Vegetarians need vitamin D too: 11 Plant-based sources of the crucial nutrient
06/04/2019 // Zoey Sky // Views

The vegetarian lifestyle offers many health benefits to people of all ages. However, if you decide to become a vegetarian, you need to be more careful with your diet to avoid vitamin deficiencies. If you follow a plant-based diet, you can eat certain foods to boost your vitamin D intake to keep your bones strong.

Why is vitamin D important?

You need vitamin D to keep your bones healthy and strong. This fat-soluble vitamin also helps with the absorption of essential minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc.

Vitamin D can also offer the following benefits:

  • It helps manage depression. Vitamin D is crucial for mood regulation and preventing depression.
  • It fights disease. Aside from boosting bone strength, vitamin D may also lower your risk of catching the flu and developing heart disease and multiple sclerosis.
  • It promotes weight loss. Taking vitamin D supplements daily can boost weight loss since the extra calcium and vitamin D has an appetite-suppressing effect.

Sunlight is the main source of natural vitamin D. While sunshine isn't a direct source, ultraviolet B (UVB) rays trigger vitamin D synthesis as it penetrates your skin.

You can also boost their vitamin D levels by consuming healthy meats and fatty fish. If you're vegetarian, consume more of the beverages and foods listed below to increase your vitamin D intake.


Vegetarians can boost their intake of vitamin D by consuming organic butter.

Cod liver oil supplements

Cod liver oil is a supplement that's full of vitamins A and D and omega-3 fatty acids.


A 100 g serving of cod liver oil contains a whopping 1,667 percent DV (daily values) of vitamin D. On the other hand, 14 g of cod liver oil and 5 g of the supplement will provide 227 percent and 75 percent DV of vitamin D, respectively.


Organic eggs are another great source of vitamin D. One hard-boiled egg will give you 41 international units (IU) of vitamin D. Compared to chicken eggs, duck and goose eggs are healthier and more nutritious.

Fortified cereals

Fortified bran cereals offer 131 IU of vitamin D and cereals fortified with fruits provide 11 IU of the vitamin. To boost your vitamin D intake, consume cereals with at least 100 IU of the vitamin.


Whole milk contains vitamin D and other nutrients. Fortified milk, which is infused with fat-soluble vitamins A and D, should be a regular part of your diet.


Oatmeal is a filling food that's also fortified with vitamin D. In addition to being rich in fiber, oatmeal can provide at least 25 percent DV of vitamin D.

Fortified orange juice

Citrus fruits like oranges are full of vitamins A and C. But if you want to enjoy a glass of orange juice and boost your vitamin D intake at the same time, consume fortified juices.

One cup of organic fortified orange juice will give you at least 100 IU of vitamin D. When buying packaged orange juice, always check the label for preservatives, sugar content, and other additives.

Ricotta cheese

Ricotta cheese is the only byproduct of milk that has five times more vitamin D than other kinds of cheese. It is the best source of vitamin D for vegetarians. One serving of ricotta cheese will provide you with 25 IU of vitamin D.

Shiitake mushrooms

Shiitake mushrooms are full of iron, vitamin B complex, and vitamin D. Shiitake mushrooms can give you about three percent DV of vitamin D. (Related: For your plant-based diet to be nutritionally complete, you have to avoid deficiency of vitamins and minerals usually gained from animal products.)

Soy products

Tofu is made from soy milk and it is a staple of the vegetarian diet. It is a nutritious food that's also a great source of vitamin D.

A 79 g serving of tofu offers 581 IU of vitamin D. A cup of plain soy milk and soy yogurt provide 338 IU and 161 IU of vitamin D, respectively.

White mushrooms

White mushrooms, which are also called button mushrooms, are another good source of vitamin D. One cup of stir-fried white mushrooms will provide about 22.7 IU of vitamin D, which is about six percent DV.

Recommended vitamin D dosage

Children younger than one year of age require about 400 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily and children or teenagers aged one to 18 years need at least 600 to 1,000 IU of vitamin D. People 18 years and older need around 1,500 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

Pregnant or lactating women who are 18 or older need to take at least 1,500 to 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily.

If you're a vegetarian, rest assured that you can keep your bones strong by consuming more organic soy products to boost your vitamin D intake.

Sources include:

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