Everyone knows that eating healthy foods is the best way to maintain the amount of nutrients you consume. It is not enough to simply follow health protocols, especially now that contagious diseases are prevalent.
As individuals, we must seek out various means to maintain our optimal and best health condition. This way, we’ll be able to go about our daily lives without fear of contracting dangerous diseases.
With this, it is normal that we turn to multivitamin or any other well-known dietary supplements to sustain the required nutrients needed by our body. But let’s be honest, sometimes these supplements are only there to fill in the nutrients that you lack. It will not provide you the best benefits that you can get from natural sources of vitamins and minerals.
In this article, we list down the natural food sources of vitamins and minerals and how each of them can help prevent the progression of certain diseases.
Vitamins and minerals: Different functions for one purpose
When it comes to essential nutrients, there seems to be an endless discussion about “vitamins and minerals.” Diving deep into what these two covers can be overwhelming, and even after reading hundreds of articles, there always seems to be more to explore about it.
These two terms are often used together in order to describe nutrients needed by the body to function accordingly. But although they are closely tied together, there is actually a thin line that separates them from one another.
The basic differences between vitamins and minerals can be boiled down to a few points.
For instance, vitamins are organic substances that can be easily broken down by heat, air and acid. As exposure to different conditions can alter the compound that composes vitamins, it undergoes a complex process before it finds its way in our body.
Alternatively, minerals are inorganic compounds that stick well and retain their chemical structure. Unlike vitamins, minerals can easily transport to our body through the food and beverage that we consume.
Primary purpose of vitamins and minerals
There is a reason why vitamins and minerals are considered as essential nutrients to our health.
The vitamins and minerals in our body play a variety of roles to keep us healthy. Thus, in order to receive as much vitamins and minerals needed by the body, having a balanced and healthy diet is a must.
Below are some of the roles performed by vitamins and minerals to our body:
- Fight infections and diseases
- Assist in bone development to keep it strong
- Improve and strengthen our immune system
- Responsible in converting food to energy
- Repairs the damaged cells in the body
How can I get the vitamins and minerals I need?
It is preferable to obtain nutrients from foods rather than from vitamin and mineral supplements. This is because nutrient-dense foods contain things that can benefit us, such as fiber, vitamin c, potassium and vitamin K.
Although supplements are undeniably beneficial, as we previously mentioned it is only meant to supply the nutrients you lack. In the long run, it is still more ideal to gain nutrients from natural sources to sustain in the long run. Moreover, some supplements can be dangerous, causing bleeding or a change in your reaction to anesthesia after surgery, causing severe discomfort.
If you have nutritional or mineral deficiencies, you can always consult a medical professional. Your doctor may advise you to take nutritional supplements.
Keep reading as to learn more about the 10 natural foods high in vitamins and minerals that you need to try.
Water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins
Before we get into the natural food sources of vitamins and minerals let us give you a brief background about the two types of vitamins.
So what are these two and why does it matter? Just so you know vitamins are classified into two categories based on their solubility – water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins.
The idea behind these two kinds of vitamins is actually quite simple. Water soluble vitamins are vitamins that dissolve in water, and the majority of vitamins fall into this category. Meanwhile, fat-soluble vitamins have a consistency similar to oil wherein they do not dissolve in water.
It is important to know these two since they indicate which vitamins you will need to consume more in order to maintain the nutrients you need. Water soluble substances, for example, are easily absorbed by the body and constantly used. Thus, it cannot be stored in huge amounts to balance the nutrition in the body. While fat soluble, is the direct opposite, meaning it is stored in the body for a longer period.
Here are some of the vitamins that falls under water soluble vitamins and fat soluble vitamins:
Fat soluble vitamins
- vitamin A
- vitamin D
- vitamin E
- vitamin K
Water soluble vitamins
- Pantothenic acid
- vitamin B6
- vitamin B12
Natural sources of vitamins and minerals
Vitamins are very common and they are easy to find from natural food sources. But the problem is to identify these foods and to know the exact vitamins or minerals that they contain.
