Food Sources for Vitamins and Minerals

When it comes to vitamins and minerals, you're probably looking for the bottom line: How much do you need, and what foods have them? The list below will help you out. It covers all the vitamins and minerals you should get, preferably from food.

Calcium

Foods that have it: Milk, fortified nondairy alternatives like soy milk, yogurt, hard cheeses, fortified cereals, kale

How much you need:

  • Adults ages 19-50: 1,000 milligrams per day
  • Women age 51 and older: 1,200 milligrams per day
  • Men age 51 - 70: 1,000 milligrams per day
  • Men 71 and older: 1,200 milligrams per day

What it does: Needed for bone growth and strength, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and more

Don't get more than this much: 2,500 milligrams per day for adults age 50 and younger, 2,000 mg per day for those 51 and older

 

Choline

Foods that have it: Milk, liver, eggs, peanuts

How much you need:

  • Men: 550 milligrams per day
  • Women: 425 milligrams per day
  • Pregnant women: 450 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 550 milligrams per day

What it does: Helps make cells

Don't get more than this much: 3,500 milligrams per day

 

Chromium

Foods that have it: Broccoli, potatoes, meats, poultry, fish, some cereals

How much you need:

  • Men ages 19-50: 35 micrograms per day
  • Women ages 19-50: 25 micrograms per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 30 micrograms per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 45 micrograms per day
  • Men age 51 and up: 30 micrograms per day
  • Women age 51 and up: 20 micrograms per day

What it does: Helps control blood sugar levels

Don't get more than this much: No upper limit known for adults

 

Copper

Foods that have it: Seafood, nuts, seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole grains

How much you need:

  • Adults: 900 micrograms per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 1,000 micrograms per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 1,300 micrograms per day

What it does: Helps your body process iron

Don't get more than this much: 10,000 micrograms per day for adults

Continued

 

Fiber

Foods that have it: Plant foods, including oatmeal, lentils, peas, beans, fruits, and vegetables

How much you need:

  • Men ages 19-50: 38 grams per day
  • Women ages 19-50: 25 grams per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 28 grams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 29 grams per day
  • Men age 51 and up: 30 grams per day
  • Women age 51 and up: 21 grams per day

What it does: Helps with digestion, lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol, helps you feel full, and helps maintain blood sugar levels

Don't get more than this much: No upper limit from foods for adults

 

Fluoride

Foods that have it: Fluoridated water, some sea fish

How much you need:

  • Men: 4 milligrams per day
  • Women: 3 milligrams per day. This includes pregnant or breastfeeding women.

What it does: Prevents cavities in teeth, helps with bone growth

Don't get more than this much: 10 milligrams per day for adults

 

Folic acid (folate)

Foods that have it: Dark, leafy vegetables; enriched and whole grain breads; fortified cereals

How much you need:

  • Adults: 400 micrograms per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 600 micrograms per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 500 micrograms per day

What it does: Helps prevent birth defects, important for heart health and for cell development

Don't get more than this much: 1,000 micrograms per day for adults

 

Iodine

Foods that have it: Seaweed, seafood, dairy products, processed foods, iodized salt

How much you need:

  • Adults: 150 micrograms per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 220 micrograms per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 290 micrograms per day

What it does: Helps make thyroid hormones

Don't get more than this much: 1,100 micrograms per day for adults

 

Iron

Foods that have it: Fortified cereals, beans, lentils, beef, turkey (dark meat), soy beans, spinach

How much you need:

  • Men age 19 and up: 8 milligrams per day
  • Women ages 19-50: 18 milligrams per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 27 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 10 milligrams per day
  • Women age 51 and up: 8 milligrams per day

Continued

What it does: Needed for red blood cells and many enzymes

Don't get more than this much: 45 milligrams per day for adults

 

Magnesium

Foods that have it: Green leafy vegetables, nuts, dairy, soybeans, potatoes, whole wheat, quinoa

How much you need:

  • Men ages 19-30: 400 milligrams per day
  • Men age 31 and up: 420 milligrams per day
  • Women ages 19-30: 310 milligrams per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Women age 31 and up: 320 milligrams per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 350-360 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 310-320 milligrams per day

What it does: Helps with heart rhythm, muscle and nerve function, bone strength

Don't get more than this much: For the magnesium that’s naturally in food and water, there is no upper limit.

