In Chinese medicine food is the best medicine, therefore, getting enough of all the important vitamins from what we eat is something we should all be constantly working at. It can be overwhelming and hard to remember which vitamins do what and where to get them, so this is why I wanted to have a practical list to help list which vitamins we need, why they are important and where to get them. A good way to think about getting everything you need is to “eat the rainbow” meaning eating as many brightly coloured fruits and vegetables as possible (which also tends to indicate how rich they are in antioxidants). Also, having a small child to feed has made making sure that all the meals I prepare are smashed full of as many vitamins as possible for growing bodies and minds! I hope this information is helpful and will help you to eat a healthier, more balanced diet.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning that any extra that you are getting from your diet is stored in the body. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, which are important for combatting free radical damage which leads to premature aging. Antioxidants also reduce inflammation in the body which helps to combat many diseases.  Because of their effect on free radicals, a diet high in antioxidants helps to combat premature aging, actually slowing the aging process. Vitamin A is important for many of the body’s vital functions, and is especially important for children as it helps vision and neurological function, so make sure your babies get plenty of the foods listed below for their brain and eye health.

this image from huffingtonpost.com

Why You Need It

  • Vision
  • Immune System
  • Skin
  • Hair
  • Antioxidant (slows aging and reduces inflammation)

Sources

  • Liver
  • Fish Oils
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Collard Greens
  • Beet & Turnip Greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Bok Choi
  • Sweet Potato
  • Carrots
  • Butternut Squash
  • Pumpkin
  • Winter Squash
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Green & Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Chicory
  • Apricots
  • Prunes
  • Peaches
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet Red Peppers
  • Yellow Peppers
  • Red Peppers
  • Bluefin Tuna
  • Sturgeon
  • Mackerel
  • Oysters
  • Mangoes
  • Papaya

 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin meaning any extra you consume that your body doesn’t need is stored. The body produces vitamin D from cholesterol, provided there is enough UV light from our exposure to sunlight. We are also able to get vitamin D through some foods and one of its most important functions is regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorous. The absorption of vitamin D is improved when taken with food or a source of fat, like fish oil. Several environmental factors affect our ability to get enough vitamin D, such as being somewhere with high levels of pollution, using sunscreen, spending a lot of time indoors, living in cities where tall buildings block sunlight and having darker skin (with higher levels of melanin). So, be sure to get enough sunlight (going outside is good for your health on so many levels!) and eating a diet rich in foods with vitamin D.

this image from gizmodo

Why You Need It

  • Bone Health
  • Calcium Absorption
  • Weight Management
  • Nervous System
  • Muscle Health
  • Modulation of Cell Growth
  • Immune System
  • Reduction of Inflammation

Sources

  • Sunlight
  • Sardines
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Tuna
  • Caviar
  • Eggs
  • Raw Milk
  • Mushrooms
  • Cheese

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat soluble vitamin meaning excess is stored in the body and not excreted in the urine. Vitamin E has many important functions in the body including being a strong antioxidant which combats free radical damage helping to prevent disease, reduce inflammation and slow the aging process. An adequate amount of vitamin E is needed for many bodily functions including the proper functioning of organs, neurological processes and the proper functioning of enzymes.

this yummy image from californiaavocado.com

Why You Need It

  • Red Blood Cells
  • Protects Against Cell Damage
  • Immune System
  • Eyesight
  • Balances Cholesterol
  • Prevents Free Radical Damage
  • Repairs Damaged Skin
  • Balances Hormones
  • Thickens Hair
  • Helps Period Symptoms

Sources

  • Sweet Potato
  • Avocado
  • Wheat Germ
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Safflower Oil
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Peanut Butter
  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Kiwi
  • Mango
  • Tomato
  • Spinach

 

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is the last of the four fat soluble vitamins, meaning they are stored in the body and not excreted in the urine. Vitamin K is particularly important for blood clotting. Most of the vitamin K we get comes from intestinal bacteria – so the amount of vitamin K we are getting really depends on the health of our GI tract. There are two types of vitamin K that we get from our diets, vitamin K1 which is found in vegetables, and vitamin K2 which is found in dairy products and produced by bacteria in a healthy gut. Eating foods rich in vitamin K as well as making sure that you have a healthy digestive system will ensure that you are getting enough of this important vitamin.

this delicious image from eatrightontario.ca

Why You Need It

  • Blood Clotting
  • Heart Health
  • Reduce Infections
  • Oral Health
  • Improves Bone Density
  • Fights Cancer

Sources

  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Turnip Greens
  • Mustard Greens
  • Beet Greens
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Swiss Chard
  • Watercress
  • Miso (Fermented Soy)
  • Prunes
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Spring Onions
  • Cucumber
  • Fer
  • Dried Basil
  • Parsley
  • Endive
  • Okra
  • Pickles
  • Kiwis
  • Peas
  • Tuna

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, is part of the complex of eight B vitamins that play an important role in helping maintain a healthy metabolism, liver function, a healthy nervous system, skin and eye health and boost energy levels. Vitamin B6 also helps the body with important functions like movement, memory, blood flow and how the body uses energy. Thankfully, most people in developed nations get enough vitamin B6 from their diets, and some even consume much more than the body needs. Since the B vitamins are water soluble, any extra that you may be getting is not stored in the body and is excreted in your urine.

