Food

16 Vital Vitamins And Minerals Your Body Needs

You need a wide range of nutrients to be healthy, so add these foods to your shopping list to ensure all essential vitamins and minerals are consumed.

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In total, Americans now consume 31 percent more calories today than they did 40 years ago. Although we are consuming a greater amount of calories, Americans eat less than the recommended amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, dairy products, and oils.

Vitamin A (retinol or beta-carotene)

Essential for vision, bone growth, and tissue repair.

Sources: Oily fish, butter, milk, whole grains, cheese and egg yolks

B Vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, pyridoxine, cyanocobalamin)

Essential for energy production, growth, the formation of red blood cells, muscles, heart, and mental ability.

Sources: Meat, whole grains, fish, eggs, brown rice, nuts, beans, peas, lentils, and milk.

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)

Essential for absorption of iron, healthy skin, teeth, and bones. Also, strengthens the immune system and helps fight infection.

Sources: Citrus fruit, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers, green vegetables, and melons.

Vitamin D (calciferol)

Essential for bone and tooth formation, absorbing calcium/phosphorus, and fighting symptoms of depression.

Sources: Mostly sunlight. Also in liver, oily fish, dairy, and eggs.

Vitamin E (tocopherols)

Essential for healthy skin, circulation, and maintaining cell health.

Sources: Oily fish, seeds, nuts, eggs, avocados, spinach and vegetable oils.

Folate (folic acid)

Essential for cell division, and especially needed before conception and during pregnancy to avoid spina bifida.

Sources: Dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, peas, lentils, bananas, and yeast extract.

Calcium

Essential for building and maintaining healthy bones and teeth, muscle function, and immune system.

Sources: Green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds, dried figs, almonds,
dairy and canned sardines (with bones).

Chloride

Essential for regulating and maintaining fluid balance in the body.

Sources: Nuts, beans, whole grains, peas, lentils, tofu and black tea.

Iron

Essential for healthy blood and muscle function.

Sources: Meat, sardines, egg yolks, leafy vegetables, dried apricots, and tofu.

Magnesium

Essential for healthy muscles, bones, teeth, growth, and nerves.

Sources: Nuts, beans, seeds, whole grains, peas, lentils, tofu, dried figs, apricots and
green vegetables.

Manganese

Essential in energy production.

Sources: Nuts, beans, lentils, whole grains, brown rice, tofu and black tea.

Phosphorus

Essential for water balance, nerve transmission, and regulating blood pressure.

Sources: Most foods, especially lean meat, poultry, fish, dairy, nuts, and eggs.

Potassium

Essential for water balance, regulating blood pressure, and nerve transmission.

Sources: Bananas, milk, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds and vegetables

Selenium

Essential for free radical protection and may protect against cancer.

Sources: Meat, citrus fruits, avocados, lentils, cheese, milk, Brazil nuts, fish, and seaweed.

Sodium

Essential for muscle, nerve function, and regulating fluids.

Sources: Most foods but mainly from processed foods.

Zinc

Essential for a healthy immune system, normal growth, wound healing, and reproduction.

Sources: Lean meat, peanuts, whole grains, cheese, seeds, beans, peas, and lentils.


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