For magnesium in supplements or fortified foods: 350 milligrams per day

 

Manganese

Foods that have it: Nuts, beans and other legumes, tea, whole grains

How much you need:

  • Men: 2.3 milligrams per day
  • Women: 1.8 milligrams per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 2.0 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 2.6 milligrams per day

What it does: Helps form bones and make some enzymes

Don't get more than this much: 11 milligrams per day for adults

 

Molybdenum

Foods that have it: Legumes, leafy vegetables, grains, nuts

How much you need:

  • Adults: 45 micrograms per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: 50 micrograms per day

What it does: Needed to make some enzymes

Don't get more than this much: 2,000 micrograms per day for adults

 

Phosphorus

Foods that have it: Milk and other dairy products, peas, meat, eggs, some cereals and breads

How much you need:

  • Adults: 700 milligrams per day

What it does: Cells need it to work normally. Helps make energy. Needed for bone growth.

Don't get more than this much:

  • Adults up to age 70: 4,000 milligrams per day. The limit is lower if you're pregnant.
  • Pregnant women: 3,500 milligrams per day
  • Adults age 70 and older: 3,000 milligrams per day

Continued

 

Potassium

Foods that have it: Potatoes, bananas, yogurt, milk, yellowfin tuna, soybeans, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.

How much you need:

  • Adults: 4,700 milligrams per day, unless breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding women: 5,100 milligrams per day

What it does: Helps control blood pressure, makes kidney stones less likely

Don't get more than this much: No upper limit known for adults. However, high doses of potassium can be deadly.

 

Selenium

Foods that have it: Organ meats, seafood, dairy, some plants (if grown in soil with selenium), Brazil nuts

How much you need:

  • Adults: 55 micrograms per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 60 micrograms per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 70 micrograms per day

What it does: Protects cells from damage. Helps manage thyroid hormone.

Don't get more than this much: 400 micrograms per day for adults

 

Sodium

Foods that have it: Foods made with added salt, such as processed and restaurant foods

How much you need:

  • Adults ages 19-50: up to 1,500 milligrams per day
  • Adults ages 51-70: up to 1,300 milligrams per day
  • Adults age 71 and up: up to 1,200 milligrams per day

What it does: Important for fluid balance

Don't get more than this much: 2,300 milligrams per day for adults, or as instructed by your doctor, depending on whether you have certain conditions, like high blood pressure

 

Vitamin A

Foods that have it: Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, fortified cereals

How much you need:

  • Men: 900 micrograms per day
  • Women: 700 micrograms per day
  • Pregnant women: 770 micrograms per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 1,300 micrograms per day

What it does: Needed for vision, the immune system, and reproduction

Don't get more than this much: 3,000 micrograms per day for adults

 

Vitamin B1 (thiamine)

Foods that have it: Whole-grain, enriched, fortified products like bread and cereals

How much you need:

  • Men: 1.2 milligrams per day
  • Women: 1.1 milligrams per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women: 1.4 milligram per day

What it does: Helps the body process carbs and some protein

Continued

Don't get more than this amount: No upper limit known for adults

 

Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)

Foods that have it: Milk, bread products, fortified cereals

How much you need:

  • Men: 1.3 milligrams per day
  • Women: 1.1 milligrams per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 1.4 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 1.6 milligrams per day

What it does: Helps convert food into energy. Also helps make red blood cells.

