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Your Daily Allowance of Vitamins and Minerals 


Water-Soluble vitamins:  Many are not store in the body, so you need do get a consistent amount on a regular basis.

Fat –soluble vitamins:  These vitamins are store in body fat, where they can build up to toxic levels if you take too much. 

Major minerals:  Have important roles in regulating body fluids and maintaining healthy bones

Trace minerals:  These are needed in smaller amounts than major minerals:  Roles include blood clotting and cavity prevention.


Vitamin A

Health Boost:  Helps protect vision.  Some studies find that diets high in carotenoids (which form vitamin A) reduce the risk of cataracts.  Many people take too much via supplements which can damage bones, cause liver damage, increase the risk of lung cancer, hardening of the arteries, and stoke in smokers.  

Recommended Daily Dose: 2,333 IU

Best Food Source: Carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes; orange-colored foods are rich in carotenoids. 

Vitamin B6

Health Boost:  B vitamins have been shown to reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a chemical associated with artery damage, and necessary in the repair of damaged DNA.  Studies conflict over whether B supplements actually reduce heart-disease risk. 

Recommended Daily Dose: 1.3-1.5 mg/day

Best Food Source: Beef, poultry, fish, legumes such as beans, tofu, bananas, watermelon, whole grains, chestnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, spinach, avocado, green peppers

Vitamin B12

Health Boost:  Helps formation of red blood cells and genetic material in cells; important for proper function of nervous system.  Studies in older adults with low levels of B12 perform poorly on memory tests.  As we age, we sometimes don’t absorb this mineral well; about 25 % of people over 66 don’t get enough.  Vegans and strict vegetarians may need a supplement.  Risks if you don’t get enough include anemia, fatigue, and nervousness.

Recommended Daily Dose: 2.4 mcg/day

Best Food Source: Red meat, dairy, poultry; fish; fortified cereal.

Vitamin C

Health Boost: Promotes healthy gums, teeth, skin, and bones; improves wound healing and absorption of iron.  Studies suggest that vitamin C helps prevent cell damage that may decrease cancer like breast and stomach or heart disease.  Supplements may lower the risk of cataracts. 

Risks If You Don’t Get Enough: Dry skin or hair; gum disease; lowered resistance to infection.

Recommended Daily Dose: 75 mg; smokers need more, 110 mg

Best Food Source: Citrus fruits and juices; tomatoes; broccoli; strawberries; spinach; potatoes.

Vitamin D

Health Boost:  Can reduce fractures when taken with calcium.  Help prevents joint degeneration that accompanies arthritis. Suggestions of helping prevent colon, breast, and ovarian cancers and possibly less autoimmune diseases like type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis.  Women, older adults, and blacks are at risk for deficiencies.
Recommended Daily Dose: 200-400 IU/day if under age 60; 400-600 IU/day if above age 60

Best Food Source:  Found in fortified milk and cereals; cod liver oil; fatty fish like tuna, salmon, sardines, oysters; margarine; natural sunlight

Vitamin E

Health Boost:  Neutralizes molecules that can damage cells and may help the body build muscle strength.  Some studies hint that it protects against lung and prostate cancer, and progression of macular degeneration of the eye.  

Recommended Daily Dose:  22 IU from natural sources or 33 IU synthetic vitamin E

Best Food Source: Vegetable oils like corn and cottonseed; green leafy vegetables; nuts and grains; avocadoes

Folic Acid (Folate, B9)

Health Boost: Produces DNA and RNA in cells; helps red blood-cell formation. Essential for women of childbearing age to prevent fetal brain and spinal cord defects such as spina bifida.  Supplements may help prevent colon cancer and Alzheimer’s. Elevated homocysteine, a by-product of protein synthesis, doubles the risk of heart disease.  Adequate intake of folate, decreases homocysteine levels. 

Recommended Daily Dose: 400 mcg; 800-1000 mcg in pregnancy and individual with high homocysteine levels

Best Food Source: Dark-green leafy vegetables like spinach and broccoli; legumes such as beans and peas, fortified cereal, breads, and pasta; whole- grain bread; lentils; orange juice.

