Vitamins and minerals are essential nutrients that help our bodies function properly. So it’s important to get enough of them. One way to start is with a balanced diet with lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. Below you’ll find a Vitamins and Minerals list to help you learn more about each of their benefits and where to find them in the foods you eat. Enjoy!
Note: This is an ongoing research project of mine. I’ll add more information on the Vitamins and Minerals as I learn about them. So, if you have useful information to share, please do so in the comments. I’d love that 🙂
There are 13 essential vitamins we need: Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E, and K.
There are fat-soluble and water-soluble vitamins.
Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed through the intestinal tract and stored in the fatty tissues of the body and the liver. These vitamins are easier to store than water-soluble vitamins and can stay in the body as a reserve for days, or even months if needed. Therefore, fat-soluble vitamins don’t need to be consumed as often as water-soluble vitamins. Vitamin A, D, E, and K are all fat-soluble.
Water-soluble vitamins don’t stay in the body for long, because the body can’t store them. This means that, if they aren’t used, the body will simply excrete them in urine. Therefore, water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced more often than fat-soluble vitamins. Vitamin C and the B vitamins are all water-soluble.
Fat-soluble vitamin. Look for words like “retinols” and “carotenoids” – these refer to vitamin A.
Vitamin A is a group of unsaturated nutritional organic compounds that includes retinol, retinal, retinoic acid, and several provitamin A carotenoids (most notably beta-carotene) – Wikipedia
What does vitamin A do for the body? Essential for good vision. Promotes skin, hair, bone and teeth health. Helps strengthen the immune system. Essential for the growth and development of cells.
Sources: You can get your vitamin A from animal and plant sources. Animal sources (retinol): Cod-liver oil, milk, eggs, some cheeses, liver. Plant sources (Beta-carotene): leafy dark green vegetables, dark orange fruits (apricots), vegetables (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin).
Water-soluble vitamin. Chemical name: Thiamine.
What does vitamin B1 do for the body? Important for the normal functioning of the nervous system, heart and muscles. Helps the body convert food into energy (energy metabolism).
Sources: Vitamin B1 is found in many nutritious foods in moderate amounts. Beans, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds (sunflower seeds), cereal grains, brown rice, asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, liver, and eggs.
Water-soluble vitamin. Chemical name: Riboflavin.
What does vitamin B2 do for the body? Essential for growth in the body. Helps the body convert food into energy (energy metabolism). Promotes skin, nails, and hair growth. Aids in cell regeneration. Helps the body make red blood cells.
Sources: Milk and milk products, yoghurt, eggs, meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, legumes (peas, lentils), leafy green vegetables (spinach), asparagus, green beans, broccoli, avocado, nuts (almonds), bananas, and kiwi.
Water-soluble vitamin. Chemical name: Niacin
What does vitamin B3 do for the body? Important for the functioning of the nervous system. Helps the body convert food into energy (energy metabolism). Assists in maintaining skin health.
Sources: Meat, beef liver, poultry, fish (tuna, salmon), nuts (peanuts, almonds), legumes (lentils), whole grains, milk, eggs, leafy vegetables, broccoli, avocados, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, asparagus, mushrooms, peanut butter, and mango.
Water-soluble vitamin. Chemical name: Pantothenic acid
What does vitamin B5 do for the body? Helps the body convert food into energy (energy metabolism). Assists in creating red blood cells, processing other vitamins, and maintaining a healthy digestive tract.
Sources: Meat, liver, kidney, fish, shellfish, poultry, milk, yoghurt, legumes, egg yolk, broccoli, avocado, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and peanuts. Vitamin B5 is found naturally in moderate amounts in many foods.
Water-soluble vitamin. Chemical name: Pyridoxine
What does vitamin B6 do for the body? Helps the body convert food into energy (energy metabolism). Supports skin and eye health. Supports the healthy functioning of the liver. Assists in making red blood cells and promoting a healthy immune system.
Sources: Meat, beef liver (and other organ meats), fish, poultry, eggs, whole grains, vegetables, potatoes (and other starchy vegetables), peas, spinach, nuts, and non-citrusy fruit (bananas).
Water-soluble vitamin. Chemical name: Biotin
What does vitamin B7 do for the body? Helps the body convert food into energy (energy metabolism). Promotes skin, hair and nail health.
Sources: Liver (and other organ meats), chicken, fish, pork, egg yolk, barley, milk, cheese, legumes, vegetables (avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, spinach, potatoes), and nuts. Vitamin B7 is found in many different foods, and Biotin is also produced in the intestinal tract by bacteria.
