Five vitamins from real foods

There is a vast range of supplements which are available in powders, pills and additives. Most experts agree, however, that the best way to get the important nutrients your body needs is through food. A whole array of vitamins and minerals, and even other undiscovered nutritive compounds, are found in whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and herbs. Here is a list of five vitamins and minerals, which can easily be found in foods.

Vitamin A is important for good vision and immune health. It’s also a powerful antioxidant. The best foods in which to find Vitamin A are yellow, orange and red in colour. So, if it’s vitamin A you’re after, make sure you have squash, carrots, cantaloupes, mangoes, sweet potatoes and apricots in your fridge or pantry. Spinach, fish, milk and eggs may not meet the colour requirements, but they’re also quite rich in Vitamin A.

Vitamin B12 is important for maintaining a healthy nervous system, and assists in the formation of red blood cells and DNA. It also helps prevent anaemia, which can make you tired. The best way to find B12 is through animal sources, such as fish, meat, poultry, eggs and milk.

Vitamin C is best known as an antioxidant and is also an essential component of connective tissue and protein metabolism. It’s no secret that citrus fruits are the best sources of Vitamin C. Green, orange and red vegetables, such as strawberries, papaya, broccoli and dark leafy vegetables, are also wonderful sources.

Calcium is important for bone health and healthy muscle function. Dairy foods are an obvious source of calcium, but did you know that leafy greens are also high in calcium? Kale, spinach and green vegetables contain calcium, as well as Vitamin K2, magnesium and other important nutrients.

Zinc helps the immune system fight off viruses and bacteria. As with B12, it is also important for making protein and DNA. Zinc helps with healing wounds and injuries and assists your sense of smell, which will help you to enjoy the foods we’ve listed. Beans, nuts, whole grains and dairy all contain good levels of zinc, but the big winner in the zinc stakes are oysters, which contain more zinc than any other food.

The best thing about choosing foods over supplements for the nutrients you need is that you get more than just the vitamin or mineral you are after. Foods aren’t limited to a single nutrient. In fact they provide a whole host of nutrients, which improve the digestion and assimilation of vitamins and minerals into the body. It is always best to talk with your nutritionist or naturopath to find out what is best for you.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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