Vitamin Sources Found in Foods
It’s important to choose a diet full of nutrient-rich foods. Foods that are nutrient-dense or rich provide the vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. The best choices are foods that have lots mineral and vitamins with fewer calories. Getting enough micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) helps reduce the risk of many chronic conditions. The key to getting enough nutrients is to eat a wide variety of foods. Fruits and vegetables are naturally nutrient-dense foods. Other foods with high nutrient content include whole grains, dairy, nuts, seeds, and legumes. It’s important to consume a highly nutritious diet to supply your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs. Supplements are a great way to fill any gaps in your diet.
Two Types of Vitamins
Our bodies need vitamins and minerals. They not only keep the body healthy and functional, but they also help protect from a wide variety of diseases. Vitamins and minerals are quite different, but they are usually considered together. Vitamins are organic substances produced by animals or plants. Medical professionals label them as “essential” since they are not synthesized in the body and must come from food sources. Minerals are inorganic and originate from soil, water, or rocks. They can be absorbed indirectly from the environment, or from an animal that has eaten certain plants.
Vitamins are categorized as either water soluble or fat soluble. The body absorbs water soluble vitamins, and expels what is not absorbed. However, leftover amounts of fat soluble vitamins are stored in the body in fat tissue or the liver. Fat-soluble vitamins that the body can save in reserve are: vitamins A, D, E, and K. Water-soluble vitamins that are not stored include the eight B vitamins and vitamin C. Likewise, minerals are divided into two groups: major and trace. The body requires less trace minerals, compared to major minerals.
Best Vitamin Sources
The FDA recommends a specific amount of each vitamin and key minerals that need to be consumed daily. Following all the numbers can be a bit confusing and overwhelming. Perhaps the best approach to getting enough vitamins is consuming a healthy diet made up of a wide variety of food selections. The good news is that many of the most common foods are sources for numerous vitamins and minerals. That makes it a little easier to meet the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of key nutrients. Emphasize consuming fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes, whole grains, dairy products, and lean proteins.
Most Likely Vitamin Deficiencies
The USDA published guidelines for what types of foods should be eaten to get sufficient nutrient intake. There are still many micronutrients adults often do not consume enough of, leaving them with deficiencies. The most common deficiencies include:
- Vitamins A, C, and E
Best Food Sources for Vitamins
So, what’s the bottom line? How much do you need of each vitamin and what foods do you need to eat to get them? Take a look at what you need to eat to get all the vitamins you need.
Water-Soluble Vitamin Sources
- Vitamin B-1: Thiamine or vitamin B-1 helps the body process carbohydrates and some types of protein. You need a little over one milligram per day. It is found in whole grains like rice, but it is also in fortified foods like bread and cereal.
- Vitamin B-2: Women need 1.1 milligrams of B-2 (or riboflavin) a day, men need 1.2 milligrams. It is useful for converting food into energy and it helps the body create red blood cells. Vitamin B2 is found in milk, bread products, and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin B-3: Niacin, or B-3 aids the body with digestion and helps it make cholesterol. Men need 16 mg a day and women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding need 14 mg daily. Vitamin sources include meat, fish, poultry, whole grain breads, enriched breads, and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin B-5: Pantothenic acid or vitamin B-5 is useful for turning protein, fat, and carbs into useable energy. Adults need about 5 milligrams daily. Potatoes, oats, tomatoes, chicken, beef, and cereals are good food sources of B-5.
- Vitamin B-6: B-6 helps the body’s metabolism, boosts the immune system, and is essential for a baby’s brain development. Adults needs 1.3 mg each day. However, pregnant or breastfeeding women need 1.9 milligrams per day. You’ll find B-6 naturally in chickpeas, potatoes, organ meats, and fortified products including cereals and soy products.
- Vitamin B-7: B-7 or biotin helps the body make the things your cells need to survive such as fats and proteins. Adults need 30 micrograms each day. Food sources of vitamin B-7 include liver, meats, and fruits.
- Vitamin B-9: Folate or B-9 helps fight DNA mutations that can lead to some types of cancer. Folic acid and folate are essential for healthy red blood cell formation, growth, and function. The body needs to consume about 400 micrograms each day. B-9 is in foods like asparagus, broccoli, leafy greens, beets, lentils, peanuts, oranges, and fortified grains.
- Vitamin B-12: Vitamin B-12 helps the body make red blood cells. Adults need to consume 2.4 micrograms each day. Food sources include dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is essential for helping protect the body from cell damage, it supports the immune system, and helps the body make collagen. Men need 90 milligrams a day and women need 75 milligrams. Foods high in vitamin C include red and green peppers, oranges, other citrus fruits, kiwis, tomatoes, broccoli, and strawberries.
Fat-Soluble Vitamin Sources
- Vitamin A: A woman needs 700 micrograms and a man needs 900 micrograms of vitamin A per day. It’s essential for good vision, immune support, and reproduction. Vitamin A is found in sweet potatoes, spinach, carrots, and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin D: You need 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day. Your best source for this vitamin is exposure to the sun. But it is rare that you will spend enough time out in the sun especially in colder climates or the winter months. It’s necessary for strong bones, muscles, boosting immunity, and it helps with brain-to-body communications. Food sources include fatty fish, fish liver oils, and fortified products like milk and cereals.
- Vitamin E: You need about 22.5 IU of vitamin E daily. It helps protect cells from damage. You’ll find it in sunflower seeds, peanut butter, vegetable oils, and fortified cereals.
- Vitamin K: Vitamin K is essential for bone health and helping with blood clotting. Men need 120 micrograms a day and women need just 90 micrograms daily. Food sources for vitamin K include leafy green vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, and collards.
Having trouble covering all of your bases? Should you take supplemental vitamins?
Most adults do not consume enough of a variety from the basic food groups to get all the micro/macro-nutrients they need. You are more likely to be deficient in one or more areas if you avoid whole food groups like grains or dairy products due to preference or sensitivities. Envura supplements can help you balance the body out by providing you with those vitamins and minerals that are often missed in the average diet. Our vitamin packs contain a multivitamin (vitamins a-k), magnesium, omega-3s, and a phytonutrient capsule (anti-oxidants). Click below to check us out!