Vitamins are organic compounds that play an important role in our nutrition and growth. Most people don’t get enough vitamins and minerals from their diet and that is why the supplements industry is booming. Multivitamins are most popular options, you pop a pill a day and you’re done. Vitamins are either absorbed right away and have to be replenished daily (water soluble vitamins) or they are stored in our tissues and don’t have to be replenished daily (fat soluble vitamins). Our body needs limited amounts of vitamins, but it’s highly unlikely that you will get too much of any vitamin from whole foods. Overdosing from taking too much supplements does occur.
Water Soluble vitamins are absorbed in small intestine and they enter the bloodstream right away. That means that you have to take them daily and some of them are best taken few times a day, like vitamin C. Water soluble vitamins are vitamins C and all 8 B-complex vitamins.
Fat soluble vitamins dissolve in fat and are best absorbed when taken with some fat. Once they’re digested, they dissolve in body fat via bile in liver and small intestine and are than stored in body tissue until needed. Fat soluble vitamins are A, D, K and E.
If you eat regular, everyday Superfoods, you should get enough vitamins A, C and E and most of the minerals because of abundant of fruits, veggies (leafy greens and avocado especially), nuts and seeds. But depending on the source of protein, you will get different animal based vitamins (vitamin A – retinoid, B vitamins, vitamin D). Eating animal based superfoods like fatty fish, eggs, yogurt, organ meats (or lean beef) will get you most of the vitamins. But if you stick to chicken, you won’t get enough of all vitamins. Overall, variety is the key. Basically, fatty fish (go with cheaper herrings or mackerel, it doesn’t have to be always salmon or tuna), organ meats, eggs and yogurt will provide you with most of the nutrients. Try to squeeze organ meats or other source of B12 at least twice a week, grind them and mix them with other foods (e.g. with rice and ground beef for stuffed peppers), make pates or simply prepare them as usual, with sauted onions. Don’t forget to marinate liver or kidneys in milk or water with 1/3 of vinegar. That will take out the unpleasent smell.
When I switched to Superfoods diet, my goal was to take all my nutrients from the food. And I think that I’m doing pretty well, since only supplements that I take occasionally are Omega-3 and vitamin D. I’m trying to eat fatty fish 3-4 times a week and on other days I take Krill Oil Omega-3 supplement. Any fatty fish or Omega-3 supplement will be rich in vitamins D and A, besides Omega-3, and with that one supplement you will cover these very important nutrients. If you think that you won’t be able to follow Superfoods Diet and that you need multivitamins, here is a good one.
Best Vitamins for Women
Women need all vitamins, but some are more important than the others:
B9 – Folic Acid is crucial for numeric bodily functions, but it’s especially important for brain. It is essential if you’re of childbearing age to prevent birth defects and risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida. You should start taking Folic Acid at least 3 months before you plan to get pregnant.
D – More than 50% of population suffers from vitamin D sufficiency, either because of lack of sun exposures in winter months or because they don’t eat vitamin D rich foods. It is required for absorbing calcium and repairing bone, cell growth and immune system. It also prevents inflammation. Sources of vitamin D are eggs, mushrooms, fatty fish and beef liver. Sources of calcium are dairy, green leafy veggies, nuts and seeds. If you think that you won’t get enough vitamin D or calcium from the food you eat, bear in mind that women should take extra calcium and vitamin D and take supplements: calcium ,vitamin D.
B6 – Important for metabolism and brain function. Vitamin B6 supports other B-complex vitamins.
B12 – B12 is important for metabolism, protein synthesis and normal cell division.
Additionally to above mentioned vitamins, women should take Omega -3 supplements in case they don’t eat enough of fatty fish and that supplement should take care of vitamin D needs as well. Since some women suffer from anemia, proper iron and magnesium intake is recommended. Sources of iron are red meat, fish, leafy green veggies, eggs, beans. Sources of magnesium are nuts, cocoa, sea veggies, dark leafy veggies, beans and ginger. If you think that you won’t get enough iron from the food you eat or you are vegan, try iron and magnesium supplements.
Best Vitamins for Men
Men also need all vitamins but some are more important than the others and they should not be missing:
B3 – Niacin lowers cholesterol and that translates into lower risk of stroke, heart attack or cardiovascular disease.
B12 – Cobalamin is essential for nerves, widens blood vessels and boosts good cholesterol.
K2 – reduces risk of heart attack and reduces risk of prostate cancer
D – More than 50% of population suffers from vitamin D sufficiency, either because of lack of sun exposures in winter months or because they don’t eat vitamin D rich foods.
B2 – Riboflavin is also called energy vitamin. Enough said.
E – Boost libido (zinc does that too), strengthens immune system and it’s antioxidant. Sources of vitamin E are olive oil, green leafy vegetables, avocado, broccoli and pumpkin and sources of zinc are organ meats, mushrooms, beans, dark leafy veggies, yogurt and scallops. If you think that you won’t get enough from the foods that you eat or you want extra boost :-), try supplements: Vitamin E , Zinc.
Additionally to above mentioned vitamins, men should take Omega -3 supplements in case they don’t eat enough of fatty fish and again, this supplement will take care of vitamin D as well.