8 Foods That Are Packed Full of Vitamins
Written by: Helen Sanders
Everyone knows the only way to live a truly healthy life is by making the right choices when it comes to what foods we put into our mouths. I’m often asked questions on whether multivitamins and supplements are good enough to replace the real thing, but it always boils down to the same answer: consuming a diet rich with vitamins and minerals, healthy fats, protein and antioxidants is always the best way stay healthy and looking good.
The problem is, if your diet has previously been rich in trans fats, sugars and refined carbohydrates, learning what healthy substitutions to make can be difficult. This is why it is a good idea to phase in foods and gradually change your diet into one worthy of a Greek God. You don’t have to go cold turkey. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
A great place to start is by ensuring your diet has all the vitamins you need. Many people underestimate the role vitamins play in our overall health. They do everything from boost our immune system, to assisting the creation of neurotransmitters to balancing hormones. Getting the right vitamins in your diet can make sure both your physical and mental health are on point.
Vitamins: The Lowdown
Vitamins come in two varieties:
- Water-soluble vitamins- are easily absorbed by the body, which doesn’t store large amounts. The kidneys remove those vitamins that are not needed.
- Fat-soluble vitamins- are absorbed into the body with the use of bile acids, which are fluids used to absorb fat. The body stores these for use as needed.
Vitamins: The Basics
- Vitamin A – aids healthy vision
- Vitamin B12 – helps make DNA
- Vitamin B6 – makes neurotransmitters
- Vitamin C – powerful antioxidant
- Vitamin D – aids absorption of calcium
- Vitamin E – powerful antioxidant
- Vitamin K – promotes blood coagulation
- Thiamine – converts carbohydrates into glucose for energy
- Riboflavin – helps metabolize fats
- Niacin – helps metabolize protein
- Pantothenic acid – helps produce energy
- Biotin – aids hair health and growth
- Folate – promotes healthy cell growth
8 Foods That Are Packed Full Of Vitamins
#1 Milk and Full Fat Dairy
Vitamin D deficiency is a major problem in the U.S. This crucial micronutrient not only aids the absorption of calcium (which of course gives us healthy bones and teeth), but it also aids the production of testosterone and other hormones.
Many dairy products are now fortified with vitamin D, plus they are a great source of calcium, making milk a double whammy when it comes to strong bones. Moreover, milk is also an excellent source of protein, an essential macronutrient that every diet should have a good dose of.
#2 – Nuts
Most nuts are packed with nutrition. This is why they are great snacks for bodybuilders. They contain everything from magnesium to selenium, both super important minerals our bodies simply can’t function without.
Of course, nuts are very calorific so you need to watch out if you are on a calorie controlled diet. However, a sprinkling of nuts on your salad makes for a nutritional powerhouse of a meal.
#3 – Kale
Vitamin K is a very important, misunderstood vitamin. In fact, if you ask your average Joe what vitamin K does in the body, they probably won’t be able to give you an answer.
But vitamin K is crucial for blood coagulation. It’s also absolutely essential for building strong bones, preventing heart disease, and plays a crucial part of many other bodily processes (source).
Kale is one of the most nutrient dense leafy greens out there and is incredibly high in vitamin K1 (source). Just one cup of chopped kale has:
- Vitamin K1: 900% of the RDI.
- Vitamin C: 134% of the RDI.
- Copper: 111% of the RDI.
# 4 – Liver
Although a huge percentage of the population are meat eaters, eating liver is not everyone’s idea of a perfect meal. However, liver is actually the most nutritious part of the animal.
Liver is rich in essential nutrients such as vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron, folate and copper. Vitamin B12 has a major role to play in cell, brain and nervous system function and is one of the vitamins that Americans are most commonly lacking across the U.S.
#5 – Shellfish
Shellfish are one of the most nutritious forms of seafood. They are rich in B vitamins In fact, 100 grams of clams provides over 1600% of the RDI for vitamin B12.
#6 – Yellow Bell Peppers
Vitamin C is an essential micronutrient which works as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Although oranges are often the first thought when it comes to foods high in vitamin C, one yellow bell pepper has around 4 times the amount of vitamin C of an orange.
#7 – Eggs
Biotin is the vitamin that gives us long, strong, beautiful hair. Eggs are rich in biotin and many other essential nutrients along with being one of the gold standard protein sources.
#8 – Beef
Riboflavin is the vitamin responsible for energy. Along with other B vitamins (often known as the B vitamin complex) it helps to turn carbohydrates into glucose and produce energy. Beef is incredibly rich in riboflavin and just 1 steak offers 89% of your RDI.