Can you get the recommended vitamins and minerals in a whole foods plant-based diet?
You might wonder if it’s possible to get all the essential nutrients you need from a whole-foods, plant-based diet.
The answer is…Yes!
Not only will you get all the essential nutrients from a WFPB diet, but also other phytochemicals and antioxidants found in plants that you won’t find anywhere else.
If you are on a path to adopt the whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, then keep reading to learn which foods contain these vital nutrients..
Vitamin A is a must for healthy vision and bone growth. The health of your teeth, skin and immune system depends on how much Vitamin A you consume.
Green leafy vegetables, and yellow vegetables and fruits, such as banana, pineapple, and corn, are an abundant source of Vitamin A.
Vitamin B Complex
The Vitamin B Complex family comprises the 8 B vitamins, each of which is responsible for a different function in the body:
- Vitamin B1 – Thiamine
Vitamin B1 (also known as thiamine) processes the carbohydrates and proteins in your body that generate cellular energy. This energy is essential for the synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA).
Whole-grain and fortified products, such as bread and cereals are a great source of Vitamin B1.
- Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin
Vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin) converts energy from food and supports the production of red blood cells.
A rich source of Vitamin B2 is found in whole grains, fortified cereals, and green leafy vegetables.
- Vitamin B3 – Niacin
Vitamin B3 (also known as niacin) is a nutrient that helps with cholesterol production and smooth digestion in the body.
Fortified cereals, whole grains, mushrooms, and potatoes are an abundant source of niacin.
- Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid
Vitamin B5 (also known as pantothenic acid) regulates your energy by processing the proteins and carbohydrates within your body. Overall, it influences the normal growth and development of the body.
We can find Vitamin B5 in whole grains, broccoli, avocados, mushrooms, and tomatoes.
- Vitamin B6 – Pyridoxine
Vitamin B6 (Also known as pyridoxine) is a necessity for a healthy immune system and metabolism. Vitamin B6 is essential for the development of a child’s brain whilst it’s still in the womb.
Legumes, tofu, soy products, bananas, and wheat germs, are an abundant source of Vitamin B6.
- Vitamin B7 – Biotin
Vitamin B7 (also known as biotin) helps in the body’s production of hormones by breaking down proteins and carbohydrates.
Whole grains, soybeans, mushrooms, bananas, watermelon, and grapefruit are rich in Biotin.
- Vitamin B9 – Folic acid
Vitamin B9 (also known as folic acid) is necessary for cell renewal and preventing birth defects during pregnancy. Vitamin B9 is essential for pregnant women to maintain the health of their babies, particularly its nervous system.
We find Vitamin B9 in fortified grains, asparagus, spinach, broccoli, chickpeas, orange juice, mushrooms, and nuts.
- Vitamin B12 – Cobalamin
Vitamin B12 (also known as Cobalamin) plays a key role in the production of red blood cells, DNA, and the body’s overall growth and nerve function.
A key source of Vitamin B12 is fortified cereals..
Vitamin C protects your body against cell damage and boosts your immune system. Production of collagen, which is very important for your skin, is also depends on the intake of Vitamin C. Researchers even suggest that regular intake of Vitamin C supplements can prevent and shorten symptoms of the common cold and flu. This is especially true for high performing athletes.
Foods high in Vitamin C are citrus fruits, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, tomatoes, and brussels sprouts.
Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones, muscles, and a strong immune system. It also assists in the development of your brain, and the nervous system.
Fortified cereals and oranges are a great source of Vitamin D. Another great and abundant source is sun exposure.
Vitamin E strengthens the immune system and protects cells against damage. It also plays an important role in regulating cell signaling and assists the body in using Vitamin K. Some studies suggest that a sufficient intake of Vitamin E can prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and heart disease.
We find vitamin E in healthy vegetable oils, green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and nuts.
Vitamin K is not a single compound, more so a group of compounds, and is necessary for producing prothrombin, a protein that maintains blood clotting and bone metabolism.
Rich sources of Vitamin K are leafy and cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, spinach, brussels sprouts, and broccoli.
The health of your bones and teeth depends on calcium. During childhood and adolescence, we need calcium for the development of healthy bones, teeth and gums. As we get older, we need calcium to maintain healthy bone mass.
Tofu, black molasses, and nuts are a powerhouse of calcium.
Chloride is the most important electrolyte found in your blood cells. It helps maintain blood pressure, PH of the body fluids, and proper blood volume.
Salt is your key source of chloride. Chlorine deficiency is rare and is avoidable by adding salt to your foods or eating salty foods.
We need magnesium for heart health, bone strength and nerve function.
Good sources of magnesium are spinach, broccoli, legumes, seeds, and whole-wheat bread.
A diet rich in potassium maintains a healthy blood pressure. According to several studies, it even lowers the chance of kidney stones.
Whole grains, legumes, potatoes, coconut water, bananas, and soybeans are a powerhouse of potassium.
The proper functioning of muscles and nerves depend on your consumption of sodium. Sodium also maintains the balance of fluid in and around your cells.
We find sodium in salt and soy sauce.
Chromium maintains the energy levels for your cells. In short, it controls the glucose level of the body.
We find Chromium in nuts, potatoes, and fortified cereals.
Copper helps absorb iron into your body.
Nuts, seeds, whole-grain products, beans, and prunes are good sources of copper.
Fluoride is essential for preventing cavities in your teeth.
Tea and fluoridated water are a great source of fluoride.
Your thyroid depends on iodine.
We find iodine in one of your most-used kitchen ingredients, salt, so long as the salt is iodized.
Iron intake is essential for building muscles and blood production.
Whole-food and plant-based products such as fruits, green vegetables, pumpkin seeds, beans, lentils, and fortified bread are abundant in iron.
Manganese maintains heart rhythm, muscle, and nerve function. It also maintains bone strength.
Green leafy vegetables, nuts, soybeans, potatoes, whole wheat, tea, and quinoa are abundant in manganese.
Like iodine, selenium is another essential mineral for your thyroid. Selenium also prevents damage to your body cells.
We find selenium only in walnuts, brazil nuts, and plants grown specifically for the source of selenium.
Zinc is the most important mineral for maintaining reproductive health. Zinc is also responsible for a better immune system and nerve function.
We find zinc in legumes and whole grains.
A whole-foods, plant-based diet can provide all the nutrients required to maintain optimal health.
Note: Some diseases and medications may affect how you respond to vitamins and minerals. Always consult with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet.