Here’s How To Get Your Vitamins From Food Instead Of A Bottle


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Because those gummy vitamins are really just an
excuse to eat candy.

2.
Vitamins and minerals are substances your body
needs to grow and function properly.

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You’ve probably heard of the
13 essential vitamins (A, C, D, E, K and 8
B vitamins) and essential minerals (like
calcium and potassium). They’re good for you
and keep your body running smoothly. But since
we don’t make enough of these on our own, we
need to get them through our diet, as Dr.
Donald Hensrud, Medical Director of the

Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program, tells
BuzzFeed Health.

Each vitamin and mineral has a
recommended daily allowance (RDA)
determined by the
USDA. That’s because you only need so much
of each vitamin and mineral; too much or too
little can cause problems, registered dietitian
Brian St. Pierre, director of performance
nutrition at Precision
Nutrition, tells BuzzFeed Health.

ID: 10147558

3. But
loading up on extra vitamins won’t
improve anything or give you superpowers.

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Vitamins kind of work like gas in a car. “If
your tank is empty, then you need to add more
gas for your car to run properly — but if the
tank is full, adding more gas isn’t going to
make the car run any better,” Hensrud says. So,
while a vitamin A deficiency can lead to vision
problems, getting more vitamin A than
recommended won’t make you wake up with perfect
vision.

In fact, your body can only absorb as much as
it needs of a certain vitamin, and any extra
amount won’t be used. Excess amounts of
water-soluble vitamins (like B-complex or C)
will just come out in your urine, Hensrud says,
and excess amounts of fat-soluble vitamins (A,
D, E, and K ) will get stored in your body’s
tissues.

ID: 10137803

4.
Instead of popping a multivitamin, most people
should be getting the bulk of their vitamins
and minerals from food, according to the

Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Instead of popping a multivitamin, most people should be getting the bulk of their vitamins and minerals from food, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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That’s because whole foods have thousands of
other compounds and phytochemicals that
interact with the vitamins and minerals to give
us a more complex source of nutrients. If you
just get your vitamins from a pill, you miss
out on all the other good stuff, St. Pierre
says.

“Mother nature is pretty smart, so the
concentration and combination of nutrients in
whole foods is way more optimal than a
synthetic supplement,” Hensrud says. Population
studies on people who consume mostly whole
foods like veggies, fruits, nuts, and fish show
a lower risk of overall mortality (death),
cardiovascular disease, and cancer. But
randomized controlled trials on people who take
isolated supplements show little to no benefit,
Hensrud says.

That said, there are exceptions where vitamin
supplements are necessary — like in people with
diagnosed vitamin deficiencies caused by
another medical condition, or in pregnant women
who need prenatal vitamins like folic acid to
support embryonic development, says Hensrud.

ID: 10157634

5. So how
can you make sure you’re eating enough vitamins
and minerals? We’ll make it easy for you…

Here’s a list of some of the most common
vitamins and minerals you might typically get
from a multivitamin — but instead, we included
a few options for getting them in food form.
Eat up!

ID: 10145354

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Vitamin A is important
for good vision, the immune system, embryonic
development, and bone growth.

How much you need: Adults need about

700–900 micrograms (µg) per day.

According to the experts, the healthiest way to
get vitamin A is from carotenoids, which are
found in fruits and vegetables and get
converted to vitamin A in the body — as opposed
to pre-formed vitamin A, which is found in
animal and dairy products.

ID: 10137585

7. Sweet
potatoes

Sweet potatoes

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One medium sweet potato (weighing about 90 g)
has
865 µg of vitamin A, which is about 100% of
your RDA.

Get this simple roasted sweet potato recipe

here.

ID: 10165771

8.
Romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce

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Three cups of shredded romaine lettuce has

615 µg of vitamin A, which is about 77% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for this tasty Mediterranean
salad
here.

ID: 10165823

9. Baby
carrots

Baby carrots

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About nine baby carrots (or 120 g) has
828 µg of vitamin A, which is about 100% of
your RDA.

