Vitamin D rich foods – instant sunshine

Reports that the Scots are deficient in Vitamin D have surfaced again. This time, there seems to be compelling evidence that lack of Vitamin D may explain the high instance of Multiple Sclerosis in Scotland, There are also reports that children have been diagnosed with rickets (in the 21st Century?). The Scots Government acknowledged this with advice dating back to November 2010.

We need to get enough sun between April and September to sustain us for the rest of the year. Hard to achieve.

Getting our fill of oily fish

Orkney Herring at Peter's Yard

Orkney Herring at Peter's Yard

Much as we probably know we should eat more, it probably isn’t everyone’s first thought, mmm a lovely dish of (fill in the name here of an oily fish). So what can we do to inspire ourselves to eat more of this vitamin that can lift the winter blues?

Perhaps we are becoming a little more open to vitamin rich fish. Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s crusade to get mackerel on the fish shop menu led to 14% increase in sales up to July 2011.

There’s a great enthusiasm for Scandinavian cooking led by Noma and on a more practical front by Signe Johansen and others. Do head to Peter’s Yard and try one of their wonderful open sandwiches. A recent favourite featured orkney herrings and egg – fresh and delicious.

A selection of herring from Ikea

A selection of herring from Ikea

If you’re visiting Ikea, pop into their shop for a really good range of Herrings in various sauces. Not for nothing do Scandinavian countries have lower instances of MS.

And for Vegetarians

Salmon Sushi at Kanpai

Salmon Sushi at Kanpai

But it isn’t just oily fish.  For vegetarians and the mushroom lovers amongst us, shiitake mushrooms contain very high levels of vitamin D – especially dried ones. And if you’re looking for a new hobby in 2012, you can even grow your own!

Recipe – Salmon with Avocado and Cucumber

Salmon with Avocado and Cucumber

Salmon with Avocado and Cucumber

For 4 people

200 gr smoked salmon
1 ripe avocado cut into slices about 0.5 cm in width, then into 2.5 cm lengths (but see method)
About 200 cm of cucumber – cut into batons about 2.5 cm long x 0.5 wide

For the Thai Dip

2 teaspoons (tsp) fish sauce (or soy sauce)
2 tsp mirin
2 tsp of vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
1/4 fresh chilli chopped really small or a small pinch of chilli powder
Walnut or olive oil 2 tablespoons
Juice of lime or lemon (reserve some for the avocado)
2 tsps Freshly chopped coriander (optional)

Toothpicks (optional)

For the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients together. Do taste as you go, you are aiming for a good balance between sweet and sour. You may find you want to add more or less of something.

Depending on how arty you feel and how much time you have, either cut the avocado into strips about 0.5 cm width then into batons about 3 cm long and do the same with the cucumber. As you cut the avocado, drizzle it with the lime or lemon juice. Cut long strips of the salmon, then place batons of the avocado and cucumber and roll. Aim for two per person. Secure with toothpicks. Cut the remainder of the salmon, avocado and cucumber into small dice.

To serve, place on plates and ask your guests to drizzle the sauce on.

Foods rich in Vitamin D

Finding a definitive list of naturally Vitamin D rich foods is not so easy as you hope, but here’s what I’ve found. Other foods, such as breakfast cereals are also fortified with the vitamin.

Natural foods high in Vitamin D

Oily fish (particularly herring, salmon)
Shiitake mushrooms
Egg yolk

Fortified products

Dairy products eg Petit Filous fromage frais, Dairylea cheese
Fruit juices eg Tropicana
Alpro, Provamel and So Good soya milks
Breakfast cereals – not all brands, Kelloggs have recently started to add Vitamin D.
British margarines and low fat spreads
Dried skimmed milk powder

A big thank you to @lunchquest for the photo from Peter’s Yard.

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About Bread Baker Danielle

Danielle founded Edinburgh Foody in 2010. Having qualified as a professional bread baker in France in 2014, she is now on a new adventure in Gloucestershire. Check out Look out for occasional posts for Edinburgh Foody


  1. Pingback: The perfect sauce for fish - recipe | Edinburgh Foody

  2. Thanks for this post. Sometimes you forget how important sunlight is to humans, especially with all the warning of excessive sunlight to our skin. To be honest in reading this I was a little bit worried for my husband – who definitely does not get his 10 – 15 minutes in the sun each day. Thankfully he at least eats Cornflakes with their added VitD, but I think in the new year it will be time for some more oily fish!

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