We know you know how important it is to get your vitamin D. This essential vitamin ticks off many boxes when it comes to benefits. Working side by side with calcium, it’s best known for helping to build strong bones and healthy teeth. Some research has indicated it may be beneficial for improving mood and supporting immune health, while still other studies have found associations between Vitamin D deficiency levels with some cancers, heart disease, poor sleep quality and hair loss.
We also know that you know that eating vegetables is key to a healthy diet. The smart folks at Harvard tell us that a diet rich in vegetables (and fruits) can do all sorts of good things: help prevent some types of cancer and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, help you avoid problems with your eyes and digestion, and potentially even lower blood pressure.
Government recommendations suggest adult women get at least 2 to 3 cups/per day of vegetables, a cup or so more than that for men.
Therefore, it’s common sense for you to be googling things such as: does spinach have vitamin D and do tomatoes have vitamin D.
So, we’re going to answer a bunch of those questions here. To save you some time, while there are some foods (like salmon!) that are rich in vitamin D, your veggies, for the most part, just won’t cut it. Read on.
15 Vegetables: Which Ones Contain Vitamin D?
Are mushrooms high in vitamin D?
Mushrooms are the number one vegetable source for vitamin D. In fact, discounting fortified plant foods (like soy milk), mushrooms are really the only way to get your vitamin D from plants.
While pretty much all mushrooms contain some vitamin D, it’s the ones that are exposed to UV-rays from sunlight or UVC light that have the richest amount. You see, mushrooms have something in common with people. Just as the UV rays from sunlight react with your skin, causing your body to produce its own vitamin D, mushrooms convert their ergosterol into vitamin D when exposed to UV light.
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It is possible you could get your recommended daily amount of vitamin D from mushrooms, but there are two caveats: 1) if you’re buying your mushrooms in the supermarket, you likely won’t know if they’ve been grown under conditions that would allow them to have produced vitamin D; and 2) our bodies manufacture vitamin D3, while mushrooms produce the plant-based form, D2, and some experts believe D3 is more effective in improving vitamin D status.
Does spinach have vitamin D?
There’s no vitamin D in raw spinach. But you will find lots of fiber! And spinach is rich in other nutrients like iron, folate and potassium, as well as vitamins A, C, and K. If you really want to get some vitamin D along with spinach, eat quiche or a spinach souffle. (It’s the eggs, actually the yolks, that add the D. And the milk—if you’re using one that is fortified.)
Does kale have vitamin D?
Not so much. In fact, not at all. But kale is a good source of vitamin K and plant-based calcium, both of which work well with vitamin D—and vice versa.
Do carrots have vitamin D?
They do not. But they are rich in vitamin A, especially beta-carotene, which is what gives the orange ones their color.
How much vitamin D in broccoli?
Trick question. There is no vitamin D in broccoli. But one cup contains as much vitamin C as an orange. Plus, broccoli has calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorous, zinc, vitamins A, B, E and K. It’s no wonder some consider it the superstar of vegetables.
Does cauliflower have vitamin D?
Cauliflower and broccoli are relatives, sharing the same species, family and genus. They’re both also familial with cabbage and Brussel sprouts. And just like broccoli, none of them, including cauliflower, have any vitamin D. But despite the deficiency of vitamin D, cauliflower is an extremely healthy veggie, with many of the same nutrients as broccoli. With its antioxidants and phytonutrients, this cruciferous vegetable may help reduce the risk of cancer.
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Not sure which to eat between the cauliflower and broccoli? The good news is that they complement each other, although some people prefer the sweeter taste of cauliflower to the slight bitterness of broccoli. A word to the wise: too much of either may fill you with gas, especially if you’re chowing them down raw.
Do beans have vitamin D?
Despite the fact that there are hundreds of different types of beans, none of them appear to have any vitamin D. But beans are a healthy choice because they are high in fiber and plant protein, especially for vegetarians who aren’t getting protein from traditional sources like beef, poultry or seafood. Beans are also generally low in fat, but they have a high carb content. And yes, beans are really good for your heart.
Do tomatoes have vitamin D?
If you want to fight with your family at the Thanksgiving table, but want to avoid the scorched earth political debate, toss out this question: is the tomato a vegetable or fruit? For the purposes of this blog, it doesn’t really matter, because whichever category you put it in, it doesn’t contain vitamin D.
Be aware that tomatoes are filled with powerful antioxidants like beta-carotene (vitamin A), vitamins C and E, and lycopene, the latter, especially, thought to help reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Do sweet potatoes have vitamin D?
According to this article in WebMD, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin D, but that’s just wishful thinking or baking them and adding butter (yes, butter has vitamin D—but you know butter is not a vegetable, right?). Sweet potatoes contain a whole host of nutrients, including fiber, manganese, vitamin A (beta-carotene), potassium, copper and more. Because sweet potatoes are slightly lower on the glycemic index and have more fiber than white potatoes, they’re seen as a healthier option.
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Do potatoes have vitamin D?
Potatoes, other than sweet potatoes (and especially the white ones) often get a bad rap, mainly because of their high starch content and high position on the glycemic index. While they are a good source of fiber, a nutrient that’s helpful in helping prevent heart disease, as well as other vitamins, they are not the healthiest of vegetable choices. And no, they do not have vitamin D.
Does garlic have vitamin D?
It does not. But garlic may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reduce inflammation, and support your immune system.
Does celery have vitamin D?
It’s one of the healthiest between-meal snacks (as long as you’re not over-dipping in blue cheese dressing) and on top of that it’s rich in vitamins (A, K and C) and minerals like folate and potassium. It’s also has high fiber content, a low sodium profile and can help you avoid spikes in your blood sugar level.
Do peas have vitamin D?
Would it surprise you if we said no? However, they are a good source of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, as well as zinc. Did you know peas are in the bean family?
Do soybeans contain vitamin D?
There’s a reason why you might think they do. It’s because soy milk (which is made by soaking dry soybeans and grinding them with water), is a plant alternative to cow’s milk, and both milks are often fortified with vitamin D. Soybeans, themselves, however, do not contain vitamin D, but are packed with protein and a variety of vitamins, minerals and plant compounds, including isoflavones.
Does lettuce have vitamin D?
Not a lick. So, let us move on.
4 ways to get vitamin D
The fact is you really can’t rely on vegetables for your vitamin D. So, what can you rely on?
- The sun. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, the ultraviolet rays cause your body to produce vitamin D. On the other hand, too much time in the direct sunlight may lead to skin cancer.
- Food/Fortified Food. While there are some foods—like fatty fish (salmon is a great choice), egg yolks, beef liver and fortified milk or orange juice—that are good sources for vitamin D, unless they’re regularly in your diet in sufficient quantities, you’re probably still not getting enough of this important nutrient.
- Dietary supplements. This is a fine option. Be mindful to follow label directions and buy from a reputable source.
- Prescription medication. If you are especially low in vitamin D, your doctor may recommend a high dose and will likely follow up with regular blood tests to see how your vitamin D blood levels are impacted.