Eat These Foods To Up Your Intake Of Essential Vitamins
Vitamins are considered essential nutrients because your body needs them for important things like healing wounds, supporting healthy bone growth and keeping your immune system in tip-top shape. But buying supplements and multivitamins to get your daily dose of vitamins is probably a waste of money when you can easily up your intake by consuming more vitamin-rich foods.
To keep all bodily functions running smoothly, you need a daily dose of 13 vitamins: vitamin A, eight B vitamins — thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid, biotin, B6, folate and B12 — vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K. Here’s what foods you should eat to up your intake of each one.
Functions: Getting your daily dose of vitamin A is crucial for maintaining good vision, healthy skin cells, a healthy metabolism and fertility in both women and men. Women should aim to get 700 micrograms of vitamin A per day, and men should shoot for 900 micrograms daily.
Foods rich in vitamin A: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, collard greens, kale, pumpkin, winter squash and beef liver (for the adventurous eaters out there).
Functions: These eight vitamins play an important role in helping your body break down macronutrients (fats, carbs and proteins) for energy production. If you’re constantly feeling tired and cranky without explanation, you may be deficient in one of these vitamins. B vitamins also help form red blood cells that are essential for transporting oxygen throughout your body. Since animals and animal products are the most common food sources of B vitamins, strict vegans are often deficient.
Foods rich in B vitamins: Red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and milk products.
Functions: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and, as such, it minimizes free radical damage. It also helps your body make collagen, a protein that’s responsible for keeping your skin, teeth, gums and nails healthy. Adequate vitamin C levels are also important for aiding your body in the absorption of iron. Men need 90 milligrams of this vitamin daily and women need 75 milligrams.
Foods rich in vitamin C: Potatoes, citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, strawberries, kiwis, cabbage, spinach, green bell peppers and fortified fruit juices.
Functions: Given sufficient sunlight exposure, your body can make its own vitamin D. The problem is that many of us work long hours in dark offices and need additional sources of this vitamin to meet our daily needs, especially during the winter months. Vitamin D regulates blood calcium levels, so it’s essential for bone health. It also plays a role in preventing cancer cells from dividing, and it might help prevent the formation of some types of cancer. Both men and women below the age of 70 need 15 micrograms of vitamin D per day. Older adults may need more.
Foods rich in vitamin D: Vitamin D-fortified milk and cereals, eggs, shiitake mushrooms and some seafood like herring, catfish, trout and oysters.
Functions: This vitamin is another powerful antioxidant. A growing body of research suggests that vitamin E protects against the development of many chronic diseases associated with aging like heart disease and cancer. It also helps your body repair its muscle cells.
Foods rich in vitamin E: Sunflower seeds, almonds, vegetable and seed oils, strawberries, leafy green veggies, bell peppers and asparagus.
Functions: This vitamin plays an essential role in helping your body form blood clots when you get a cut. Without it, you could potentially bleed to death from even a small cut. (Yikes!) Men need 120 micrograms of vitamin K daily and women need 90 micrograms per day.
Foods rich in vitamin K: Egg yolks, butter, various cheeses, romaine lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip greens, mustard greens, kale, parsley, broccoli and asparagus.