Fruits and vegetables, unfortunately, are not a good source of vitamin D. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, mushrooms are the only type of produce that naturally contains the nutrient. Orange juice can serve as a source, but only if it is a brand that has been fortified with vitamin D. For foods rich in vitamin D, choose fatty fish, such as mackerel or salmon, and vitamin-fortified products, such as breakfast cereal or milk.
Maitake mushrooms have a higher concentration of vitamin D per serving than any other type of mushroom. Each 1-cup serving of diced, raw maitake mushrooms contains 786 international units of vitamin D, which is more than 100 percent of the 600 IU daily intake recommended for healthy adult men and women. Maitake mushrooms -- sometimes nicknamed the king of mushrooms or the hen of the woods -- are harvested off of trees in North America and Japan. "Bon Appetit" magazine recommends grilling the mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
When raw mushrooms are exposed to ultraviolet light during processing, their vitamin D concentration increases significantly. A cup of grilled, unexposed portabellas contains only 17 IU, while grilled portabellas that had been exposed to UV light have 634 IU per cup, making them a better source of the nutrient than a 3-ounce serving of canned salmon. The large, flat caps of portabella mushrooms have a meat-like texture and flavor when they're cooked, making them a good low-fat red meat substitute in burgers, stir-fries, stews and pasta dishes. Portabella mushrooms are sturdy and can be roasted or broiled, as well as grilled.
Morel mushrooms contain 136 IU of vitamin D in each 1-cup serving. For adults, this supplies nearly 23 percent of a day's required intake. Morels are wild mushrooms available dried year-round and fresh during the early spring, though they should never be eaten uncooked because they may cause digestive problems. Avoid harvesting your own wild morel mushrooms unless you've been trained to recognize poisonous varieties. The Kitchn says that morel mushrooms are good additions to pasta, risotto or pan sauces. Try them sauteed with asparagus in olive oil.
Chanterelle mushrooms are bright yellow and grow wild in North America. Each cup of the mushrooms provides 114 IU of vitamin D, or 19 percent of the daily requirement for an adult. Chanterelles have a mild, fruity flavor that is a good choice for light soups, egg dishes or white sauces. Thee Mycological Society of San Francisco recommends sauteeing chanterelle mushrooms with lean roasted meats, such as veal, pork loin or chicken breasts. You can also bake the mushrooms in chicken broth and serve the mixture over cooked brown rice.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Nutrients - Vitamin D (IU)
- Linus Pauling Institute: Vitamin D
- The Kitchn: Ingredient Spotlight - Maitake Mushroom
- Bon Appetit: How to Grill Maitake Mushrooms, a.k.a. Hen of the Woods
- Recipetips.com: All About Mushrooms
- The Kitchn: Ingredient Spotlight - Morel Mushrooms
- Mycological Society of San Francisco: Chanterelle
- USDA Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center: Vitamin D in Mushrooms
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Basic Report - 11243, Mushrooms, Portabella, Grilled