Water-soluble vitamin. Chemical name: Folic acid
What does vitamin B9 do for the body? Helps the body make and maintain red blood cells. Essential for mental and emotional health, by assisting in maintaining normal brain functions. It is also needed to make DNA.
Sources: Leafy green vegetables, dark green vegetables, asparagus, legumes, dried beans, peas, lentils, liver, seeds (sunflower seeds), orange juice,
Water-soluble Vitamin. Chemical name: Cobalamin
What does vitamin B12 do for the body? Helps keep the body’s nerve and red blood cells healthy. Helps make DNA. Essential for nerve system health.
Sources: Meat, poultry, fish, seafood, liver, clams, eggs, milk, dairy products, not found in plant foods.
Water-soluble Vitamin. Chemical name: Ascorbic acid
What does vitamin C do for the body? Needed to form collagen, which helps hold cells together – Important to our connective tissues, organs and the skin. Essential for bone and teeth health. Aids in wound healing and plays important role in immune system health. Assists with iron absorption.
Sources: Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, limes), berries, tomatoes, guava, melons, papayas, mangoes, kiwifruit), leafy green vegetables, and vegetables (cabbage, green peppers, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, peppers, cabbage, spinach).
Fat-soluble Vitamin. Chemical name: Ergocalciferol, cholecalciferol
What does vitamin D do for the body? Helps the body properly absorb calcium. Helps maintain strong and healthy bones.
Sources: Sunlight – Amazingly, exposure to sunlight causes vitamin D to be produced in the skin. Also found in egg yolks, fatty/oily fish (salmon, tuna, sardines), fish oils (cod liver oil), beef liver, mushrooms.
Fat-soluble Vitamin. Chemical name: Tocopherols, tocotrienols
What does vitamin E do for the body? Antioxidant properties that protect the cells from the effects of free radicals. Important for red blood cell health.
Sources: Kiwi fruit, almonds, hazelnuts, avocado, egg yolks, milk, nuts, seeds, peanuts and peanut butter, vegetable oils, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, liver, margarine, avocados.
Fat-soluble Vitamin. Chemical name: Phylloquinone, menaquinones
What does vitamin K do for the body? Helps control blood clotting. Helps maintain bone health.
Sources: Leafy and green vegetables (parsley, chard, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, spinach), fruits (avocado, kiwi fruit, grapes), also produced in the intestinal tract by bacteria, soybean, olive oils.
The body needs a variety of minerals for proper functioning. These are called essential minerals.
There are 16 essential minerals we need.
Macrominerals: calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and sulfur.
Trace minerals: chromium, copper, fluoride, iodine, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and zinc.
Calcium is a Macromineral (a “major mineral” you need in higher amounts)
What does Calcium do for the body? Strengthens the bones and teeth. Important for heart muscles and nerves to function properly. Help regulate the heartbeat.
Sources: Milk, dairy products, dark leafy greens (spinach, rhubarb), green vegetables (broccoli, turnips), legumes, fish with bones (sardines, pilchards), salmon, almonds, soya beans.
Copper is a Micromineral (a trace mineral you need in smaller amounts)
What does Copper do for the body? Helps make red blood cells. Help the body absorb iron. Important for healthy nerve function. Good for immune and bone health.
Sources: Liver (and other organ meats), meats, seafood, shellfish, sunflower seeds, cashews, whole-grain products, avocados, cocoa, beans, raisins.
Chloride is a Macromineral (a “major mineral” you need in higher amounts)
What does Chloride do for the body? Helps maintain proper fluid balance in the body, such as balancing stomach acid, it also helps move fluid in and out of your cells.
Sources: Table salt, soy sauce, meats, bread, vegetables (lettuce, celery), fruits (tomatoes, olives)
Chromium is a Micromineral (a trace mineral you need in smaller amounts)
What does Chromium do for the body? Needed for the proper metabolism of sugar in the blood, helping the body regulate blood sugar levels by transporting glucose to cells.
Sources: Whole grains, green beans, broccoli, nuts, egg yolk, liver, seafood, meats, cheese, potatoes, peas.
Chromium is a Micromineral (a trace mineral you need in smaller amounts)
What does Fluoride do for the body? Helps make the bones and teeth stronger. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to cavities.
Sources: Fluoridated water, saltwater fish (salmon), black teas, seedless raisins, shrimp.
Iodine is a Micromineral (a trace mineral you need in smaller amounts)
What does Iodine do for the body? Helps your thyroid glands work properly – Makes thyroid hormones that help control the body’s metabolism.
