Vitamin Supplements: 20 Cheap Foods to Eat Instead
Check out our list of 20 foods to get the nutrients you need. From a dietary dose of B-12 to the food highest in zinc, this list outlines how you can increase the nutrients in your diet naturally through the foods you eat. Forget vitamin supplements, here are 20 cheap foods to eat instead.
Vitamin B6Why you need it: This B vitamin helps the body metabolize protein and some carbohydrates, helps to create red blood cells and enzyme reactions. A small study found that it may help with morning sickness. The daily intake of vitamin B6 is 1.3 mg for adult women.
Eat this:A bowl of Kellogg’s All Bran has 186% of your daily value (3.7 mg).
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Vitamin B7Why you need it: You may know this by its alternative name, biotin. Vitamin B7 is involved in metabolizing fats and carbohydrates. Deficiency of biotin is recognized by thinning hair. Recommended daily allowance is 30 mcg.
Eat this:Three cooked eggs contains 30 mcg.
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Vitamin B12Why you need it: Like vitamin B6, B12 works to help create red blood cells as well as helps with brain function and the immune system. Women should get 2.4 mcg per day, and the requirements increase with pregnancy (2.6 mcg) and breastfeeding (2.8 mcg).
Eat this:Half a 200-g tin of light tuna has 2.5 mcg.
Vitamin CWhy you need it: Vitamin C is an antioxidant known as ascorbic acid. It’s good for collagen and other tissue production, and is necessary for healing. It also helps the body absorb iron. Despite what you may have read, taking vitamin C doesn’t stop you from catching a cold , but it may shorten how long you have one. Adults are recommended 60 mg a day.
Eat this:You might think an orange as the food with most vitamin C at 52 mg, but 1 cup of broccoli florets offers 66 mg.
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Vitamin DWhy you need it: Vitamin D is key for healthy bones, which is why women at risk for or have been diagnosed with osteoporosis may need to get more vitamin D. The recommended daily allowance is 1,000 mg.
Eat this:Three glasses of milk will do the trick. Canned salmon is also good food with vitamin D, just make sure you choose with bones – half a tin has 1,408 IU.
CaffeineWhy you need it: Caffeine is a stimulant that effects the central nervous system, to increase energy and focus. There is no reference daily intake or allowance, as you don’t actually “need” caffeine, but some people take it before a workout or if they’re tired. In otherwise healthy adults, up to 400 mg of caffeine a day is considered safe. Pregnant women, children, those at risk of heart attack or high blood pressure are advised to avoid caffeine.
Eat this:About three to five cups of coffee a day contains 400 mg of caffeine. Even decaffeinated coffee has some — about 15 mg.
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CalciumWhy you need it: Calcium is well known for how it helps keep bones and teeth strong, but this mineral also helps with muscle function, too. Generally, the DRI for adults is 1,000 mg of calcium and 100 mg more if you’re pregnant. To figure out how much calcium you need today, check this calcium calculator.
Eat this: A bowl of cornflakes is 100 per cent with 1,000 mg of calcium.
CholineWhy you need it: Choline is a B vitamin, so it helps with metabolism (fats) as well as cell structure and signalling — ensuring our bodies and brains work the way they should. It’s also important for female hormones, and women who are pregnant require more. Adequate intake of choline for healthy adult females is 425 mg per day (add 25 mg for pregnancy).
Eat this:A cup of scrambled eggs is about what you need, at 420 mg of choline.
FibreWhy you need it: There’s a reason your mom told you to eat your fibre. It’s good for keeping your bowels regular, helps lower blood cholesterol levels, and it also helps with weight loss and management. Healthy adult women are advised to have 25 mg of fibre per day, and it’s 28 mg for pregnant women.
Eat this:The key to fibre is to space it out through your day. Have instant oatmeal for breakfast (5 g), a banana for a snack (6 g), pasta salad for lunch (8 g), and two pieces of whole wheat bread (4 g) and a handful of canned green beans (2 to 4 g).