Don't get more than this much: No upper limit known for adults

 

Vitamin B3 (niacin)

Foods that have it: Meat, fish, poultry, enriched and whole grain breads, fortified cereals

How much you need:

  • Men: 16 milligrams per day
  • Women: 14 mg per day if not pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 18 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 17 milligrams per day

What it does: Helps with digestion and with making cholesterol

Don't get more than this amount: No upper limit from natural sources. If you're taking niacin supplements, or getting niacin from fortified foods, don't get more than 35 milligrams per day.

 

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)

Foods that have it: Chicken, beef, potatoes, oats, cereals, tomatoes

How much you need:

  • Adults: 5 milligrams per day, except for pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Pregnant women: 6 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 7 milligrams per day

What it does: Helps turn carbs, protein, and fat into energy

Don't get more than this much: No upper limit known for adults

 

Vitamin B6

Foods that have it: Fortified cereals, fortified soy products, chickpeas, potatoes, organ meats

How much you need:

  • Men and women ages 19-50: 1.3 milligrams per day, except for pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Pregnant women: 1.9 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 2 milligrams per day
  • Men age 51 and up: 1.7 milligrams per day
  • Women age 51 and up: 1.5 milligrams per day

What it does: Helps with metabolism, the immune system, and babies' brain development

Don't get more than this amount: 100 milligrams per day for adults

 

Vitamin B7 (biotin)

Foods that have it: Liver, fruits, meats

How much you need:

  • Adults: 30 micrograms per day, except for breastfeeding women
  • Breastfeeding women: 35 micrograms per day

Continued

What it does: Helps your body make fats, protein, and other things your cells need

Don't get more than this amount: No upper limit known

 

Vitamin B12

Foods that have it: Fish, poultry, meat, dairy products, fortified cereals

How much you need:

  • Adults: 2.4 micrograms per day, except for pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Pregnant women: 2.6 micrograms per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 2.8 micrograms per day

What it does: Helps your body make red blood cells

Don't get more than this amount: No upper limit known

 

Vitamin C

Foods that have it: Red and green peppers, kiwis, oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes

How much you need:

  • Men: 90 milligrams per day
  • Women: 75 milligrams per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 85 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 120 milligrams per day
  • Smokers: Add 35 milligrams to the numbers above.

What it does: Helps protect against cell damage, supports the immune system, and helps your body make collagen

Don't get more than this much: 2,000 milligrams per day for adults

 

Vitamin D

Foods that have it: Fish liver oils, fatty fish, fortified milk products, fortified cereals

How much you need:

  • Adults ages 19-70: 600 international units (IU) per day
  • Adults age 71 and older: 800 international units per day

What it does: Needed for bones, muscles, the immune system, and communication between the brain and the rest of your body

Don't get more than this much: 4,000 international units per day for adults unless directed by your doctor

 

Vitamin E

Foods that have it: Fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter, vegetable oils

How much you need:

  • Adults: 15 milligrams per day or 22.5 international units. That includes pregnant women.
  • Breastfeeding women: 19 milligrams per day, 28.5 IU

What it does: Helps protect cells against damage

Don't get more than this amount: 1,000 milligrams per day for adults

 

Vitamin K

Foods that have it: Green vegetables like spinach, collards, and broccoli; Brussels sprouts; cabbage

How much you need:

  • Men: 120 micrograms per day
  • Women: 90 micrograms per day

Continued

What it does: Important in blood clotting and bone health

Don't get more than this amount: Unknown

 

Zinc

Foods that have it: Red meats, some seafood, fortified cereals

How much you need:

  • Men: 11 milligrams per day
  • Women: 8 milligrams per day, unless pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Pregnant women: 11 milligrams per day
  • Breastfeeding women: 12 milligrams per day

What it does: Supports your immune system and nerve function. Also important for reproduction.

Don't get more than this amount: 40 mg per day for adults

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD on June 23, 2016

Sources

SOURCES: 

Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health: Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans."

U.S. Department of Agriculture: "Dietary Reference Intakes: Vitamins;" "Dietary Reference Intakes: Elements;" "Dietary Reference Intakes: Electrolytes and Water;" and "Dietary Reference Intakes: Macronutrients."

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