this yummy image from stylecraze.com

Why You Need It

  • Brain Function
  • Nerve Function
  • Red Blood Cell Production
  • Healthy Blood Vessels
  • Metabolism
  • Skin
  • Protects Eyes
  • Boosts Energy & Mood
  • Pain Management (B6 is a natural pain reliever)

Sources

  • Turkey Breast
  • Grass Fed Beef
  • Pistachio Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Blackstrap Molases
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Chicken Breast
  • Pinto Beans
  • Tuna
  • Chickpeas / Garbanzo Beans
  • Amaranth

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the world. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include chronic fatigue, depression (and other mood disorders), or chronic stress that can lead to adrenal fatigue. Animal foods are the best sources of vitamin B12. Plant sources do not contain any naturally occurring B12 unless they have been synthetically fortified. For this reason, many vegetarians and vegans are deficient in vitamin B12. It is estimated that between 15-39% of people in the United States (NIH & American Journal of Clinical Nutrition) are deficient in vitamin B12. A deficiency is often difficult to diagnose as its symptoms are so common – feeling tired, depressed and unfocussed. If you have been feeling any of these symptoms, try upping your intake of vitamin B12, you may feel a huge improvement.

this delicious image from apparelmagazine.co.nz

Why You Need It

  • Benefits Nervous System
  • Benefits Mood
  • Maintains Energy Levels
  • Preserves Memory
  • Heart Health
  • Healthy Skin & Hair
  • Lowers Risk of Neurodegenerative Disease
  • Produces Red Blood Cells
  • Needed for Healthy Pregnancy
  • Aids in Digestion

Sources

  • Beef & Chicken Liver
  • Salmon
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Trout
  • Yoghurt
  • Turkey
  • Raw Milk
  • Lamb

Folic Acid

Getting adequate folic acid is particularly important if you are pregnant as it helps to prevent miscarriage and neural tube defects like spina bifida (which is when the fetus’s spine and back do not close during development). Folic acid is the synthetic form of B9 – also known as folate. Folate occurs naturally in many foods and since the late 90’s has been added to many foods like cold cereals, breads, pastas, cookies and crackers.

this image from livingplate.com

Why You Need It

  • Needed for Copying & Synthesizing DNA
  • Producing New Cells
  • Supports the Immune System
  • Supports Healthy Nerve Function
  • Heart Health
  • Encourages Normal Fetal Development

Sources

  • Spinach
  • Beef Liver
  • Black Eyed Peas
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Mustard Greens
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Kidney Beans
  • Oranges
  • Avocado
  • Wheat Germ
  • Lentils
  • Turnip Greens
  • Okra
  • Peas
  • Collard Greens
  • Papaya
  • Strawberries
  • Grapefruit
  • Raspberries
  • Chickpeas / Garbanzo Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Navy Beans
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Beets
  • Corn
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Squash

Niacin (Vitamin B3)

Niacin is a water soluble B vitamin which means it is not stored in the body and any extra is excreted in urine. Niacin helps to maintain healthy energy levels and brain function. We need to eat a steady supply of niacin to make sure we don’t suffer from a deficiency.

this image from stylecraze.com

Why You Need It

  • Protects Against Cardiovascular Disease
  • Supports Cognitive Function
  • Supports the Nervous System
  • Important for Healthy Digestion
  • Healthy Skin
  • Relief of Arthritis Pain

Sources

  • Turkey Breast
  • Chicken Breast
  • Peanuts
  • Liver
  • Tuna
  • Mushrooms
  • Green Peas
  • Grass Fed Beef
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Avocado

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

Riboflavin is one of eight B vitamins. The B vitamins help the body to convert food into fuel. It is important to get enough B2 in your diet as it affects how some other B vitamins like B12 and folic acid do their jobs. The complex of B vitamins also help to synthesize fats and protein. Taking the full complex of B vitamins are also helpful for helping the body to combat stress. It is also the B vitamin that makes your pee turn bright yellow so you can tell if you are getting enough – actually, the flavin in riboflavin comes from flavus – the Latin word for yellow. :) We need to acquire riboflavin from our diets, ideally every day to keep optimum healthy levels.

this image from vitaminsestore.com

Why You Need It

  • Maintains Healthy Blood Cells
  • Is an Antioxidant
  • Boosts Energy Levels
  • Protects Skin & Eye Health
  • Promotes Healthy Metabolism
  • Promotes Iron Metabolism

Sources

  • Meats
  • Organ meats
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Soy Beans
  • Spinach
  • Beet Greens
  • Tempeh
  • Yoghurt
  • Crimini Mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Almonds
  • Turkey
  • Sea Vegetables
  • Collard Greens
  • Kale
  • Bok Choi
  • Green Beans
  • Swiss Chard
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Shitake Mushrooms

 

 

JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
Join over 5000 subscribers and start learning how to use traditional wisdom to live a healthy lifestyle in the modern world. Welcome!
We hate spam. Your email address will never be sold or shared. Ever.
Share the love <3
Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on LinkedInShare on Reddit
error: Content is protected !!