Typically, you can find natural sources of vitamins and minerals in fruits, meat, fish plant foods and green vegetables. Unlike store brought meals or processed foods, vegetables and fruits are the best sources as they contain enough nutrient that you need.
Here are some of the natural foods and the vitamins and minerals that each of them contains:
There are many benefits to eating oranges, including their delicious flavor and high nutritional content. Orange is a really popular citrus fruit across the globe due to its health benefits. It’s rare to find someone who would tell you that they haven’t tried oranges.
Citrus fruits are known to be a rich source of vitamin C which plays a huge role in boosting our immune system. Vitamin C helps the body resist infections and common colds and prevent heart diseases and high blood pressure. What’s more is that it also helps the body to absorb iron efficiently.
This fresh fruit also contain vitamins B6 and B12 which are responsible for releasing the energy from carbohydrates and fat. These B vitamins also function in transporting oxygen and nutrients that contain energy throughout the body.
If there is one fish that can provide you with essential nutrients with a quality taste, then that is salmon. This fatty fish offers crucial health benefits which helps in reducing various health diseases.
Keep in mind that the nutrients found in salmon differs depending on the variety. Farmed salmon contains more healthy fat and calories than wild-caught salmon, which appears to contain more protein.
Salmon and other oily fishes like sardines and trout are excellent natural food sources of vitamins A, D, selenium, phosphorus and vitamin B12 and B6. Selenium is a nutrient that plays a role in regulating thyroid hormone metabolism and your reproductive health.
Vitamin A works to keep your eyes and reproductive system in good health. It also helps to strengthen your immune system. This fish is also great to fill in the gaps for people who have vitamin D deficiency.
Salmon are also a great alternative for lean meats to give a boost in protein. It is also known for its high omega-3 fatty acids, which is good for our heart health. This type of fat, according to research, can prevent inflammation and improve brain health.
This vegetable’s popularity stems from its distinct flavor. Unlike other vegetables that have a weird bitter taste, this one has a slightly sweet flavor in it due to its sugar content..
Carrots are loaded with vitamins A and C. It is also rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that work to keep you protected from diseases. Eating carrots are believed to support in fighting cancer and improve your eye health.
It is important to note that these nutrients vanish when carrots are overcooked. It is also good to consume carrots juice to ensure that its healthy substances are intact.
Carrots are also rich in vitamins B and K and are high in fiber, magnesium, potassium and folate content. These key nutrients in carrots have properties that can increase energy, lower blood pressure and promote healthy digestion and weight loss.
Spinach is probably one of the most popular salad ingredients. These dark green leafy vegetables are an excellent addition to your meals as it is low in calories and thus does not contribute to weight gain.
Aside from this, all the nutrients found on leafy green vegetables greatly contribute to improving your immune function and heart health. Spinach is an ideal natural food source for vitamins A, B9, C and E. It is beneficial to pregnant women because it can help to reduce the risk of birth defects in newborn children.
Additionally, it’s a great source of iron that supports red blood cells in transporting oxygen to various parts of the body. Iron is an important mineral in order to reduce the risk of developing anemia.
Spinach is best eaten raw or juiced in order to get the most of its vitamin and mineral contents.
This berry can be tiny in size, but offer a range of benefits to your health.
Blueberries are packed with dietary fiber, manganese, vitamins B and C and they are widely known for their beneficial effects on cognitive functions. Aside from its ability to improve our ability to recall and nerve function and mitigate neuronal death, blueberries are also known to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
This berry is also packed with antioxidant properties to fight oxidative stress that damage cells. Furthermore, it is also high in soluble fiber that can help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Almonds are one of the most popular kinds of nuts that are enjoyed by many people. It is widely cultivated from almond drupes and used as ingredients for sweets and other cuisines.
