By: Sasha Klemawesch, MD
If the previous article freaked you out about taking supplements, here is a list of common things people often take in pill form and corresponding foods which they could instead be eating to reap the same (or better) benefits. Every registered dietitian I’ve ever encountered says the same thing; “save your money”! You don’t need oodles of vitamins and mineral tablets if you are eating a healthy balanced diet. And the majority of the ingredients you are buying would be better absorbed from their natural food form anyways.
POTASSIUM – Dried apricots, potatoes (esp. with the skin still on), dark greens like spinach and swiss chard, lentils, prunes, tomato juice or puree, raisins, beans, and of course, bananas
CALCIUM Milk, yogurt, cheese, sardines, dark greens like spinach and kale, figs, rhubarb, almonds and many products which have been fortified such as cereal, OJ, soymilk, waffles, etc.
VITAMIN K Kale, mustard & collard greens, swiss chard, natto, broccoli, brussel sprouts, and beef liver
VITAMIN D Salmon (in particular wild salmon as opposed to farmed), herring sardines, cod liver oil,
Oysters, egg yolks (esp. ones from free range chickens) as with Calcium many things like milk & OJ are fortified with extra D as well
VITAMIN C Guava, red & green peppers (esp. the sweet reds), tomato juice, oranges & OJ, strawberries, papaya, broccoli and potatoes
IRON Your body can absorb much more iron from animal sources like lean beef, oysters, chicken and turkey, than from plants. But, beans, lentils, tofu, potatoes, cashews, and dark greens also have a good amount of iron, and many cereals and grains are fortified with it as well
NIACIN (B3) Liver, chicken breast, tuna, turkey, salmon (again, the wild type), anchovies, brown rice, whole wheat, sunflower seeds, mangoes and nectarines
THIAMINE (B1) Most breads, cereals and baby formulas are fortified in the US. Foods naturally high in B1 include pork, trout, black beans and acorn squash
FOLATE (B6) Since 1998 the FDA began to require enriched breads, cereals, flour, etc. to contain a substantial amount of folic acid, so very few Americans are deficient in it. Natural sources include beef liver, spinach, black eyed peas, asparagus and brussel sprouts.
VITAMIN B12 Clams, beef liver, rainbow trout, salmon and fortified breakfast cereals
PHOSPHORUS Chicken, turkey, pork, organ meats, carp, pollack, low & non-fat dairy products and sunflower and pumpkin seeds
OMEGA 3’s Mackerel, salmon, herring, oysters, cod liver oil, caviar, sardines, flax & chia seeds and walnuts