There are many vitamins and minerals we require to remain healthy, active, and even happy as they affect thousands of functions within our bodies including hormones and mood. These nutrients come to us through the foods we eat, but our modern advancements have created a problem.
Our prepackaged and processed foods no longer contain the vitamins and minerals we traditionally got from the food we gathered or grew. We try to counterbalance this by pumping vitamins and minerals into ourselves through fortified foods and tablets, but most of these are synthetic and only somewhat resemble what we find in nature.
Since these synthetics are close but not quite the same, our bodies don’t recognize them and treat them like toxins and react differently to them. This leaves us still riddled with deficiencies and disease. It is time we turn back to the original food sources for what we are missing.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A is important to eye health, the immune system, skin, bones, and teeth. It plays a large role in proper growth and development. Vitamin A is plentiful in dark green and orange vegetables and orange fruits. Try broccoli, spinach, carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, mango, and cantaloupe.
Vitamin B1 – Thiamin, or B1, is used in metabolism, energy production, heart muscle, and the nervous system. Find it in beans, seeds, legumes, whole grains, oranges, and peanuts.
Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin, or B2, is vital in metabolism, energy production, red blood cells, hormone regulation, and proper growth and development. Get it from legumes, nuts, leafy greens, broccoli, mushrooms, and asparagus.
Vitamin B3 – Niacin, or B3, comes into play in metabolism, energy production, skin, nerves, digestion, and even with some hormone production. Niacin is found in peanuts, spinach, and potatoes.
Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid, or B5, is necessary for healthy metabolism, energy production, and the formation of important compounds like fats, cholesterol, bile, vitamin D, hormones, neurotransmitters, and even red blood cells. It can be obtained from whole grains and legumes.
Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 is essential to brain and nerve functions, red blood cells, and some metabolic function. This vitamin comes from bananas, seeds, beans, potatoes, peanuts, and walnuts.
Vitamin B7 – Biotin, or B7, is a part of metabolic reactions. It is widespread in food, but can be found in good amounts in nuts, oats, and yeast.
Vitamin B9 – Folate, or B9, is used by the body to create red blood cells and the all-important DNA we are designed around. Folate is attained from beans, legumes, leafy greens, asparagus, oranges, strawberries, and melons.
Vitamin B12 – B12 is very important in small amounts for red blood cells, bone marrow, metabolism, and the nervous system. It is produced by bacteria in the intestines and is widespread in many foods.
Choline – Choline is often lumped in with the B vitamins and is used in metabolism, the liver, and the nervous system. Choline is found in whole grains.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects cells against free radical damage. It is also crucial in the production of collagen and important to bones, teeth, gums, cartilage, blood vessels, and skin. It aids in the absorption of the minerals iron and calcium, helps healing processes, and is a part of brain function. Find vitamin C in red berries, citrus, kiwis, bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach.
Vitamin D – This vitamin helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus for healthy bones, teeth, muscles, and nerves. It is produced by the body when exposed to sunlight and can also be found in mushrooms.
Vitamin E – Vitamin E is another antioxidant that helps protect fats against damage, including the lipids that make up cellular membranes. It also plays a role in healthy red blood cells. Vitamin E can be obtained from nuts, seeds, leafy greens, avocados, whole grains, vegetable oils, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin K – This vitamin is primarily a part of healthy blood clotting. It comes from brussel sprouts, leafy greens, broccoli, and cabbage.
Sodium – Salt is an important mineral that serves as an electrolyte, helps maintain fluid balance, is part of muscle contractions, and aids in nerve transmissions. It is widespread in our modern diet. Most of us get too much and it contributes to hypertension. More healthy sources include sea salt and sea vegetables.
Choline – Choline is also an electrolyte that is part of fluid balance and digestion. Get choline from sea salt, sea vegetables, tomatoes, celery, and olives.
Potassium – Potassium is probably one of the most well-known of electrolytes and is crucial to muscle contractions, nerve impulses, and fluid balance. Potassium is abundant in potatoes, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, avocado, watermelon, bananas, and strawberries.
Calcium – Calcium is important in the formation, repair, and maintenance of strong bones and teeth. It is also a part of blood clotting and muscle contractions. Get calcium from leafy greens, broccoli, nuts, seeds, and green beans.
Phosphorus – This mineral is part of healthy bones, teeth, and pH balance. It is plentiful in seeds, nuts, and whole grains.
Magnesium – Magnesium is used in literally hundreds of metabolic functions and it is vital to bone mineralization, protein synthesis, nerve impulses, muscle contractions, the immune system, and even in controlling allergies. Magnesium comes from leafy greens, broccoli, artichokes, beans, legumes, seeds, and cashews.
Iron – Iron is an essential part of red blood cells, helping in the transportation of oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs where it is needed. It even plays a role in neurotransmitters. Iron is richly available in leafy greens, artichokes, parsley, and spinach.
Zinc – Zinc is used in the production of hundreds of enzymes that serve a multitude of uses within the body. Zinc is important in DNA synthesis, protein formation, vitamin A transportation, taste, healing, sperm production, and early development. Zinc is found in leafy greens, broccoli, peas, legumes, and lentils.
Selenium – Selenium is a mineral that acts as antioxidant, working with vitamin E. Selenium comes from whole grains, Brazil nuts, and sunflower seeds.
Copper – Copper aids in the absorption of iron, is important to red blood cells, helps create enzymes, controls allergies, and is a part of some neurotransmitters. Copper is found in tahini, sesame seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, seeds, herbs, and sundried tomatoes.
Manganese – Manganese is used in many cellular processes, aids in the use of B vitamins and vitamin C, is part of amino acid synthesis, and stabilizes blood sugar. It is widespread in food, but can be found in good concentration in dark leafy greens, spices, herbs, strawberries, pineapple, and garlic.
Chromium – Chromium is tied to insulin and energy production from glucose. Chromium comes from vegetable oils, yeast, whole grains, and nuts.
Molybdenum – This mineral is used in many cellular processes, acts to detoxify the body, is an antioxidant, and aids in the use of iron. It is found in dark leafy greens, legumes, and beans.
Our food is an integral part of who we are, how our body functions, and how we feel. If you feel burnt out, run down, overwhelmed, tired, foggy, or fatigued, it is time to look at your food and see if you are really getting all the vitamins and minerals you need in a form your body will recognize and want. Plants are absorbing minerals and creating vitamins each day. Put down the overly processed foods and pick up some fruits and vegetables today. It will make all the difference in the way you feel.
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