Vitamin & Mineral Cheat Sheet
Vitamin A – This fat soluble vitamin is primarily responsible for skin and eye health. The two forms are retinol and beta carotene. Retinol is found exclusively in animal foods and is much more bioavailable than the beta carotene form that is exclusively found in plant foods. Vitamin A rich foods include sweet potatoes, liver, full fat dairy, and carrots.
Vitamin B – This water soluble vitamin plays a role in energy levels, cell metabolism, and brain health. Vitamin B12 is the one that is exclusively found in animal products such as beef, fish, and organ meats.
Vitamin C – This water soluble vitamin plays a role in immune health and iron absorption. It is primarily found in plant foods but also some fresh meats. Vitamin C is most abundant in fruits such as strawberries, oranges, kiwis, and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage).
Vitamin D – This fat soluble vitamin is responsible for helping the body absorb calcium and phosphorus which are critical for bone health. The sun and many animal foods have Vitamin D. The most bioavailable form of D is found in animal foods such as fish and full fat dairy.
Vitamin E – This fat soluble vitamin is an antioxidant that helps protect the cells from free radical and oxidative damage. Foods rich in Vitamin E include nuts and seeds such as almonds.
Zinc – This trace mineral is critical for immune health, tissue repair, energy levels, sexual development, and keeping cholesterol levels in check. Foods high in zinc include meat, shellfish, eggs, nuts, and beans.
Magnesium – This mineral is responsible for over 300 enzymatic processes in the body. A few of these include sleep health, digestive health, and muscle recovery. Roughly 50% of Americans are not getting enough magnesium in their daily diet. Magnesium rich foods include spinach, salmon, potatoes, almonds, and dark chocolate.
Potassium – This electrolyte works in balance with sodium to control blood pressure, muscle contractions, and helps maintain appropriate water levels in the body. It can be found in many fruits such as oranges, cranberries, and bananas as well as milk.
Iron – This mineral is crucial for red blood cell health which helps oxygenate the body. The two forms of iron are non-heme and heme iron. Non-heme is found in plants, heme in animal foods. Heme is the more absorbable and bioavailable. Foods high in iron include meat, fish, and dark leafy greens.
Calcium – This trace mineral is the most plentiful throughout the body. As most know, calcium plays a fundamental role in teeth and bone health as well as an important role in muscle contractions. Found in foods such as fish, dairy, and some beans.
Manganese – This trace mineral is crucial for nervous system and bone health. Mostly found in whole grains, manganese is most abundant in foods such as oatmeal, brown rice, and sprouted whole wheat.
Phosphorus – This trace mineral works shoulder to shoulder with calcium to maintain bone health as well as metabolic functions throughout the body. Phosphorus rich foods include meat, fish, and dairy.
Iodine – This mineral is most known for its critical role in thyroid health which in turn is critical for metabolic health. It also helps maintain hair and skin health. Iodine can be found most abundant in sea vegetables (seaweed).