Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant, which means that it may help protect your cells from damage. You’ve probably heard that you should eat carrots to improve your eyesight. That’s because carrots are high in vitamin A. Vitamin A is also important for bone growth, cell functioning, cell reproduction and the immune system. Foods high in Vitamin A include:

  • Liver
  • Sweet potato
  • Leafy greens
  • Carrots
  • Pumpkin
  • Apricots
  • Tomatoes
  • Mango
  • Cantaloupe and Watermelon

Vitamin C

Like Vitamin A, Vitamin C is an antioxidant. Vitamin C has many uses in the body; it helps iron be absorbed, it helps in the formation of collagen, which is used to make skin, bones and connective tissues; and it helps the body repair and heal. We often think about oranges when thinking about foods high in Vitamin C, but there are several other foods high in Vitamin C:

  • Citrus fruits
  • Cantaloupe and Watermelon
  • Green and red bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Mango
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries
  • Kiwi
  • Sweet and white potatoes
  • Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower
  • Winter squash

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important because it helps our bodies absorb calcium. Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun, but we can also get Vitamin D from foods. Vitamin D is mostly found in foods that have been fortified (had vitamins and minerals added), such as cereal, orange juice and milk. Other foods that have vitamin D include:

  • Fatty fish (tuna, salmon, and mackerel)
  • Beef liver
  • Cheese
  • Egg yolks
  • Mushrooms


Calcium plays an important role in maintaining strong bones and teeth; adequate levels of calcium can protect against osteoporosis later in life. Calcium also plays a role in nerve cell signaling; it helps muscles move; helps blood move through the blood vessels; and helps release hormones in the body. Calcium is food in many foods including:

  • Dairy products such as yogurt, cheese, and milk
  • Sardines and salmon (when eaten with bones)
  • Calcium-fortified foods such as; tofu, cereal, bread and fruit juices


Potassium is important for nervous and muscular system function. Potassium also helps balance out the negative effects of sodium. Both meat and plants are sources of potassium. Most Americans don’t eat enough Potassium. Food sources of Potassium include:

  • Dairy products, such as milk and yogurt
  • Seafood, such as Halibut, Clams, Tuna and Cod • Tomatoes
  • Sweet and white potatoes
  • Various beans and legumes, such as soybeans, white beans, lentils and lima beans
  • Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale and collards
  • Bananas
  • Prunes
  • Peaches
  • Apricots


Iron plays an important role in moving oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Iron also helps store oxygen in our muscles. While we can get iron from both animal and plant sources, our bodies are better at absorbing iron from animal sources. Eating foods high in iron with foods high in vitamin C can improve absorption of iron. Animal sources of iron include:

  • Eggs
  • Liver
  • Salmon
  • Clams
  • Tuna
  • Beef
  • Oysters

Plant sources include

  • Iron-fortified cereal
  • Dried fruit (apricots, raisins, prunes)
  • Beans (soybeans, kidney beans, lima beans, dried beans and peas)
  • Dark green vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, collards)
  • Whole grains