By Amy Inman-Felton RDN

Health and Wellness Contributing Editor

3 Minute Read


Numerous health conditions are associated with low levels of vitamin D. Stores can lower during the winter months due to less exposer to sunlight potentially making you more susceptible to seasonally induced respiratory viruses and the flu – the latest proven benefit of vitamin D.1,2

Getting sick is a definite holiday fun buster and something I’m sure you want to avoid.

Studies show consuming at least 2000 IU exposed can help prevent colds and flu and maintain body stores.3 This amount is over double the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for adults (800 to 1,000 IU). Upping intake of vitamin D rich food sources from dairy, fortified nut milk (like unsweetened almond and coconut milk) milk-based soups, cheeses, fatty fish like salmon, and egg yolks can help improve your immunity.

Get acquainted with your vitamin D levels every year.

Ideally, your blood levels should fall between 50 to 80 ng/mL. Studies have shown a significant number of us aren’t getting enough.

Upping dietary intake can be challenging. One tablespoon cod liver oil provides one of the highest nutritional sources providing a whopping 1,360 IU vitamin D compared to 1 cup of milk or fortified nut milk providing on average 100 to 115 IU/cup. Adding dry non-fat milk powder to milk, beverages, smoothies, and soups can add additional 300 IU of vitamin D.

If cod liver oil is not your thing or drinking 3 to 4 cups of milk daily, consider a vitamin D supplement providing 1,000 to 2,000 IU/day. Make sure you take the active form (vitamin D3- as cholecalciferol) and consume with vitamin D foods to up the absorption.

On sunny days get out and walk- soak in those rays naturally. Just 15 minutes of sun exposure is all you need!

Vitamin D Content of Foods

FoodServingAverage IU/Serving
Orange Juice (fortified)1/2 cup50
Yogurt3/4 cup58 to 71
Egg yolk2 yolks57 to 58
Fortified nut milk1 cup90 to 100 (varies by brand)
Milk (1%, 2%, whole fat)1 cup103 to 105
Atlantic Salmon2 1/2 oz206 to 245
Milk powder1/4 cup300 (varies by brand)
Mackerel2 1/2 oz343
Salmon (sockeye/red)2 1/2 oz394 to 636
Cod Liver oil1 Tbsp1,360

Do you find it harder during the colder months to get outside, or do you have a strategy for spending time in the sunlight? Comment below and thanks for visiting Elizabeth by the Sea.