Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins and Minerals are essential for a balanced healthy lifestyle

Unlike protein, carbohydrates and fats, vitamins do not yield usable energy when broken down.  They assist the enzymes that release energy from carbohydrates, proteins and fats, but they do not provide energy themselves.  (thus, beware of claims for “energy vitamins” or for diets that replace  foods with vitamin supplements)

Vitamins and minerals are widely available from the natural foods we eat.  So, before you reach for the vitamin jar, try eating your vitamins from natural foods.   Here are some of the best sources for each:

  • Vitamins
  • Minerals

Note the nutritional powerhouses:  Spinach and Broccoli.
Now you know why your mother always knew best and forced you to eat your vegetables as a child!

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Vitamins

Vitamin What the vitamin does Significant food sources
B1 (thiamin) Supports energy metabolism and nerve function spinach, green peas, tomato juice, watermelon, sunflower seeds, lean ham, lean pork chops, soy milk
B2 (riboflavin) Supports energy metabolism, normal vision and skin health spinach, broccoli, mushrooms, eggs, milk, liver, oysters, clams
B3 (niacin) Supports energy metabolism, skin health, nervous system and digestive system spinach, potatoes, tomato juice, lean ground beef, chicken breast, tuna (canned in water), liver, shrimp
Biotin Energy metabolism, fat synthesis, amino acid metabolism, glycogen synthesis widespread in foods
Pantothenic Acid Supports energy metabolism widespread in foods
B6 (pyridoxine) Amino acid and fatty acid metabolism, red blood cell production bananas, watermelon, tomato juice, broccoli, spinach, acorn squash, potatoes, white rice, chicken breast
Folate Supports DNA synthesis and new cell formation tomato juice, green beans, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, okra, black-eyed peas, lentils, navy, pinto and garbanzo beans
B12 Used in new cell synthesis, helps break down fatty acids and amino acids, supports nerve cell maintenance meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs
C (ascorbic acid) Collagen synthesis, amino acid metabolism, helps iron absorption, immunity, antioxidant spinach, broccoli, red bell peppers, snow peas, tomato juice, kiwi, mango, orange, grapefruit juice, strawberries
A (retinol) Supports vision, skin, bone and tooth growth, immunity and reproduction mango, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, tomato juice, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, beef liver
D Promotes bone mineralization self-synthesis via sunlight, fortified milk, egg yolk, liver, fatty fish
E Antioxidant, regulation of oxidation reactions, supports cell membrane stabilization polyunsaturated plant oils (soybean, corn and canola oils), wheat germ, sunflower seeds, tofu, avocado, sweet potatoes, shrimp, cod
K Synthesis of blood-clotting proteins, regulates blood calcium Brussels sprouts, leafy green vegetables, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, liver

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Minerals

Mineral What the mineral does Significant food sources
Sodium Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, supports muscle contraction and nerve impulse transmissions salt, soy sauce, bread, milk, meats
Chloride Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, aids in digestion salt, soy sauce, milk, eggs, meats
Potassium Maintains fluid and electrolyte balance, cell integrity, muscle contractions and nerve impulse transmission potatoes, acorn squash, artichoke, spinach, broccoli, carrots, green beans, tomato juice, avocado, grapefruit juice, watermelon, banana, strawberries, cod, milk
Calcium Formation of bones and teeth, supports blood clotting milk, yogurt, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, tofu, sardines, green beans, spinach, broccoli
Phosphorus Formation of cells, bones and teeth, maintains acid-base balance all animal foods (meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk)
Magnesium Supports bone mineralization, protein building, muscular contraction, nerve impulse transmission, immunity spinach, broccoli, artichokes, green beans, tomato juice, navy beans, pinto beans, black-eyed peas,  sunflower seeds, tofu, cashews, halibut
Iron Part of the protein hemoglobin (carries oxygen throughout body’s cells) artichoke, parsley, spinach, broccoli, green beans, tomato juice, tofu, clams, shrimp, beef liver
Zinc A part of many enzymes, involved in production of genetic material and proteins, transports vitamin A, taste perception, wound healing, sperm production and the normal development of the fetus spinach, broccoli, green peas, green beans, tomato juice,lentils, oysters, shrimp, crab, turkey (dark meat), lean ham, lean ground beef, lean sirloin steak, plain yogurt, Swiss cheese, tofu, ricotta cheese
Selenium Antioxidant.  Works with vitamin E to protect body from oxidation seafood, meats and grains
Iodine Component of thyroid hormones that help regulate growth, development and metabolic rate salt, seafood, bread, milk, cheese
Copper Necessary for the absorption and utilization of iron, supports formation of hemoglobin and several enzymes meats, water
Manganese Facilitates many cell processes widespread in foods
Fluoride Involved in the formation of bones and teeth, helps to make teeth resistant to decay fluoridated drinking water, tea, seafood
Chromium Associated with insulin and is required for the release of energy from glucose vegetable oils, liver, brewer’s yeast, whole grains, cheese, nuts
Molybdenum Facilitates many cell processes legumes, organ meats

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