This nut can be enjoyed either as a snack alone or an ingredient to your favorite meal to elevate its taste. A single serving of almonds can provide you with high magnesium, and dietary content.
They are also loaded with vitamin E and calcium which our body needs for strong teeth and promote bone health. Vitamin E is a potent antioxidant and energy-giver that helps to keep us looking young. It is also beneficial to eat foods high in this vitamin as it works to protect us from the harmful effects of free radicals which reduces our risk from cancer.
According to a study, eating almonds are effective in lowering low-density lipoprotein and significantly increase the high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. This is due to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ability of almonds which can support in protecting you from developing cardiovascular disease.
Broccoli is one of the green vegetables that is tasty, delicious and gives you an excellent punch of valuable nutrients. Adding this to your favorite meals guarantees not only a satisfying flavor but also health benefits to the human body.
Broccoli, like leafy greens, is a vegetable that is rich in vitamins A, C, K1, calcium and fiber.
Vitamin K1 helps to keep our bones strong and healthy and helps in blood clotting. It also contains one of the eight B vitamins, vitamin B9 or folate, which is critical for pregnant women to improve cell function and aid in tissue growth.
This green veggie is also high in potassium, which aids in blood pressure control and the prevention of heart disease. Additionally, it contains a high amount of protein that promotes muscle growth.
There are many ways to enjoy broccoli. You can try it raw, cooked or gently steamed based on your preferences.
Cauliflower, similar to broccoli, belongs to the same group of vegetables that also provide great health benefits. Although both belong to the same food group, not all the vitamins and minerals they contain are not the same.
Eating cauliflower may benefit you as it is a natural source of fiber, choline and B vitamins.
Fiber is an important component in order to promote weight loss and improve digestion. Furthermore, it is naturally high in choline that helps in cognitive function of the brain such as learning and memory.
Cauliflower is unarguably the best natural food source of vitamin K, the body’s most efficient blood clotting nutrient. It also contains vitamin C, antioxidants, phytonutrients and other substances that work to prevent certain types of cancer, especially the ones that affect the breast and prostate glands.
Beans, like blueberries, may be small and tiny but are undeniably rich in valuable nutrients to keep your health in shape. It is a great snack to eat without worrying about gaining weight.
Beans are a rich source of fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. It is beneficial for the cells and it is a good source of energy. It is also known to boost circulation, strengthen bones and help prevent cancer and diabetes.
It is also high in concentration of vitamin C and zinc that promotes better immunity against harmful diseases. Beans also contain lutein and zeaxanthin that aids in improving your eye health by filtering cataract causing blue light.
It is no question that apples are great for the immune system. Obviously, it is the reason why it is said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. They also come in different colors such as red, green and yellow.
Apples are a great natural source of more vitamin C, often called ascorbic acid, which is the best immune system booster. It is also believed to contain other nutrients that enable it to boost the immune system better than any vitamin C supplement.
This fruit is also a great addition to have a balanced diet due to antioxidant properties. Consuming foods high in antioxidants is important as it protects you from free radicals that harm healthy cells.
Apples also contain quercetin that can prevent oxidative stress from damaging the brain. Quercetin can also benefit breastfeeding women when taken as a food and not from supplements.
Get the right vitamins and minerals in the right amounts
Vitamins and minerals are vital to anyone regardless of their age and nutrient needs. These two are important in order to protect your health and sustain the function of the body against many diseases.
There are many foods in the market that can provide you with valuable nutrients. From green leafy vegetables to dairy foods, whole grains or lean meats — everything offers valuable nutrients to keep your body strong and healthy.
Thus, it is a must that you carefully choose a food sources that will benefit your health the most. This way your will be able to prevent mineral deficiencies.
Being conscious of your health is one of the key to healthy living. Want to learn more tips to stay healthy? Check out our food blogs for more tips to stay fit and healthy and to naturally energize your life.