Updated: Oct 30, 2022
One of the doctors I am following, listening and reading on a regular basis is dr. David Jockers. I recently saw a post from him about the signs of nutritional deficiencies. And since one of my friends asked me as well if I could share information about vitamins and minerals, how to get them from foods and which foods, I thought of sharing these both in the below post. Below foods list is not comprehensive, but the top sources for these nutrients (as per Dr. Axe).
From a nutrition point of view if you consume a wide variety of foods, you will make sure your body gets what it needs:
- eat healthy protein, including plant-based and animal-based
To absorb fat-soluble vitamins through the intestinal tract in the body, it's important to consume them together with fat. Your body stores fat-soluble vitamins in liver and fatty tissue. Reserves of these vitamins can stay in the body for a while.
Vitamin A (retinol, retinal, carotenoid such as beta carotene)
Function: important for eye, skin and bone health
Foods: butternut squash, sweet potato, kale, carrots, beef liver, spinach, dried apricots, broccoli, butter, egg yolks, cod liver oil, red bell peppers, raw whole milk, cheeses, mangos, tomatoes, papaya, peaches, cantaloupe melon, green peas, oatmeal, paprika, basil
Function: important for bone health, immune system, for managing blood sugar, for skin health, for thyroid health
Foods: cod liver oil, halibut, carp fish, mackerel, eel, wild-caught salmon, whitefish, rainbow trout, sardines, tuna, eggs, beef liver, raw milk, caviar, Maitake mushrooms, portobello mushrooms
Function: helps prevent oxidative stress, balances cholesterol, repairs damaged skin, balances hormones, thickens hair, improves vision
Foods: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, mango, avocado, butternut squash, broccoli, spinach, kiwi, tomato
Function: important for blood clotting, bone health
Foods: kale, spinach, turnip greens, dandelion greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, Brussel sprouts, spring onions, cabbage, kiwi, broccoli, avocado, blackberries, blueberries, natto, prunes, kidney beans, pine nuts, pomegranate, cashews, beef, chicken breast, beef liver, grass-fed butter
Vitamin B and C vitamins are water-soluble vitamins and they do no stay in the body for long, but leave the body via the urine. Therefore we need to consume regularly more water-soluble than fat-soluble vitamins.
Vitamin B1 (thiamine)
Function: for various enzyme production, to break down blood sugar
Foods: nutritional yeast, spirulina and other seaweed, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, black beans, lentils, organic soybeans, navy beans, white beans, pinto beans, mung beans, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, beef liver
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
Function: for development and growth of cells and also helps to metabolise food
Foods: beef liver, natural yoghurt, raw milk, eggs, feta cheese, lamb, wild-caught salmon, spinach, almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, quinoa, lentils, mushrooms, tahini, kidney beans
Vitamin B3 (niacin)
Function: for cells growth and proper function
Foods: chicken, liver, tuna, turkey, salmon, sardines, grass-fed beef, sunflower seeds, peanuts, green peas, brown rice, mushrooms, avocado, sweet potatoes, asparagus
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)
Function: important for energy and hormones production
Foods: chicken liver, sunflower seeds, avocados, portobello mushrooms, sweet potatoes, salmon, lentils, corn, sun-dried tomatoes, eggs, cauliflower
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)
Function: important for red blood cell formation
Foods: turkey breast, grass-fed beef, pistachios, tuna, pinto beans, avocado, chicken breast, blackstrap molasses, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds
Vitamin B7 (biotin)
Function: enables your body to metabolise carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Also contributes to keratin, a structural protein in the hair, nails and skin.
Foods: liver, eggs, nutritional yeast, salmon, dairy products (goat cheese, feta cheese etc), legumes and beans, avocado, raspberries and other berries, bananas, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, whole grains (for example oatmeal), Ezekiel bread (and other wholegrain breads), mushrooms, almonds, sunflower seeds
Vitamin B9 (folate; folic acid is a synthetic form of folate found in supplements and fortified foods)
Function: important for making DNA and RNA
Foods: beef liver, spinach, black-eyed peas, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, Romaine lettuce, avocado, broccoli)
Function: important for a healthy nervous system
Foods: beef liver, sardines, Atlantic mackerel, lamb, wild-caught salmon, nutritional yeast, feta cheese, grass-fed beef, cottage cheese, eggs
Function: supports with immune system, helps with bone formation, wound healing, collagen production. Also strengthens blood vessels and helps with iron absorption.
Foods: black currant, red pepper, kiwi, guava, green bell pepper, orange, strawberries, papaya, broccoli, kale, parsley, pineapple, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, mango, lemon, grapefruit, honeydew melon, peas, tomatoes
Macrominerals are essential minerals. We need to consume macrominerals in larger quantities for our bodies to function properly.
Function: an important electrolyte mineral for water metabolism, osmosis and body fluid balance. The cells in the lining of your stomach need chloride to make hydrochloric acid.
Foods: table salt, sea salt, seaweeds, celery, tomatoes, lettuce
Function: for bone building, nerve conduction, muscle contraction, heartbeat regulation. Also helps to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
Foods: sardines, yoghurt, kefir, raw milk, whey protein from milk, cheese, kale, okra, bok choy, almonds, broccoli, watercress
Function: important for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. 99% of the body's magnesium is stored in the bones, muscles and soft tissues, only 1 percent in the blood. If you want to learn more about magnesium, click here.
Foods: seaweed, amaranth, cooked spinach, kale, chard, sunflower seeds, black beans, mung beans, mackerel, cashews, flaxseeds, almonds, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, avocado, banana, broccoli, Brussels sprouts.