According to the experts, it’s true that excess
vitamin A from eating too many carrots can turn
your skin a little orange!

ID: 10165726

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Vitamin B6 is important
for protein metabolism, forming
neurotransmitters, enzyme function, and the
nerve system.

How much you need: Adults need about

1.3–1.5 milligrams (mg) per day.

ID: 10137582

11.
Yellowfin tuna

Yellowfin tuna

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Four ounces of seared yellowfin tuna has

1.17 mg of vitamin B6, which is about 84%
of your RDA.

Find the recipe for these seared tuna tostadas

here.

ID: 10165866

12. Brown
rice

Brown rice

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One and a half cups of cooked medium-grain
brown rice has
0.44 mg of vitamin B6, which is about 31%
of your RDA.

Get the recipe for Mexican brown rice
here.

ID: 10173027

13.
Chicken breast

Chicken breast

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One cup of diced roasted chicken breast (or
about 67 g) has
0.78 mg of vitamin B6, which is about 55%
of your daily value.

Get the recipe for orange skillet-roasted
chicken breasts
here.

ID: 10165855

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Vitamin C is an
antioxidant that’s important for protecting
cells from damaging free radicals (like from
smoke and pollution), synthesizing collagen for
healthy skin, and absorbing iron.

How much you need: Adults need
75–90 milligrams (mg) per day.

ID: 10137577

15. Bell
peppers

Bell peppers

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One medium bell pepper has
95.7 mg of vitamin C, which is just over
100% of your RDA.

Get the recipe for these delicious mini bell
pepper “pizzas”
here.

ID: 10158502

17.
Oranges

Oranges

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One large orange has about
97.9 mg of vitamin C, which is just over
100% of your RDA.

Get the recipe for this orange salad with
spiced cranberries
here.

ID: 10171652

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Vitamin E is important
for cell signaling, healthy skin, protecting
cells from free radicals, and immune function.

How much you need: Adults need about 15
milligrams (mg) per day.

Vitamin E comes in many forms but the only one
found naturally in food which meets human’s
nutritional needs is alpha-tocopherol.

ID: 10166224

19.
Avocado

Avocado

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One large avocado (about 200 g) has
4.16 mg of vitamin E, which is about 27% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for this mouth-watering avocado
toast
here.

ID: 10167300

21.
Spinach

Spinach

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Two cups of cooked spinach has
7.49 mg of vitamin E, which is about 50% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for sautéed spinach with garlic
and lemon
here.

ID: 10167301

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Vitamin K is important
for blood clotting and coagulation, amino acid
metabolism, and forming strong bones.

How much you need: Adults need
90–120 micrograms (µg) per day.*

*Daily intake will change if you are on
blood-thinning medication.

ID: 10137589

23.
Brussels sprouts

Brussels sprouts

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One cup of cooked brussel sprouts has
109.4 µg of vitamin K, which is about 100%
of your RDA.

Get the recipe for slow cooker balsamic sprouts

here.

ID: 10167315

24. Kale

Kale

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One cup of chopped kale has
112.8 µg of vitamin K, which is about 100%
of your RDA.

Get the recipe for kale salad with almond,
oranges, and avocado
here.

ID: 10167316

25. Fresh
basil

Fresh basil

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One cup of fresh basil leaves has
49.8 µg of vitamin K, which is about 50% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for delicious homemade basil
pesto
here.

ID: 10167319

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Calcium is important
for bone density, forming teeth, muscle
contraction, and hormone secretion.

How much you need: Adults need about

1,000 milligrams (mg) per day.

ID: 10137601

27. Greek
yogurt

Greek yogurt

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One cup (about 285 g) of low-fat, plain Greek
yogurt has
328 mg of calcium, which is about 33% of
your RDA.

Top it with honey and berries for a naturally
sweet and healthy parfait!

ID: 10167337

28. Fresh
mozzarella

Fresh mozzarella

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Three slices of low-moisture, part-skim
mozzarella has
585 mg of calcium, which is about 50% of
your RDA.

