With so much focus on the Big 3 (Fats, Carbs and Protein), the importance of vitamins and minerals sometimes get lost in the shuffle. We all know vitamins are an essential piece to the overall health and wellness puzzle, and it’s much more important to eat your vitamins instead of relying on a multivitamin pill. Food trumps pills any day of the week, and unlike pills, whole foods sources of vitamins provide an array of macro AND micro nutrients that help your body thrive.
Here’s a breakdown of the most common vitamins, why they’re important and how you can find them in clean, whole-food sources:
Vitamin A: Important for a strong immune system as well as healthy vision, Vitamin A has been shown to lower risk of lung cancer. Because Vitamin A can build up in your system when it comes from supplements, be sure to get your recommended daily dose from whole foods instead of pills.
- Sweet Potatoes
- Red Peppers
- Black-Eyed Peas
Vitamin B: B vitamins help your body convert food into energy AND they help maintain healthy brain and nervous system function. Folate, aka B9, is essential for healthy pregnancy and B12 keeps red blood cells and neurological function strong.
Vitamin C: Critical for a strong immune system, Vitamin C also boosts the body’s collagen production, keeping skin cells healthy and vibrant. Eat your vitamins by consuming the Vitamin C found in lemon juice, which also helps the liver metabolize fat.
- Red Pepper
Vitamin E: Important for heart health and a strong immune system, Vitamin E has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease as well as prostate cancer.
- Olive Oil
- Peanut Butter (be sure to buy organic, all natural peanut butter; commercial peanut butters have hydrogenated oil, which you want to stay away from always.)
Vitamin K: Essential for strong bones and healthy blood, half of your body’s Vitamin K is produced in the gut and the other half comes from food, which is why those on blood thinner or certain antibiotics should ALWAYS consult their doctor before taking supplements or eating large amounts of greens, which are a great source of this much-needed vitamin.
- Collard Greens
There are a great many additional vitamins and minerals that are necessary for thriving health, but this is a good place to get started. Fill your grocery cart, kitchen cupboards and dinner plates with the food above and eat your vitamins, helping to improve your overall health as well as prevent chronic illness and disease down the line.
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