Part 1: Vitamins - Learn What Foods Give You the Best Source
It’s common to hear that you should eat oranges if you need more vitamin C in your diet or have a banana if you want to get some potassium. What you may not realize is that there are other food sources with a much higher vitamin or mineral content you may be missing out on. Here we take a look at the top foods you should be eating to get the most bang for your buck to incorporate those essential vitamins and minerals into your daily diet. We’ve broken it down into two parts: vitamins and minerals. Let’s start with vitamins and be on the lookout for more on minerals later! In order to provide you with the ultimate best food choices, to make our list the food sources had to provide at least 50% of the dietary reference intake (per the USDA) in one serving. Take a look!
Why you need it—in general the vitamin B family helps in converting carbs into energy as well as metabolizing fats and protein. B1, or Thiamine, can help ensure proper heart and nervous system function in addition to muscle coordination. Where you can get it—fortified for thiamine breakfast cereals, white rice.
Why you need it—also known as Riboflavin, it promotes growth—think healthy skin, hair and nails! Where you can get it—beef liver, fortified for riboflavin breakfast cereals, oats.
Why you need it—Niacin aids the body in producing sex and stress-related hormones, improves circulation, and can suppress inflammation. Where you can get it—tuna, chicken, turkey, salmon, lamb.
Why you need it—known as pantothenic acid, it helps in the production of red blood cells as well as maintaining a healthy digestive tract. Where you can get it—shiitake mushrooms (psst…if you don’t like mushrooms, you can get a pretty good helping of B5 in avocados and sweet potatoes too!).
Why you need it—also known as pyridoxine, it plays a role in cognitive development, immune function, and hemoglobin formation. Where you can get it—chickpeas and tuna.
Why you need it—cobalamin can be difficult for some people to maintain in their diet particularly if they do not regularly consume meat or fish, but it is essential in promoting nervous system health, cardiovascular support, and DNA production. Where you can get it—sardines, salmon, tuna, cod, lamb, scallops, shrimp, beef, clams (if these are not a part of your diet, look to other sources like yogurt or fortified breakfast cereals).
Why you need it—folic acid, or vitamin B9 helps in proper brain function and mental as well as emotional health. Where you can get it—beans, beans, and more beans! As well as lentils, asparagus, and spinach.
Why you need it—retinol is majorly known to help vision, in addition to healthy development of an embryo and fetus. Where you can get it—sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard/beet/turnip greens, beef liver, cantaloupe, and pumpkin.
Why you need it—absorbic acid is important for the growth and repair of bodily tissues, as well as bones and teeth, as well as promoting iron absorption. Where you can get it—yes, oranges still provide almost 100% DRI, but you can get even more vitamin C from papayas, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, and even pineapple!
Why you need it—aids in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus (we’ll get to those later). Where you can get it—sunshine! (Okay, that may not be something you can eat, but we still love it), as well as salmon and swordfish. Not a fan? Try fortified vitamin D orange juice or milk.
Why you need it—it is most known for protection in free radical damage in addition to promoting cardiovascular health. Where you can get it—sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ oil.
Why you need it—biotin is especially good for promoting cell growth and as a result is often seen in beauty products for hair, nails and skin. Where you can get it—eggs, brewer’s yeast, peanuts, and almonds.
Why you need it—we call it vitamin K for a reason, as the K comes from the German word koagulation for blood clotting. That is because vitamin K is most known for helping our blood to clot (yes, blood clots can be good sometimes—they are necessary to stop the bleeding when our skin gets punctured!). Where you can get it—think greens! That’s probably the easiest way to remember how to get your vitamin K, so fill up on kale, spinach, mustard/collard/beet/turnip greens, Swiss chard, parsley, broccoli, and Brussel sprouts.
- Kate Hurd