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Sharp Health News

Eat your vitamins (infographic)

Feb. 6, 2017

Mom always said, "Take your vitamins." But did she know you're better off eating nutrient-dense foods? Probably (moms know everything). But in case you're wondering how to get these nutrients, we asked our expert for advice. Ursula Ridens, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Sharp HealthCare's Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Program and certified intuitive eating counselor, shares a few key players.

Eat your vitamins (infographic). Taking supplements has its benefits, but nutrients are better absorbed in their natural whole-food state. Try these delicious foods to get your daily dose of vitamins and minerals. Iron. This mineral makes proteins that carry oxygen throughout your body. Foods rich in iron include poultry, lean meat, seafood and nuts. Signs you’re not getting enough iron include fatigue, upset stomach, poor memory and a weakened immune system. Vitamin B-12. This vitamin is important for healthy nerves and blood cells. Foods rich in vitamin B-12 include clams, seafood, lean meat and eggs. Signs you’re not getting enough B-12 include fatigue, weakness, depression and confusion. Folate. This B vitamin aids in DNA production and cell development. Foods rich in folate include spinach, citrus fruits, lentils and asparagus. Signs you are not getting enough folate include tongue sores, weakness, fatigue, irritability and trouble concentrating. Vitamin D. This vitamin is necessary for calcium absorption in the bones; nerve and muscle health; and strengthening the immune system. Foods rich in vitamin D include fatty fish, egg yolks, fortified milk and fortified orange juice. Signs you’re not getting enough vitamin D include weak bones, bone pain and muscle weakness. Calcium. This mineral is important for strong teeth and bones and helps blood vessels move blood throughout the body. Foods rich in calcium include milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt. Signs you’re not getting enough calcium include weak bones, osteoporosis and bone fractures. Vitamin C. This vitamin is important for the immune system, wound healing and cell protection. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, strawberries, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Signs you’re not getting enough vitamin C include scurvy (though rare) – which causes fatigue – swollen gums and joint pain. Zinc. This mineral helps the immune system fight off bacteria and viruses and helps with sense of taste and smell. Foods rich in zinc include oysters, lean meat, yogurt and cashews. Signs you’re not getting enough zinc include poor appetite, weakened immune function, hair loss and skin sores. Magnesium. This mineral helps regulate blood pressure, blood sugar and muscle function. Foods rich in magnesium include nuts, spinach, avocados and peanut butter. Signs you are not getting enough magnesium include poor appetite, nausea, weakness and muscle cramps. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by all the nitty-gritty details of vitamins and minerals, says Ursula Ridens, RDN, a registered dietician at Sharp HealthCare’s Outpatient Nutrition Counseling Program. I find that the best way to meet our nutrient needs is to eat a wide variety of foods from day to day and aim for a balance between all of the food groups.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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