Layer sliced mozzarella and tomatoes then top
with fresh basil for an easy Caprese salad.

ID: 10167341

29.
Collard greens

Collard greens

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One cup of cooked, previously frozen collard
greens has
357 mg of calcium, which is about 36% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for Southern style collard
greens with ham
here.

ID: 10167338

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Folate is important for
red blood cell formation, protein synthesis,
fetal health, and preventing neural tube
defects in pregnant women.

How much you need: Adults need
400 micrograms (µg) per day.

ID: 10137607

31. Black
eyed peas

Black eyed peas

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One cup of boiled black eyed peas (or cowpeas)
has
356 µg of folate, which is about 89% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for hearty “cowboy caviar”

here.

ID: 10167383

32.
Asparagus

Asparagus

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Six stalks of asparagus (1/2” base) have

134 µg of folate, which is about 34% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for roasted asparagus with bacon

here.

ID: 10167385

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Iron is important for
hemoglobin production, forming red blood cells,
cellular energy production, and metabolizing
drugs in the body.

How much you need: Adults need an
average of
13 mg per day.*

*Specifically, men need 8 mg per day and anyone
who gets a period needs 18 mg per day to
support iron loss during menstruation.

ID: 10137594

35. Dark
chocolate (70–85% cacao)

Dark chocolate (70–85% cacao)

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One-half of a 100 g bar (or 50 g) of dark
chocolate has
6.50 mg of iron, which is about 50% of your
RDA.

Swap this rich, cacao-filled dark chocolate
into your cookies and baking for a more
nutritious treat.

ID: 10167487

36. Chuck
beef

Chuck beef

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Eight ounces of chuck beef has
7.21 mg of iron, which is about 55% of your
RDA.

Get the recipe for beef stew with carrots and
potatoes
here.

ID: 10167459

37.
Lentils

Lentils

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One cup of cooked lentils has
6.59 mg of iron, which is about 50% of your
RDA.

Get the recipe for lentil and quinoa chili

here.

ID: 10167465

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Magnesium is important
for over 300 enzymes in the body, carbohydrate
and fat metabolism, protein synthesis, and
wound healing.

How much you need: Adults need
320-420 milligrams (mg) per day.

ID: 10137608

39. Swiss
Chard

Swiss Chard

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One cup of cooked swiss chard has
150 mg of magnesium, which is about 40% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for fettuccine with swiss chard
and garlic
here.

ID: 10167488

41. Black
beans

Black beans

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One cup of cooked black beans has
120 mg of magnesium, which is about 32% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for black bean burritos
here.

ID: 10167489

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Potassium is important
for fluid retention, electrolyte balance, heart
function, and reactions in every cell of the
body.

How much you need: Adults need
4.7 grams (g) per day.

ID: 10137613

43.
Russet potato

Russet potato

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One large (3”–4” diameter) russet potato has

1.64 g of potassium, which is about 35% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for the “perfect baked potato”
here.

ID: 10167497

44.
Prunes

Prunes

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One cup of dehydrated, low-moisture prunes has

1.4 g of potassium, which is about 30% of
your RDA.

ID: 10167500

45.
Sun-dried tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes

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One cup of sun-dried tomatoes has
1.85 g of potassium, which is about 39% of
your RDA.

Get the recipe for this tasty sun-dried tomato
pesto
here.

ID: 10167502

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Lixia Guo / Via BuzzFeed News

Why you need it: Zinc is important for
neurological function, immune function, cell
structure, and promoting chemical reactions in
the body.

How much you need: Adults need
8–11 milligrams (mg) per day.

ID: 10137591

49.
Sirloin steak

Sirloin steak

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8 ounces (about 1 medium steak) of trimmed
sirloin has
12.08 mg of zinc, which is just over 100%
of your RDA.

Get the recipe for grilled steak with tangy
chimichurri
here.

ID: 10175938

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