Even when we eat plenty of food, we might not get enough of the vitamins we need to live our best lives. Vitamins and minerals are the food of our cells. Everything from hormone regulation and proper metabolism, to nerve functioning and immune response, depends on vitamins and minerals, as well as the overall quality of our diet and lifestyle.
Do you experience constant hunger or find yourself snacking all the time? That’s the first signal your cells aren’t getting enough vitamins. This usually means that your cells don’t get quality whole foods, but rather sugary, addictive foods, which don’t give your body what it needs to function properly. This could cause you to crave more and more junk and packaged food.
When you eat a balanced diet of whole foods, your intake of the vital vitamins is usually adequate. However, there are a few exceptions. In this case, a supplement may be necessary to ensure that your body’s needs are being met.
Here’s a guide to all the vitamins your body needs as well as where to find them.
Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble vitamins, meaning that they need to be in the presence of fat to be absorbed properly.
Benefits: growth, cell differentiation, immunity, sexual maturity, healthy vision, reduce risk of cancer
Food sources: squash, carrots, pumpkin, egg yolks, milk, butter
Benefits: bone health, reduce risk of certain types of cancer, obesity, depression, slow the progression of multiple sclerosis
Food sources: eggs, liver, fatty fish, butter, fortified milk, mushrooms, sun exposure
Benefits: antioxidant, support healthy ageing, immunity, reduce chance of cardiovascular disease
Food sources: sunflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ, vegetable oils, peanuts, avocado
Benefits: blood clotting, building healthy bones.
Food sources: spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, collards, beet greens, turnip greens, Swiss chard.
Water-soluble vitamins include those in the B vitamin family and vitamin C. These ones dissolve easily in water.
Vitamin B helps you convert macronutrients from the foods you eat (protein, carbs, fats) into energy.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Benefits: metabolism for carbohydrates
Food sources: whole grains, brewer’s yeast, potatoes, legumes, nuts, seeds, pork, wheat germ, oatmeal
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Benefits: proper metabolism
Food sources: dairy, beef, eggs, almonds, brewer’s yeast
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Benefits: proper metabolism
Food sources: potatoes, brewer’s yeast, mushroom, cottage cheese, chicken, liver, fish, turkey, pork
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
Benefits: regulating energy metabolism, production of sex hormone, production of Vitamin D, healthy skin and hair
Food sources: whole grains, legumes, avocado, potatoes, tomatoes, broccoli, egg yolks, chicken, beef
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Benefits: regulating metabolism in particular of protein, support immune system, support form-ing neurotransmitters and haemoglobin
Food sources: liver, chicken, salmon, potatoes, avocado, wheat bran, chickpeas, navy beans, pistachios, walnuts
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Benefits: regulate metabolism, healthy skin, hair, nails, liver, nervous system
Food sources: legumes, meat organs, egg yolks, nuts, whole grains, brewer’s yeast
Vitamin B9 (Folate/Folic Acid)
Benefits: healthy cell growth and function, red blood cell formation, fertility and healthy pregnancy
Food sources: asparagus, edamame, spinach, okra, broccoli, lettuce, avocado, turnip green, liver, black-eyes peas
This vitamin is typically only found in animal proteins. Therefore, vegan and vegetarian people may have a B12 deficiency. Supplements and fortified foods might be necessary if you don’t get a lot of animal protein.
Benefits: nerve function, healthy blood cells.
Food sources: liver, oyster, clams, salmon, tuna, trout, beef, eggs, fortified foods
Benefits: powerful antioxidant, supports immune system, help boost the absorption of iron from plant proteins and vegetables
Food sources: citrus fruits, kiwi, broccoli, red pepper, Brussel sprouts, potatoes, cranberries, strawberries, cauliflower
Bookmark this guide to make it as easy as possible for you to improve your diet. Start experimenting with your diet and adding nutrient-rich tasty food to cover many vitamins your beautiful body needs to work and live at its best.
If you are interested in understanding your vitamin status, book a blood test with your doctor to check whether you have a deficiency, normal levels, or toxic levels (too much) of a specific vitamin. This will give you a clearer picture of what to do and which kind of food or supplements to take.
If you know already your status and you need help implementing a diet and healthy lifestyle that works for you, get in touch with me for a 1:1 health nutrition consultation where we can review your needs and options.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by all this information. The most important thing is to understand that the quality of food you eat is essential for keeping your body healthy and strong, as well as for weight loss. Remember that restrictive diets don’t work in the long-term. What works long-term is a healthy nutrition plan with plenty of whole foods and a balanced lifestyle. It’s simpler than you think.
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