Vitamins and Minerals
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.
Vitamins: What the vitamin does & Significant food
B1 (thiamin): Supports
energy metabolism and nerve function. Found in: spinach, green peas,
tomato juice, watermelon, sunflower seeds, lean ham, lean pork chops, soy
B2 (riboflavin): Supports
energy metabolism, normal vision and skin health. Found in: spinach,
broccoli, mushrooms, eggs, milk, liver, oysters, clams.
B3 (niacin): Supports
energy metabolism, skin health, nervous system and digestive system. Found
in: 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
Pantothenic Acid: Supports
energy metabolism. Widespread in foods.
B6 (pyridoxine): Amino acid
and fatty acid metabolism, red blood cell production. Found in: bananas,
watermelon, tomato juice, broccoli, spinach, acorn squash, potatoes, white
rice, chicken breast.
Folate: Supports DNA
synthesis and new cell formation. Found in: 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. Found in: meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs.
C (ascorbic acid): Collagen
synthesis, amino acid metabolism, helps iron absorption, immunity,
antioxidant. Found in: 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. Found in:
mango, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, tomato juice, sweet potatoes,
pumpkin, beef liver.
D: Promotes bone
mineralization self-synthesis via sunlight. Found in: fortified milk, egg
yolk, liver, fatty fish.
E: Antioxidant, regulation
of oxidation reactions, supports cell membrane stabilization. Found in:
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. Found in: Brussels
sprouts, leafy green vegetables, spinach, broccoli, cabbage, liver.
Minerals: What the mineral does & Significant food
Sodium: Maintains fluid and
electrolyte balance, supports muscle contraction and nerve impulse
transmissions. Found in: salt, soy sauce, bread, milk, meats.
Chloride: Maintains fluid
and electrolyte balance, aids in digestion. Found in: salt, soy sauce,
milk, eggs, meats.
Potassium: Maintains fluid
and electrolyte balance, cell integrity, muscle contractions and nerve
impulse transmission. Found in: 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. Found in: milk, yogurt, cheddar
cheese, Swiss cheese, tofu, sardines, green beans, spinach, broccoli.
Phosphorus: Formation of
cells, bones and teeth, maintains acid-base balance. Found in: all animal
foods (meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk).
Magnesium: Supports bone
mineralization, protein building, muscular contraction, nerve impulse
transmission, immunity. Found in: 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). Found in: 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. Found in: 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.
Works with vitamin E to protect body from oxidation. Found in: seafood,
meats and grains.
Iodine: Component of
thyroid hormones that help regulate growth, development and metabolic
rate. Found in: salt, seafood, bread, milk, cheese.
Copper: Necessary for the
absorption and utilization of iron, supports formation of hemoglobin and
several enzymes. Found in: 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.
Found in: fluoridated drinking water, tea, seafood.
Chromium: Associated with
insulin and is required for the release of energy from glucose. Found in:
vegetable oils, liver, brewer's yeast, whole grains, cheese, nuts.
many cell processes. Found in: legumes, organ meats