Vitamin K

Health Boost:  Essential for blood clotting.  Encourages the maintenance of bones while blocking substances that help break them down. People who get more Vitamin K are less likely to break a hip

Recommended Daily Dose:  90 mcg/day

Best Food Source:  Green, leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale: dairy foods such as milk and eggs; cereals; sprouts; liver



Health Boost: Strengthens bones and teeth; keeps muscles and heart working properly; essential during pregnancy to build your baby’s bones.  Not enough calcium increases you risk for osteopenia/osteoporosis and dental problems.

Recommended Daily Dose: Age 24 and younger 1,200 to 1,500 mg; age 25 and older 1,000mg; pregnant or breastfeeding, 1,200 to 1,500 mg; over 50 1200-1500 mg

Best Food Source: Milk; cheese; yogurt; fortified juice; Non-dairy sources include kale, bok choy, spinach, broccoli.


Health Boost:  Several studies have shown that this mineral can help protect the heart and lower blood pressure. Helps in the proper absorption of calcium. Often, many of us don’t get enough.
Recommended Daily Dose:  320 mg/day

Best Food Source:  Green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach; nuts such as cashews and pecans; whole-wheat spaghetti, grains and legumes; avocados, bananas, beets, raisins, and dates x

Health Boost:  Research suggests that diets high in the mineral can reduce the risk of hypertension, heart attacks, and stokes, and kidney stones.  One study showed that getting enough potassium along with magnesium boosted bone-mineral density. 

Recommended Daily Dose:  4,700 mg/day

Best Food Source:  Meats, poultry, dairy products, fish, mild, okra, potatoes, citrus fruits, tomatoes, spinach, celery, cantaloupes, honeydew melons, tomatoes, bell peppers, oranges. One avocado contains 1000 mg of potassium; one banana holds about 467 mg; one cup of sweet potato has 950 mg; four figs equal 540 mg; a glass of OJ amounts to 450 mg. It’s not hard to make the recommended daily amounts. 


Health Boost:  Most Americans get twice the recommended amount of sodium.  Too much is linked with hypertension and, thus, premature aging of the arteries.

Recommended Daily Dose: 1500 mg/day

Food Source: Avoid salt, soy sauce, and processed food and canned goods.  Most fast food is often high in sodium.  Concentrate on fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and poultry. 


Health Boost:  Carries oxygen in blood; needed for extra blood volume during pregnancy. Among women who menstruate, about one in 10 is deficient.  Vegetarians may need extra iron.  If iron stores are low, you are anemic and have low energy.  Too much iron is also linked to atherosclerosis, hemochromatosis, and cancer.

Recommended Daily Dose: 18mg; pregnant, 30mg.

Best Food Sources: Red meat; pork; poultry; legumes; fortified cereal and breads; eggs; pumpkin seeds; bran; prune juice; spinach.


Health Boost:    There’s some evidence that this trace element helps cut the risk of certain cancers as well as boosting resistance to certain viruses. 

Recommended Daily Dose:  55 mcg/day

Best Food Source:  Seafood, liver, garlic, whole grains and seeds contain the mineral if they’re grown in the selenium-rich soil

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Fatty Acids-Omega -3 fatty acids

Health Boost:  Fatty Acids-Omega -3 fatty acids, mainly from fish oils, may help promote heart health.  The compounds help keep clots form forming in the arteries.  Several studies have found that people who eat fish regularly have reduced rate of heart attacks and strokes.  It may decrease psychiatric and neurological problems like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s. Varying the type of fish you purchase, helps you avoid mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCV) contaminants.

Best Food Source:  Fish and walnuts have the highest content of these healthy monounsaturated fats. Other sources are olive oil, canola oil, fish oils, nut oils, flaxseeds, and avocados. 


Health Boost:  Plant chemicals like lycopene from tomatoes can help cut breast and prostate cancer.  Recommended amount is ten tablespoons of tomato sauce per week.

Best Food Source:  Tomato paste, guava, watermelon, red bell peppers, red grapefruit.

Probiotics Bacteria

Health Boost:  Yogurt can help maintain populations of helpful bacteria in the gut.  These beneficial bugs crowd out harmful types, helping treat infant diarrhea as well as bouts caused by antibiotics.  Getting enough fiber, fruits, and vegetables promotes healthy bacteria in your gut.