Sources: Iodized salt, kelp, seaweed, wakame, cod, dairy products, shrimp, tuna, eggs, prunes.
Iron is a Micromineral (a trace mineral you need in smaller amounts). Note: Even though Iron is a considered a trace mineral, it’s needed in higher amounts than other trace minerals.
What does Iron do for the body? Helps the red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of the body.
Sources: Liver, poultry, red meat, pork, fish, shellfish, oysters, poultry, eggs (especially egg yolks), leafy and dark green vegetables, beans, soy foods, dried beans, dried fruits, beans, lentils, raisins.
Magnesium is a Macromineral (a “major mineral” you need in higher amounts)
What does Magnesium do for the body? Helps keep the bones strong. Helps muscles and nerves function. Maintains heart health and steadies the heart rhythm. Also helps the body create energy.
Sources: Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews), seeds, legumes, black beans, edamame, soybeans, avocados, bananas, apricots, leafy green vegetables (spinach), seafood, halibut, chocolate, artichokes, quinoa.
Manganese is a Micromineral (a trace mineral you need in smaller amounts)
What does Manganese do for the body? Aids in the formation of bones, cells and connective tissues. Plays a role in fat and carbohydrate metabolism. Assists in regulating blood sugar levels. Necessary for normal brain and nerve function.
Sources: Whole grains, nuts (pecans, almonds, pine), seeds, leafy and non-leafy vegetables (spinach, sweet potatoes), green and black teas, lima beans, chickpeas, eggs, scallops, mussels, fruits (pineapple), brown rice.
Molybdenum is a Micromineral (a trace mineral you need in smaller amounts)
What does Molybdenum do for the body? Helps the cells and nerves function. Helps process proteins and other substances.
Sources: Legumes (peas, lentils), beans (red beans, mung beans kidney beans), grain products, nuts (almonds, cashews, chestnuts, peanuts), pumpkin seeds, soy products, dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt), leafy green vegetables, eggs, whole grains.
Phosphorus is a Macromineral (a “major mineral” you need in higher amounts)
What does Phosphorous do for the body? Part of every cell membrane and therefore needed by every cell in the body to function normally. Helps form healthy bones and teeth. Helps the body make energy, filter out waste, repair tissue, produce of DNA, and more.
Sources: Dairy products (milk, yoghurt, cheese), meat (beef, beef liver, pork), poultry (chicken, turkey), fish (salmon, tuna, herring, halibut), nuts, seeds, eggs, baby soybeans, edamame, lentils, quinoa, oats, potatoes with the skin on, mushrooms.
Potassium is a Macromineral (a “major mineral” you need in higher amounts)
What does Potassium do for the body? Helps the heart, muscle, and nervous systems function. Assists in maintaining a healthy fluid balance in the body, such as the balance of water in the blood and body tissues.
Sources: Leafy green vegetables (spinach), vegetables (broccoli, winter squash, sweet potato, potatoes with the skin on), fruit (citrus, oranges, bananas, tomatoes), dried fruits, meats (pork, chicken, tuna, salmon, halibut), milk, yoghurt, whole grains, legumes (peas, beans), nuts (pistachios, peanuts).
Selenium is a Micromineral (a trace mineral you need in smaller amounts)
What does Selenium do for the body? Helps protect cells from damage. Assists in the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, helping to regulate the thyroid hormone. As an antioxidant for the body, it promotes immune system health.
Sources: Beef, pork, turkey, chicken, fish (yellowfin, salmon, halibut, tuna), shellfish (shrimp, crab), milk, yoghurt, cheese, eggs, brown rice, nuts (Brazil nuts, cashews), sunflower seeds, baked beans, oatmeal, spinach, lentils, bananas.
Sodium is a Macromineral (a “major mineral” you need in higher amounts)
It’s important to not consume too much Sodium, and opt for a low-sodium diet. The best way to do this is to simply eat less processed foods (which often has more sodium added). So eat fresher more natural products like fruits and veggies, instead of canned, frozen and packaged foods that often have additives used to preserve and flavour.
Potassium basically has the opposite effect of Sodium. So try to balance out your Potassium and Sodium intake.
Note: Salt and Sodium are not exactly the same thing. Sodium is a mineral, occurring naturally in foods and/or added during manufacturing. Table salt, on the other hand, is a combination of both Sodium and Chloride.
What does Sodium do for the body? Needed for proper fluid balance in the body – regulating the water in the body’s blood and tissues. Also plays a role in nerve transmission and muscle contraction. While Sodium plays a role in maintaining blood pressure, too much Sodium can increase blood pressure.
