11 August 11 Where There's a Pill There's a Plate: Finding Nutrition Naturally

Certainly vitamin pills can be a convenient and quick way to ensure your body receives adequate doses of needed nutrients, but a cupboard full of vitamins should never be a substitute for a fridge drawer full of fresh vegetables. Below you will find which essential vitamins you can get from whole foods instead of plastic bottles.

But before we get into that, it should be said that taking vitamins is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, they can at times boost one's nutrition. The Mayo Clinic recommends that vitamins or dietary supplements may be appropriate under the following conditions:

- If one consumes less than 1,600 calories a day or doesn't eat well

- Is a vegetarian or vegan who eats a limited selection of foods

- Is pregnant, trying to get pregnant or may be breastfeeding

- Is a woman who experiences heavy bleeding during her menstrual cycle

- Is a postmenopausal woman

- Has a medical condition that affects how nutrients are absorbed by the body

- Has difficulties with digestion

If vitamins and dietary supplements are taken, it should go without saying that it's important to choose the highest quality pills that fall within your budget. And don't get carried away by misleading labels or mega-doses. Generally it's best to choose a vitamin or mineral supplement that provides about 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV), not 500 percent or just 20 percent. One exception here is a calcium supplement, which is usually taken in smaller doses as a 100 percent calcium pill would be too large to swallow. Also, look for expiration dates and a logo of a reliable testing organization, such as the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP).

Now we'll discuss where and how one can find a selection of essential vitamins in whole foods and why it's important to do so. Whole foods are complex and offer a wider variety of micronutrients than a pill can provide. Whole foods provide dietary fiber, which can actually help prevent certain diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease. Whole foods also contain substances other than nutrients that are beneficial to our bodies. Fresh fruits and vegetables, for instance, contain a substance called a phytochemical, which can help protect against cancer, and they are good sources of antioxidants, which slow cell and tissue damage.

With all nutrients, it is vital to understand what the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is for each nutrient. MyNetDiary members can see their DRI listed automatically for each of the nutrients they choose to track.

Here is a list of six different essential vitamins and how they can be found in whole foods:

- Vitamin A – This nutrient helps your eyesight, skin and immune system. To get 100% of Vitamin A, have a cup of cantaloupe, a medium raw carrot or a couple cups of raw spinach.

- Vitamin B6 – This nutrient is needed for healthy brain function. You can find a third of your DRI of Vitamin B6 in a medium baked potato or a half-cup of canned garbanzo beans.

- Vitamin B12 – You need this nutrient for keeping your nerves and blood cells in check. Find Vitamin B12 naturally in three ounces of salmon or through fortified breakfast cereals.

- Vitamin C – One of the body's best antioxidants, Vitamin C is easily ingested through a half-cup of raw green bell pepper.

- Vitamin D – Helping your body absorb calcium and vital to bone health, you can find healthy doses of Vitamin D in mackerel, salmon or canned tuna.

- Vitamin E – To boost your immune system and fight off viruses, Vitamin E is easily found in a few ounces of almonds or sunflower seeds. One tablespoon of wheat germ oil will give you 100 percent of your DRI for Vitamin E.

Ryan Newhouse

Ryan Newhouse is the Marketing Director for MyNetDiary and writes for a variety of publications. He wants you to check out MyNetDiary on Instagram!

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Nutrients/Other Vitamins & Minerals Nutrients/Supplements

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