A healthy diet is one that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars. But just what minerals and nutrients are vital to our health and well-being? Consider these nutrient-dense foods when you’re looking to improve your vitamin and mineral intake.
1. Vitamins A and B
We need vitamin A for good eyesight and optimal functioning of the immune system. Cod liver oil, dairy products, sweet potatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables are all great natural food sources of vitamin A.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamin, is imperative to the body’s ability to process carbohydrates. Whole-grain bread, cereals, and pasta have high amounts of thiamin.
Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, can be found in fortified cereals, almonds, asparagus, eggs, and meat. It’s used in many body processes, including converting food into energy and the production of red blood cells.
Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, can be found in lean chicken, tuna, salmon, turkey, enriched flour, peanuts, and fortified cereals. It aids in digestion and also plays a key role in converting food into energy.
We can find vitamin B6 in fortified cereals, fortified soy-based meat substitutes, baked potatoes with skin, bananas, light-meat chicken and turkey eggs, and spinach. It’s vital for a healthy nervous system and helps break down proteins and stored sugars.
Vitamin B12 is needed for creating red blood cells and can be found in beef, clams, mussels, crabs, salmon, poultry, and soybeans.