Sources: Table salt, dairy products, meats (beef, lamb, pork, poultry, fish), eggs, vegetables (artichokes, celery).
Sulphur is a Macromineral (a “major mineral” you need in higher amounts)
What does Sulphur do for the body? Helps with protein synthesis, maintaining joint and connective tissue health.
Sources: Meats, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, kale).
Zinc is a Micromineral (a trace mineral you need in smaller amounts)
What does Zinc do for the body? Helps wounds heal and supports the immune function. It is needed for the proper growth and development of the body. Assists in the proper sense of taste and smell.
Sources: Red meat, poultry, shellfish, oysters, legumes (chickpeas, lentils), nuts (almonds, peanuts), soy foods, eggs, dairy products, whole grains
So now that you have a list of the essential and vitamins and minerals your body needs, what’s next??
Keep it simple and eat well.
First of all, you can simply start eating better. More fresh fruit and vegetables is a great place to start.
If you go through the list above, you’ll notice many food sources repeat themselves. The most noteworthy for me was leafy and green vegetables. Have a look, they’re in most of the vitamin and mineral sources lists.
Eat your green vegetables.
So, by simply adding spinach or broccoli, to the menu a few times a week, you’ll already be giving your body a lot more essential nutrients. Furthermore, vegetables are easy to cook!
There are a ton of spinach recipes out there to try, simple and more complicated. I love simple eating, and so two of my favourite ways to eat Spinach are:
Sauteed Spinach – Saute raw spinach in olive oil, freshly chopped garlic and chilli flakes. Serve as a side alongside protein, like grilled chicken.
Spinach and Tuna Salad – Mix raw spinach leaves, can of tuna, olive oil, a healthy squeeze of fresh lemon, salt and pepper. If you have, add a sprinkle of sunflower seeds for some crunch (love this).
These are some of the vitamins and minerals in 100g of spinach:
Vitamins: Vitamin A, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3), Vitamin B6, Folate (B9), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K (460%)
Minerals: Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc
Of course, the above vitamins and minerals are in varying amounts, but this is simply to show you what a fresh handful of spinach can do for you. If you simply increase your fresh fruit and vegetable intake, you’ll be improving your health. Note: Fruit does contain more sugar, so if you’re looking to shed some excess weight, focus on eating lots more vegetables and less fruit (1 or 2 a day).
You can take a daily multivitamin too, but this post focuses on getting as many essential nutrients through your diet.
So you can keep it quite simple and relaxed. However, if you want to go deeper and perhaps work on something specific, there are ways to do this too (see below for some ideas).
Daily Recommended Amounts.
You can calculate an estimate of your Daily Requirements with an online Daily Nutrition Counter. This is based on your gender, age, height, weight and activity level. So this way you’ll get a better idea of what your body needs, everything from vitamins and minerals to calories and protein.
Once you know how much you need a day, you can do your research and start adding foods to your diet that are high in those vitamins and minerals.
You can visit sites like Nutrition Value, where you can type in any food and see what nutrients it contains.
Self-healing through food.
There are some common vitamin deficiency signs like brittle nails and hair.
The idea would be: If you noticed brittle nails and hair, you can look up what vitamins and minerals help support nail and hair health, like vitamins B2 and B7. Then look at the good food sources of those vitamins like spinach, broccoli and eggs. Now just add more of these foods to your weekly grocery basket. See if it has an effect over the weeks to come.
Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or doctor of any kind. There are many factors that affect our bodies. So, if you have a more serious condition or planning something more drastic, of course, go to see a specialist and get a professional opinion. I’m just very interested in these health and food topics and love sharing them as I go along. The above is just an approach I take, using natural foods to make me feel healthier and ward off health problems.
This post is simply to encourage you to start looking at what you eat and feeding your body what it needs. In my personal experience, when I eat better, I feel so much better.By simply eating better, you can feel better. #FeelBetter #Health Click To Tweet
I hope that you find this Vitamins and Minerals list a useful resource. At the top, you’ll find the content list, where you can click directly to a Vitamin or Mineral of your choice. Then find out what the natural food sources are, and start adding them to your next grocery shop.
If you want to eat more Vitamins and Minerals, and don’t know where to start. Just keep it simple and focus on having a balanced diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. Or go and see a nutritionist if you’d like some professional help. By fixing up your diet, you’ll get a wonderful variety of essential nutrients your body needs and you’ll feel great!
ciao for now xoxo
Other posts you may find useful:
- Easy-Peasy Caprese Salad with Fresh Basil
- 6 Health Foods to Avoid and What to Eat Instead
- 5 Ways to Read Food Labels for Healthier Eating