Function: involved in hundreds of cellular activities, helps to utilise nutrients from foods and supports detoxification. Majority stored in our bones.
Foods: sunflower seeds, sheep's milk, canned salmon, cheese, cottage cheese, dark meat of chicken, yoghurt, potatoes, white beans, mung beans, Adzuki beans, tuna, tofu, turkey, black beans, grass-fed beef, portobello mushrooms, almonds, brown rice.
Function: for fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, for bone health, reduced blood pressure and a required mineral for the function of heart, kidneys, brain, muscles. Works with sodium to support cellular function.
Foods: avocado, lima beans, Swiss chard, acorn squash, spinach, sweet potato, wild-caught salmon, dried apricots, pomegranate, coconut water, white beans, banana, broccoli, sardines, peas, beets, grapefruit
Function: controls the amount of water and types of nutrients and compounds that go in and out from the cells. Important for keeping the pH balance and regulating blood pressure. Helps your muscles and heart to contract and helps nerve cells to carry messages between the brain and the body. It also supports the production and release of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is important for food digestion and absorption. Helps also with oxygenation of our bodies.
Foods: fresh vegetables, fruit, legumes, salt
Function: helps to protect against cellular damage and oxidative stress; supports immune function and controls inflammation; helps with antioxidant synthesis, builds and repairs DNA
Foods: beef, organ meats, seafood, chicken, turkey, fish, dairy products, eggs, garlic, onions, leeks, shallots, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, almonds, walnuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, peas
Function: forms part of the structure of vitamin B12 and important for cell function; for nervous system proper function; helps to break down sugars and with energy metabolism; preserves thyroid hormone regulation; helps with iron absorption.
Foods: cabbage, spinach, broccoli, lettuce, oats, dairy products, eggs, oysters, fish, nuts, liver, shellfish
Function: helps to form hemoglobin and collagen in the body, important for energy metabolism, DNA synthesis and respiration
Foods: beef liver, dark chocolate, sunflower seeds, cashews, chickpeas, raisins, lentils, hazelnuts, dried apricots, avocado, sesame seeds, quinoa, turnip greens, blackstrap molasses, shiitake mushrooms, almonds, asparagus, kale, goat cheese, chia seeds
Function: responsible for regulating thyroid function (enables thyroid gland to produce T4 and T3 thyroid hormones); for growth and development and supporting healthy metabolism. Needed almost by every bodily system. When you have underactive thyroid, you should be careful consuming too much iodine.
Foods: dried kelp, iodised salt, wild-caught cod, plain yoghurt, dried wakame, raw milk, dried nori, eggs, tuna, lima beans, organic corn, prunes, raw unpasteurised cheese, green peas, bananas
Function: important for red blood cell production, energy levels, cognitive development, healthy fetus development and immune system
Foods: spirulina, liver, grass-fed beef, lentils, dark chocolate, spinach, sardines, black beans, pistachios, raisins, pumpkin seeds, eggs, chickpeas, kale, chicken. Here I have an article about iron deficiency and how to support reversing it.
Function: for nutrient absorption, production of digestive enzymes, immune system defences and bone development
Foods: teff, rye, brown rice, amaranth, hazelnuts, adzuki beans, chickpeas, macadamia nuts, oats, black beans, buckwheat, oat bran, pinto beans, navy beans, pecans, almonds, spinach, potatoes
Function: helps with macronutrients breakdown, metabolism of iron, helps body to detoxify; carries out vital enzyme-related processes
Foods: lentils, dried peas, lima beans, kidney beans, soy beans, black beans, chickpeas, oats, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cucumber, celery, eggs, carrots, bell peppers, fennel, yoghurt, peanuts, sesame seeds, walnuts, almonds
Function: improves immunity; defends against inflammation and free radical damage; helps to maintain healthy metabolism; increases antioxidant capability and the quality of blood flow
Foods: Brazil nuts, salmon, tuna, turkey, cottage cheese, chicken, mushrooms, halibut, eggs, navy beans, sardines, sunflower seeds, grass-fed beef, oats, beef liver
Function: important for more than 100 enzymatic processes in the body; needed for healthy cell devision; for slowing down cellular ageing; fighting free radical damage
Foods: Oysters, lamb, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, grass-fed beef, chickpeas, lentils, cocoa powder, cashews, kefir, yoghurt, ricotta cheese, mushrooms, spinach, avocado, chicken, almonds, eggs
Omega 3 fatty acids
Function: important part of cell membranes; starting point for making hormones that regulate contraction, relaxation of artery walls, blood clotting and inflammation.
Foods: mackerel, salmon, cod liver oil, herring, oysters, sardines, anchovies, caviar, ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, soybeans, hemp seeds, natto, egg yolks.
What vitamins and minerals you need to consume together?
Vitamin D + Calcium (vitamin D helps absorb, carry and deposit calcium into bones)
Iron + Vitamin C (vitamin C enhances the absorption of iron)
Vitamin B12 and B9 (folate)
Vitamin D + Omega 3
Magnesium + Vitamin D
Vitamin D + Vitamin K2
Vitamin K2 + Calcium
What vitamins and minerals you should not consume together?
Calcium + Iron (for example it's not good to consume heavy meat and cheese together)
Vitamin E + Vitamin K (excess amounts of vitamin E can reduce the absorption of vitamin K)
Iron + Copper + Zinc (if there is an excess of one in the food, it crowds out the others from making it through the intestinal wall)
I hope the above is a good guide for you to understand the basics of vitamins and minerals and from which foods to get them. As you most probably realised, if you eat a well-balanced diet, where you incorporate a wide variety of foods, you'll make sure your body gets all the nutrients it needs.