Making sure our bodies are provided all the essential vitamins and minerals is vital to a strong immune system, maintaining metabolic processes, keeping our bones, skin and red blood cells healthy, and lots more.
It’s a good idea to be mindful of which vitamins you’re not getting enough of, as well as the vitamins that you may be receiving in excess, as this can lead to various side effects that reverse their natural benefits and may result in symptoms such as weakened bones, nausea and stomach pain.
This, among many other reasons, is why you should aim for a good diet as opposed to taking supplements, as this safely limits the side effects, provides a well-rounded and organic intake of the nutrients your body needs, helps to develop healthy eating overall and, lastly, is not as expensive.
In this Naturopath Masterclass blog, we’ve listed 10 essential vitamins and minerals and the food that you can eat to replace over-the-counter supplements.
Vitamin D is produced with at least 5-10 minutes of sunlight 3 times a week. Going outside during the summer months will provide a sufficient amount of this, but during winter months it’s a good idea to aid the production of Vitamin D with the below foods.
- egg yolks, fatty fish, fortified milk, liver
Vitamin A is essential in helping the immune system fight illnesses and infections, and also promotes clear vision in low light, healthy skin as well as strong nails, bones and teeth. It is widely available in dairy and protein-based foods, along with the vegetables listed below.
- carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach
Vitamin B1, one of eight important B vitamins, is vital to maintaining a healthy metabolism, which includes the breaking down of carbohydrates, fats and acids and the distribution of this energy. You can replace any thiamine B1 supplement by increasing your intake of the below foods.
- pork, sunflower seeds, whole grains, beans, seafood
Folate (Vitamin B9)
Vitamin B9, also known as Folate, is especially important for women during pregnancy and birth, as well as maintaining healthy red blood cells and their oxygen flow. Instead of ingesting a Folate supplement during pregnancy, try to incorporate more of the below foods into your diet.
- beans, spinach, wheat germ, oranges
Vitamin B2, like Vitamin B1, is also ideal for metabolism maintenance, as well as vision improvement and overall health of the skin. It is widely available and can be easily received in the foods below.
- milk, yoghurt, chicken, leafy green vegetables, fruit, almonds
Vitamin B3 has essential properties for metabolic energy conversion, and also supports healthy skin, the digestive system and the lowering of cholesterol. You can find it in most lean meats and plant-based proteins such as the ones listed below.
- chicken, tuna, brewer’s yeast, peanut butter, beans, sunflower seeds
Vitamin B6 helps nerve sensation, metabolism and the overall health of our red blood cells. It is contained in most protein-based foods, whole grains, dairy products and vegetables, with some of these high Vitamin B6 foods listed below.
- apples, bananas, basil, beetroot, brown rice, green tea, eggs, fennel, wild salmon
Iron is an essential mineral for the production of red blood cells, therefore a lack of this may lead to anaemia. When feeling prolonged fatigue or lethargy, you can reverse this by increasing your iron intake with the below foods and meal ingredients.
- spirulina, soybean, sesame seeds, spinach, kale, parsley, thyme, marjoram
Vitamin C is vital to many bodily functions and their health, including our immune systems, blood cells and vessels, bones and skin. It is also the most important vitamin for the healing of wounds, found in most citrus fruits and green vegetables such as the ones below.
- strawberries, melons, citrus fruits, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red peppers, cranberry juice
Vitamin E maintains muscle strength, keeps skin and vision healthy, and aids oxygen distribution via our red blood cells. It is also another important vitamin for the immune system, like Vitamins A and C, and can be easily received by including the below in your meals.
- vegetable oil, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, chilli powder, hazelnuts
Aim for a Healthy Diet Over Supplements
If you are aspiring to eat a more varied healthy diet, incorporating the above everyday foods into your daily meals is a great place to start, and will help to replace supplements in getting the essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need to function optimally.
By being mindful of the symptoms, you can target the vitamins and minerals that you’re not getting enough of, and begin incorporating the right foods that will aid in fighting off illnesses, fuelling metabolism and keeping muscles and bones strong.
Do bear in mind, supplements are not always trustworthy, may lead to various side effects and can be replaced inexpensively by simply targeting the right foods.
Take a moment to read more of our helpful Masterclass blogs on health, natural remedies and more by just visiting Naturopath Australia.