Vitamins & Minerals: What They Are & Where To Find Them

Vitamins & Minerals: What They Are & Where To Find Them

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, you’re probably looking for the bottom line: What are they & where do I find them?

Vitamins and minerals are essential to life—and I mean essential. Without them, we couldn’t think or breathe, much less digest food or walk the dog. Chances are you’re not getting enough of the good stuff and figuring out what you need is tricky business.

The best way to get enough vitamins is to eat a balanced diet with a variety of foods. You can usually get most of your vitamins from the foods you eat. Unfortunately, the concentration of vitamins and minerals in the soil is not the same as it was in the days of our grandparents. Ultimately, we’re just not getting enough of the good stuff. Eating healthy should always come first, but getting an additional boost is never a bad idea, if it’s in the right form.

The best way to go about this is to pack your plate with a variety of colorful foods and boost with a high quality multi-vitamin once a day. Despite popular belief, all supplements are not created equal. Check the labels on your multi and make sure you are getting whole food complexes rather than synthetic nutrients. (Did you know that many synthetic B vitamins are made from coal-tar? Gross!)

Look for a multi-vitamin that states organic whole food complexes, digestive enzymes, probiotics, Omega-3, and fermented soy. My recommended multi I have found is Every Woman’s One Daily by New Chapter (they also make Men’s multis.)

Essential Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamin A 

  • What It Does: Vitamin A is necessary for normal vision, immune function, and reproduction
  • Where to Find It: Carrots, Broccoli, and Spinach

Vitamin B-12

  • What It Does: Important in the production of red blood cells and essential for converting food into energy
  • Where To Find It: Milk, Cheese, Fish, Poultry, Meat, Eggs, Fortified Cereals and Yeast

Vitamin B-6

  • What It Does: Important for the nervous system; helps the body metabolize proteins and sugar
  • Where To Find It: Potatoes, Bananas, Beans, Fortified Cereals, Fortified Soy, Organ Meats

Vitamin C

  • What It Does: Antioxidant that protects against cell damage, boosts the immune system, forms collagen
  • Where To Find It: Red and Green Peppers, Kiwi, Oranges, Strawberries, Broccoli

Calcium 

  • What It Does: Essential for bone growth and strength, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and the transmission of nerve signals
  • Where To Find It: Milk, Yogurt, Hard Cheeses, Fortified Cereals, Spinach, Kale, Okra, White Beans

Choline (Vitamin B Complex) 

  • What It Does: Plays a key role in the production of cells and neurotransmitters
  • Where To Find It: Milk, Liver, Eggs, Peanuts

Vitamin D

  • What It Does: Crucial in metabolizing calcium for healthy bones
  • Where To Find It: Fish Liver Oils, Fatty Fish, Fortified Milk Products, Fortified Cereals, Formed naturally as a result of sunlight exposure

Vitamin E

  • What It Does: Antioxidant that protects cells against damage
  • Where To Find It: Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Peanut Butter, Turnip Greens, Tomatoes, Pine Nuts, Wheat Germ, Avocado

Folic Acid (Folate)

  • What It Does: Key for the development of cells, protein metabolism, and heart health; in pregnant women, helps prevent birth defects
  • Where To Find It: Dark, Leafy Vegetables, Asparagus, Broccoli, Citrus Fruits, Beans, Lentils, Avocado

Iron

  • What It Does: Key component in the production of red blood cells and vital for carrying oxygen to the body
  • Where To Find It: Beans, Lentils, Beef, Egg Yolk, Spinach, Collards, Prunes, Raisins, Mollusks (Oysters, Clams, Scallops), Liver, Artichokes

Iodine 

  • What It Does: Important in the production of thyroid hormones
  • Where To Find It: Iodized Salt, Dried Seaweed, Cod, Shrimp, Navy Beans, Tuna, Eggs

Magnesium

  • What It Does: Regulates heart rhythm, helps with muscle and nerve function, and bone strength
  • Where To Find It: Green, Leafy Vegetables, Brazil Nuts, Almonds, Soybeans, Halibut, Quinoa

Niacin

  • What It Does:  Helps with digestion, circulation of the blood, and regular functioning of the nervous system
  • Where To Find It: Wheat Bran, Liver, Pork Chops, Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Peanuts

Phosphorus 

  • What It Does: Allows cells to function normally, helps the body produce energy, key in bone growth
  • Where To Find It: Milk, Peas, Meat, Eggs, Cottage Cheese, Corn, Garlic

Riboflavin

  • What It Does: Breaks down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins in the foods we eat, helps us use these nutrients for energy, functions as an antioxidant, needed to properly use the vitamins niacin, folate, and vitamin B6
  • Where To Find It: Yogurt, Milk, Eggs, Mushrooms, Cottage Cheese

Sodium

  • What It Does: Important for fluid balance
  • Where To Find It: Soy, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Cheese, Pickled Foods, Crab

Thiamine

  • What It Does: Helps turn carbohydrates into energy for the body, helps to use some of the amino acids that make up proteins
  • Where To Find It: Pork Chop, Wheat Germ, Sunflower Seeds, Rice, Black Beans

Zinc

  • What It Does: Supports the body’s immunity and nerve function, important in reproduction
  • Where To Find It: Oysters, Roast Beef, Pumpkin Seeds, Dark Chocolate, Cacao Powder, Peanuts, Crab

5 Comments on Vitamins & Minerals: What They Are & Where To Find Them

  1. Discount Vitamin and Supplements
    February 11, 2014 at 6:20 am (4 years ago)

    Excellent post I must say! We all hear a lot about vitamins and minerals quite frequently. They hold an important place in our lives. However, this post helps us understanding what they actually are and where could we find them to upkeep our health. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. myvitaminsonline
    February 11, 2014 at 6:30 am (4 years ago)

    Excellent post I must say! We all hear a lot about vitamins and minerals quite frequently. They hold an important place in our lives. However, this post helps us understanding what they actually are and where could we find them to upkeep our health. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

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