Kara Morton is a third year medical student at University of Louisville School of Medicine. You can follow her on instagram.
Vitamins and minerals are considered micronutrients. They are small components of food that do not provide calories but do provide necessary building blocks and support for most metabolic processes in our bodies. Vitamins and minerals are found in different amounts in different types of foods. For healthy adults, it is often NOT necessary to take a daily pills multivitamin or to keep track of each vitamin and mineral they are eating.
Simply eating a variety of healthy meals each day will naturally ensure that you are taking in the necessary amounts of vitamins and minerals! See below for some common sources of each vitamin. Keep in mind that the sources below are NOT THE ONLY SOURCE of each vitamin; they are just examples that provide high amounts of that vitamin!
- Vitamin A: orange or red fruits and vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, and squash
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): whole grains, brown rice, soy products
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): leafy green vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products
- Vitamin B3 (niacin): whole grains, potatoes, lean meats (chicken, fish)
- Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): broccoli, mushrooms, whole grains, chicken
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): legumes (beans), soy products, lean meats
- Vitamin B7 (biotin): whole grains, soybeans, eggs, fish
- Vitamin B9 (folate): whole grains, leafy green vegetables, legumes (beans)
- Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin): lean meats, low-fat dairy products, fortified soy products
- For those who choose not to eat meat or animal products, a daily vitamin B12 supplement is recommended to prevent anemia and neurologic complications.
- Vitamin C: potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, citrus fruit (oranges, lemons, pineapples)
- Vitamin D: fortified low-fat dairy products, fortified soy products, some fish, mushrooms
- As humans, we can make our own vitamin D when we expose our skin to sunlight for just 10 to 15 minutes!
- Vitamin E: nuts and seeds, whole grains, olive oil
- Vitamin K: dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli
Visit this website for more information about where to find vitamins and minerals.
For more detailed information, visit any of the following pages:
- The American Heart Association diet and lifestyle webpage
- An ethical plant-based vegan diet,
- The American College of Lifestyle Medicine
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- USDA’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans