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Vitamin and Mineral Sources

 

Vitamins

Sources

Function

A

Cod liver oil, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy vegetables, and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals.

Needed for good eyesight and normal functioning of the immune system.

B-1 (Thiamin)

Enriched, fortified, or whole-grain products such as bread, pasta, and cereals.

Helps the body process carbohydrates and some protein.

B-2 (Riboflavin)

Milk, breads, fortified cereals, almonds, asparagus, dark meat chicken, and cooked beef.

Used in many body processes, such as converting food into energy. It also participates in the metabolism of many drugs and helps in the production of red blood cells.

B-3 (Niacin)

Poultry, fish, meat, whole grains, and fortified cereals.

Aids in digestion and converting food into energy. Also used by the body to help make cholesterol.

B-6

Fortified cereals, fortified soy-based meat substitutes, baked potatoes with skin, bananas, light-meat chicken and turkey, eggs, and spinach.

Vital for a healthy nervous system. Helps the body break down proteins. Helps the body break down stored sugar.

B-12

Beef, clams, mussels, crabs, salmon, poultry, soybeans, and fortified foods.

Needed for creating red blood cells and general cell division.

C (Ascorbic acid)

Citrus fruits, red berries, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, cabbage, and spinach.

Helps promote a healthy immune system and is required to help make collagen, which holds cells together. It is also required for making chemical messengers in the brain.

D

Fortified milk, cheese, and cereals; egg yolks; salmon; and sunlight.

Needed to process calcium and maintain bone health. May have other effects on all cells of the body.

E

Leafy green vegetables, almonds, hazelnuts, and vegetable oils like sunflower, canola, and soybean.

Functions as an antioxidant.

Folate (Folic acid)

Fortified cereals and grain products; lima, lentil, and garbanzo beans; and dark leafy vegetables.

Vital for cell development, prevents birth defects, promotes heart health, and helps red blood cells form.

K

Leafy green vegetables like parsley, chard, and kale; olive, canola, and soybean oils; and broccoli.

Helps clot blood and maintains bone health.

Minerals

Sources

Function

Calcium

Dairy products, broccoli, dark leafy greens like spinach and rhubarb, and fortified products, such as orange juice, soy milk, and tofu.

Helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Helps muscles function. Involved in cell communication and signaling.

Chromium

Some cereals, beef, turkey, fish, beer, broccoli, and grape juice.

Helps maintain normal blood sugar (glucose) levels.

Copper

Organ meats, seafood, cashews, sunflower seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole grain products, and cocoa products.

Aids in metabolism of iron and red cell formation. Helps in the production of energy for cells.

Fluoride

Fluorinated water, teas, marine fish, and some dental products.

Prevents dental cavities and stimulates new bone formation.

Iodine

 Iodized salt, certain seafoods, kelp, and seaweed.

Works to make thyroid hormones.

Iron

Leafy green vegetables, beans, shellfish, red meat, eggs, poultry, soy foods, and some fortified foods.

Needed to transport oxygen to all parts of the body via the red blood cells.

Magnesium

Whole grain products, leafy green vegetables, almonds, Brazil nuts, soybeans, halibut, peanuts, hazelnuts, lima beans, black-eyed peas, avocados, bananas, kiwifruit, and shrimp.

Helps muscles and nerves function properly, steadies heart rhythm, maintains bone strength, and helps the body create energy and make proteins.

Manganese

Pecans, almonds, legumes, green and black tea, whole grains, and pineapple juice.

Involved in bone formation and wound healing, metabolism of proteins, cholesterol, and carbohydrates. It is also an antioxidant.

Molybdenum

Legumes, grain products, and nuts.

Plays a role in processing proteins and other substances.

Phosphorus

Dairy products, beef, chicken, halibut, salmon, eggs, and whole wheat breads.

Helps cells function normally and help the body make energy. Helps red blood cells deliver oxygen. Important in the formation of bone.

Potassium

Broccoli, potatoes (with the skins on), prune juice, orange juice, leafy green vegetables, bananas, raisins, and tomatoes.

Aids in nervous system and muscle function. Also helps maintain a healthy balance of water in the blood and body tissues.

Selenium

Organ meats, shrimp, crabs, salmon, halibut, and Brazil nuts.

Helps protect cells from damage and regulates thyroid hormone action and other processes.

Zinc

Red meat, fortified cereals, oysters, almonds, peanuts, chickpeas, soy foods, and dairy products.

Vital to many internal processes and supports immune function, reproduction, and the nervous system.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on September 30, 2012

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