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FolateWhy you need it: Another B vitamin (you’re getting how important B vitamins are, aren’t you?) folate/folic acid help with cell development, which is why pregnant and trying to conceive women are told to supplement with folate. The recommended daily amount of folate/folic acid is 400 mcg.
Eat this:One cup of lentils is 90% of the daily value for folic acid — 360 mcg.
GlucosamineWhy you need it: Glucosamine is derived from shell fish. In us humans, it helps joints as a cartilage. People take glucosamine for treating osteoarthritis, knee pain and may help with inflammation. It’s not safe for those with seafood allergies. There is no RDI or DV for glucosamine. But supplements tend to be between 1,000 to 1,500 mg.
Eat this:Seafood shells, like that from crab, shrimp and lobster, contain glucosamine, which isn’t very cheap or appetizing. So for this one, talk to your health care provider about if you should be taking the supplements.
IronWhy you need it: Iron is a mineral that helps the body produce red blood cells and helps to move oxygen throughout the body. Menstruating women are recommended to have 18 mg of iron daily.
Eat this:Half cup of edamame (in the frozen foods aisle) has almost your required iron for the day (14 mg). Sneak two tbsp of peanut butter (2 mg) and have five ounces of chicken for dinner (2 mg), and you’ve reached 18 mg.
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MagnesiumWhy you need it: Magnesium is a mineral that supports muscle and bones, and it’s also been shown to help blood pressure. Some also take magnesium for its laxative and muscle relaxant effects. The RDA for magnesium is 320 mg per day.
Eat this:Two cups of cooked spinach provides the RDA.
MelatoninWhy you need it: We naturally have melatonin, a hormone in our pineal glands that controls our sleep cycles. It doesn’t put you to sleep but rather stimulates a sleep cycle, which is why some people use it for jet lag and traveling. Doses can range between 0.2 mg and 20 mg.
Eat this:Tomatoes ranks high with melatonin (about 8 ng per gram).
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Omega 3sWhy you need it: Supplements for omega-3 fatty acids usually consist of fish oil, and are taken to help with heart health. Omega 3s contain both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It’s recommended that adults get 250 to 500 mg combined EPA and DHA.
Eat this:Add 1 tsp of canola oil to your salad dressing and you get 261 mg of omega 3s.
ProbioticsWhy you need it: Probiotics are live microbes that are used to help with digestion. There are studies that show its promise for the immune system and weight loss, but it’s not yet definitive. There is no recommended dose/intake, but 1 billion colony forming units and containing the genus Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium or Saccharomyces boulardii, are some of the most researched probiotics.
Eat this:Probiotics aren’t measured in foods like other nutrients and chemicals in this article. But foods do naturally contain probiotics, like yogurt, sauerkraut, pickles and miso broth.
ProteinWhy you need it: Protein helps build and repair tissue, but it has also been shown to help with weight loss as well as hair and nails. Generally, adult women who weigh 150 pounds should have 56 g of protein per day.
Eat this:A 3-oz flank steak (fat trimmed) offers 24 g of protein, a chicken thigh has 28 g, and a cup of cooked lentils offers 18 g.
ResveratrolWhy you need it: Resveratrol is an antioxidant often talked about because it’s found in wine and red grapes. While not conclusive, some research suggests that it may help with blood pressure, inflammation, and more. There is no reference daily intake, but supplements usually offer 50 mg.
Eat this:Like we need an excuse to drink wine? A glass of red wine offers 2 mg of resveratrol. Dry more your style? Red grapes (1 mg per cup) and peanut butter (about 1 mg per tbsp) have resveratrol, too
ZincWhy you need it: Zinc is one hard-working nutrient. It helps with metabolism, wound healing, immunity, eye health and so much more. The RDA is 8 mg for healthy adult women, and 12 to 13 mg for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Eat this:A lean beef patty has 5 mg of zinc, a fat-trimmed porkchop has 3 mg and a half cup of baked beans offers 3 mg too.
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