Open the average American’s medicine cabinet, and you’ll find pills galore — some of them necessary, some of them not. The truth is, most of us don’t need a multi-vitamin to get the nutrients we need. If you eat the right diet and focus on the right foods, you can get much of your vitamins from food — especially from plants or, better yet, your personal garden.
Here’s a list of essential nutrients and how to get your vitamins from food.
This is your vision vitamin. It’s good for eyesight, your immune system, and reproduction.
Rule of thumb? You’ll find it in yellow/orange fruits and vegetables + leafy greens.
Eat Carrots, winter squashes, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, spinach, kale, turnip greens, broccoli, and red bell peppers.
There are actually many B vitamins. As a whole, they’re helpful for managing stress, fatigue, and anxiety. Plus, they’ll reduce insomnia and generally help with brain development and focus.
- B1: Legumes and watermelon!
- B2 (a.k.a. riboflavin): Beans, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms.
- B3: Legumes, most green veggies, potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli.
- B6: Legumes, bananas, watermelon.
- B9: Leafy green veggies — especially spinach, kale, and beet greens.
- B12: This vitamin is actually very hard to get and a good one to get through supplements.
This vitamin is essential to your immune system. It acts as an antioxidant and will help to protect your cells from free radicals. To get your fill of vitamin C, eat bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, strawberries, oranges, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, turnip greens, spinach, potatoes, berries, and/or romaine lettuce.
Vitamin D is your sunshine vitamin. It’s super important for bone health and immune system health. While it’s available to get from food, your best bet is to just hang out by your garden in the sun.
Vitamin E is extremely important to protect your cells from oxidation. It also helps slow the aging process of cells. Get this vitamin from food by consuming leafy green veggies — especially spinach.
Get it through your leafy greens, spinach, turnip greens, kale, parsley, brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and tomatoes. Your body needs this vitamin to produce prothrombin which is a factor for blood clotting and bone metabolism.
Iron is vital to carry oxygen from your lungs throughout your body. To get iron, eat beans, broccoli, dried fruits, and spinach. Vitamin C food like oranges and broccoli help you absorb iron more quickly.
Calcium = strong bones and teeth. Plus, it will help with clotting blood and help prevent osteoporosis. Dark leafy greens like broccoli, Bok choy, and kale are good sources of calcium.
This nutrient helps regulate muscle and nerve functions, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure. Plus, it helps make protein, bone, and DNA. You’ll find it in leafy green veggies, beans/legumes, broccoli, and bananas.
Raisins, bananas, spinach, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, raw cauliflower, avocados, tomatoes, oranges, cantaloupe, and strawberries are good plant-sources of potassium. This mineral functions as an electrolyte and will help regulate muscle contractions, nerve signals, and fluid balance.
Zinc can be found in legumes, lentils, peas, raw collard greens, spinach, and corn. This mineral will help your immune system fight off bacteria and viruses, make DNA and proteins, and heal wounds.
This information is not intended to nor should it replace a relationship with a trusted medical professional. Consult your doctor before making any decisions regarding your diet, health, or vitamin intake.