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 sources:
B1 (thiamin): Supports energy metabolism and nerve function. Found in: 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. 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 foods.
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 sources:
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.
Selenium: Antioxidant. 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.
Molybdenum: Facilitates many cell processes. Found in: legumes, organ meats.