by CDC. It is because the protein and electrolyte in cow milk is heavy for an infant to digest and excrete. Besides cow milk subjects a child to the risk of gut bleeding at this age

Many artificial products are marketed as add on to milk. These are promoted as nutrient rich products. Whereas most of these are nothing but sugar rich empty calories. So always read the label and composition ahead of buying these products.

Breast milk

Now talking about beast milk, it has got tons of benefits. But one downside to it is, low vitamin D level. Hence WHO commends to give all breast fed infants vitamin D supplements of 400 IU daily. Formula fed babies are still in need of vitamin D supplements in lesser amount ( depending upon volume of milk consumed per day )


Point to be noted

Point here to be noted that breast milk is still the cheapest and best food for a baby. 

3. Fishes

Fatty fishes are abundant in vitamin D. Some examples are trout, salmon, sardine, tuna etc. Amplest source of vitamin D being Trout, followed by Salmon. In many parts of India above mentioned fishes are not that popular. Accordingly Stringing catfish ( Singhi fish ) is definitely a good alternative.

4. Cod liver oil

Cod liver oil is an oil extracted from liver of cod fish. A person can have it by taking fresh cod fish liver. Again it is also available as commercial preparations. Lately cod liver oil is popularised as it is a food with high omega 3 fatty acid level, which has its own health benefits.

What many people don’t know is that this oil is the leading source of vitamin D. One serving ( 1 table spoon ) of cod liver oil contain 1360 IU of vitamin D. Hence no other food come even close to it in terms of vitamin D. 

On top of that cod liver oil is also a great source of other fat soluble vitamins like vitamin A, vitamin E and vitamin K. 

5. Mushroom

Talking about vegetarian sources of vitamin D Mushroom comes in the first place. Mushroom is opulent in vitamin D. 


Mushroom synthesizes vitamin D as comes in contact with sunlight whilst growing. Thus now a days Mushrooms are purposefully exposed to sunlight to produce more vitamin D. 


6. Paneer and Cheese

Paneer is a type of cheese widely known as cottage cheese. Cheese including paneer is another vegetarian source of vitamin D. 

7. Fortified food

Now a days fortified cereals and fortified milk products like fortified Paneer, Cheese, Yoghurt, Milk etc available in market. Extra vitamin D is added up here for benefit.

8. Egg yolk

In another blog post ” Is egg good for health “ I have discussed how egg is a complete protein. It carries all essential amino acids. Not to forget that egg yolk ( yellow part of egg ) is a good source of vitamin D. 

Just keep in mind that there is high cholesterol in egg yolk, it can’t be taken in excess. 


A healthy child is all that parents aspire for. Good diet is directly proportional to good health. Thus the importance of correct knowledge of right food can never be ignored. 

Comment if you have anything to add to it. Share the article if you find it useful especially for parents. 


All the informations provided here are for educational and awareness purpose only. Kindly do not use these as alternative to medical consultation.

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