It is not uncommon for well-meaning friends, or even a physician to tell you to get more of a certain vitamin in your diet. For example, during cold season you might hear people say to eat more Vitamin C. But why do you need these vitamins, and what are the best foods for getting them?
Let’s first look at why: When we eat foods, we get energy from those foods. Vitamins and minerals are not what provide that energy, but they are crucial for turning food into energy. In addition, they are key for things like ctivating nerve function and muscle contraction, fighting off illness, and protecting cells against damage.
Each vitamin plays a specific role, which is why you might be told you need more of a specific one. Let’s take a look at what foods are best for getting the vitamins your body needs. LifeHack made a nice infographic, and we added to that information below:
Vitamin A helps to improve eyesight, fight off infection, reduce the ris of certain cancers, supports the growth and remodeling of bones, and aids in the differentiation of cells. In other words it is pretty important.
The best food sources for Vitamin A are liver and fish oils, leafy green vegetables, andorange and yellow vegetables. In other words, a spinach salad topped with tomatoes, red peppers, and carrots, is always a good idea!
Vitamin B6 helps the body to metabolize fats and proteins, and gives us healthier hair, skin, liver and eyes.
The best food source is red meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans whole grains, seeds and oysters
Vitamin B12 helps make red blood cells which carry oxygren through the body. Very important for proper body function.
The best food sources include seafood, meats, milk and cheese, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals
It helps produce collagen, protects against bruising, aids in the absorption of iron and folate, and can help keep you healthy.
The best food sources for Vitamin C are citrus fruits. But you can also find it in strawberries, sweet peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and potatoes.
Calcium is needed for bone health.
It is commonly believed the best source is dairy products, and fortified foods. But it is also found in many green vegetables.
The body needs it to absorb calcium and promote bone health. The best way to get it is by sepnding time in the son.
The best food sources are fortified milk and cereals, cod-liver oil, seafood and eggs.
Vitamin E is for immune health, skin health, and healthy eyes. It is a great antioxidant.
The best sources include: nuts, seeds, vegetable oils, fortified cereals, and leafy greens.
Folate is great for protecting against cell damage and free-radicals, and supports immune function and protection from infection.
The best sources include enriched grains, dark leafy greens, whole-grain breads and cereals and citrus fruits.
Iron helps blood cells cary oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
The best food source for iron is red meats, fish, and poultry, lentils and beans, tofu, spinach, and other plants.
It helps with many chemical reactions in the body, maintaining energy levels, and the ability to relax.
The best food sources are green leafy vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, banana, low fat milk and yogurt.
Niacin can help with improving cholesterol, lowering cardiovascular risk, and more.
The best sources for Niacin from foods are meat, fish, poultry, nuts, particularly peanuts, and enriched grain products.
Potassium: Potassium helps in a lot of ways, from stimulating nerves and muscles, to helping bones retain calcium.
The best known food source for Potassium is bananas, but you can also find it in broccoli, peas, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, citrus fruits, cantaloupe, kiwi, prunes, apricots, milk and yogurt, nuts, and legumes.
Riboflavin helps convert carbs, fats, and proteins into energy.
The best food sources for Riboflavin are nuts, milk, wheat germ, and fortified breads and cereals.
Sodium helps with nerve function.
While you can get plenty of salt in processed foods, the healthiest ways to get sodium are milk, celery, and beets.
This helps our bodies use carbs as an energy source. The best source is whole and enriched grains and fortified cereals.
Zinc helps kids to grow and adults to stay healthy.
The best sources are: oysters, crab, lobster, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and fortified breakfast cereals, and dairy products.