Foods Rich in Vitamins and Minerals – Which Ones Are Best?
What foods are your best bets for health? Generally, it’s food that is a good source of vitamins, minerals, fibers and other nutrients, such as phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are chemicals made by plants that are thought to enhance health. Another thing to look at in sizing up foods rich in vitamins and minerals is the calorie count.
With lower density food, you get a larger portion size and fewer calories. And keep in mind that some foods may help reduce the risk of heart disease or other health problems. Also, you want foods that are readily available. The Mayo Clinic’s top 10 healthy food picks are apples, almonds, blueberries, broccoli, red beans, salmon, spinach, sweet potatoes, vegetable juice and wheat germ.
An Apple a Day, With Almonds
Apples are a terrific source of pectin, a soluble fiber thought to lower blood cholesterol, and a good source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects the cells of the body from damage. It also helps keep blood vessels healthy. Almonds are rich in fiber, riboflavin (one of the B vitamins), magnesium, iron and calcium. Just one serving of almonds can provide half the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E of 15 mg.
Blueberries, Broccoli and Red Beans
Blueberries are a good source of vitamin C and fiber, and one cup of them has only 83 calories. Like cranberries, blueberries may help prevent urinary tract infections. Broccoli is a good source of calcium, potassium, folate (one of the B vitamins), vitamins A and C and fiber. It also contains phytonutrients. Red beans, including dark red kidney beans, contain iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, copper and thiamin (another one of the B vitamins). Like broccoli, red beans have plenty of phytonutrients. And they have a low calorie count.
Spinach, Salmon and Sweet Potatoes
Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat that makes blood less likely to form the clots that cause heart attacks. The fish also contains potassium and phosphorous, thiamin and vitamin A, is low in cholesterol and is a good protein source. If you have spinach on the side, you’ll be eating a vegetable rich in vitamins A, C and folate. Spinach also provides riboflavin (a B vitamin), B6, calcium, iron and magnesium.
Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A, and are good sources of vitamins B6, folate, C and E and the mineral potassium. Like all vegetables, they’re fat free.
Vegetable Juice and Wheat Germ
Vegetable juice is an easy way to get vitamins and minerals into your diet, and it retains most the vitamins and minerals found in the vegetables used to make it. Wheat germ is part of the seed found inside a grain of wheat. It’s rich in vitamins niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, E and folate and in minerals magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, iron and zinc.