Food Sources for Minerals and Vitamins

When it comes to minerals and vitamins, you're probably looking for the bottom line: How much do you need, and what foods have them? The list below will help you out. It covers all the minerals and vitamins you should get, preferably from food.


  Foods that have it: How much you need: What it does: Don't get more than this much:
Calcium Milk, fortified nondairy alternatives like soy milk, yogurt, hard cheeses, fortified cereals, kale Women age 51 and older: 1,200 mg
Men age 51 and older: 1,000 mg
Needed for bone growth and strength, blood clotting, muscle contraction, and more 2,500 mg for adults age 50 and younger, 2,000 mg for those 51 and older
Choline Milk, liver, eggs, peanuts Men: 550 mg
Women: 425 mg
Helps make cells 3,500 mg
Chromium Broccoli, potatoes, meats, poultry, fish, some cereals Men age 51 and up: 30 µ-gms
Women age 51 and up: 20 µ-gms
Helps control blood sugar levels No upper limit known for adults
Copper Seafood, nuts, seeds, wheat bran cereals, whole grains Adults: 900 µ-gms Helps your body process iron 10,000 µ-gms for adults
Fiber Plant foods, including oatmeal, lentils, peas, beans, fruits, and vegetables Men age 51 and up: 30 grams
Women age 51 and up: 21 grams
Helps with digestion, lowers LDL ("bad") cholesterol, helps you feel full, and helps maintain blood sugar levels No upper limit from foods for adults
Fluoride Fluoridated water, some sea fish Men: 4 mg
Women: 3 mg
Prevents cavities in teeth, helps with bone growth 10 mg for adults
Folic acid (folate) Dark, leafy vegetables; enriched and whole grain breads; fortified cereals Adults: 400 µ-gms Helps prevent birth defects, important for heart health and for cell development 1,000 µ-gms for adults
Iodine Seaweed, seafood, dairy products, processed foods, iodized salt Adults: 150 µ-gms Helps make thyroid hormones 1,100 µ-gms for adults
Iron Fortified cereals, beans, lentils, beef, turkey (dark meat), soy beans, spinach Men age 19 and up: 8 mg
Women ages 19-50: 18 mg ; Women age 51 and up: 8 mg
Needed for red blood cells and many enzymes 45 mg for adults
Magnesium Green leafy vegetables, nuts, dairy, soybeans, potatoes, whole wheat, quinoa Men age 31 and up: 420 mg
Women age 31 and up: 320 mg
Helps with heart rhythm, muscle and nerve function, bone strength For the magnesium that’s naturally in food and water, there is no upper limit.
For magnesium in supplements or fortified foods: 350 mg
Manganese Nuts, beans and other legumes, tea, whole grains Men: 2.3 mg
Women: 1.8 mg
Helps form bones and make some enzymes 11 mg for adults
Molybdenum Legumes, leafy vegetables, grains, nuts Adults: 45 µ-gms Needed to make some enzymes 2,000 µ-gms for adults
Phosphorus Milk and other dairy products, peas, meat, eggs, some cereals and breads Adults: 700 mg Cells need it to work normally. Helps make energy. Needed for bone growth. Adults up to age 70: 4,000 mg . Adults age 70 and older: 3,000 mg
Potassium Potatoes, bananas, yogurt, milk, yellowfin tuna, soybeans Adults: 4,700 mg Cells need it to work normally. Helps make energy. Needed for bone growth. Adults up to age 70: 4,000 mg . Adults age 70 and older: 3,000 mg
Selenium Organ meats, seafood, dairy, some plants (if grown in soil with selenium), Brazil nuts Adults: 55 µ-gms Protects cells from damage. Helps manage thyroid hormone. 400 µ-gms for adults
Sodium Foods made with added salt, such as processed and restaurant foods Adults ages 51-70: up to 1,300 mg
Adults age 71 and up: up to 1,200 mg
Important for fluid balance 2,300 mg for adults, or as instructed by a doctor if high blood pressure, etc.
Zinc Red meats, some seafood, fortified cereals Men: 11 mg
Women: 8 mg
Supports your immune system and nerve function. Also important for reproduction. 40 mg for adults
Vitamin A Sweet potatoes, carrots, spinach, fortified cereals Men: 900 µ-gms
Women: 700 µ-gms
Essential for vision Lycopene may lower prostate cancer risk. Keeps tissues and skin healthy. Plays an important role in bone growth. Diets rich in the carotenoids alpha carotene and lycopene seem to lower lung cancer risk. Carotenoids act as antioxidants. Foods rich in the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin may protect against cataracts 3,000 mcg for adults
Vitamin B1 (thiamine) Whole-grain, enriched, fortified products; bread; cereals Men: 1.2 mg
Women: 1.1 mg
Helps convert food into energy. Needed for healthy skin, hair, muscles, and brain No upper limit known for adults
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) Milk, bread products, fortified cereals Men: 1.3 mg
Women: 1.1 mg
Helps convert food into energy. Also helps make red blood cells. Needed for healthy skin, hair, blood, and brain No upper limit known for adults
Vitamin B3 (niacin) Meat, fish, poultry, enriched and whole grain breads, fortified cereals Men: 16 mg
Women: 14 mg
Helps with digestion and with making cholesterol No upper limit from natural sources. If you're taking niacin supplements, or getting niacin from fortified foods, don't get more than 35 mg.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) Chicken, beef, potatoes, oats, cereals, tomatoes Adults: 5 mg Helps turn carbs, protein, and fat into energy No upper limit known for adults
Vitamin B6 Fortified cereals, fortified soy products, chickpeas, potatoes, organ meats Men age 51 and up: 1.7 mg
Women age 51 and up: 1.5 mg
Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may reduce the risk of heart diseaseHelps convert tryptophan to niacin and serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays key roles in sleep, appetite, and moods. Helps make red blood cells Influences cognitive abilities and immune function 100 mg for adults
Vitamin B7 (biotin) Liver, fruits, meats Adults: 30 µ-gms Helps your body make fats, protein, and other things your cells need No upper limit known
Vitamin B12 Fish, poultry, meat, dairy products, fortified cereals Adults: 2.4 mcg Aids in lowering homocysteine levels and may lower the risk of heart disease. Assists in making new cells and breaking down some fatty acids and amino acids. Protects nerve cells and encourages their normal growth Helps make red blood cells No upper limit known
Vitamin C Red and green peppers, kiwis, oranges and other citrus fruits, strawberries, broccoli, tomatoes Men: 90 mg
Women: 75 mg
Helps protect against cell damage, supports the immune system, and helps your body make collagen 2,000 mg for adults
Vitamin D Fish liver oils, fatty fish, fortified milk products, fortified cereals Adults age 71 and older: 800 IU Needed for bones, muscles, the immune system, and communication between the brain and the rest of your body 4,000 IU for adults unless directed by your doctor
Vitamin E Fortified cereals, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanut butter, vegetable oils Adults: 15 mg Helps protect cells against damage 1,000 mg for adults
Vitamin K Green vegetables like spinach, collards, and broccoli; Brussels sprouts; cabbage Men: 120 µ-gms
Women: 90 µ-gms
Important in blood clotting and bone health Unknown