The following charts lay out the sources and benefits of all of the essential vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and amino acids. We’ve included a range of sources for each essential nutrient; it is important to keep in mind that some sources are better than others. Foods that are organic and non-GMO are going to be better sources than conventional produce. In addition, we’ve included sources like grains and soy in our list for the sake of full transparency. However, we find that foods like meat, fats, and vegetables are better (and more bioavailable) sources of these nutrients.

Finally, we need to note that these benefits haven’t all been approved by the FDA and we’re including them simply as an educational tool. For more information about the bioavailability of these nutrients in food, read our post on nutrient density.

VITAMINS

VITAMIN

SOLUBILITY

SOURCES

BENEFITS


A (retinol)

fat

Pre-formed: butterfat, egg yolks, fish liver oil, organ meats, seafood, Provitamin carotene (converts to vitamin A in intestine): all dark green, orange, red, and yellow fruits and vegetables

helps eyes adjust to light changes; plays an important role in bone growth, tooth development, reproduction, cell division, gene expression, and regulation of immune system; keeps skin, eyes, and mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, throat and lungs moist; acts as a powerful antioxidant


B1 (thiamine)

water

 legumes*, liver, peas, pork, whole grains*

helps to release energy from food, promotes normal appetite, important in maintaining proper nervous system function


B2 (riboflavin)

water

dark green vegetables, eggs, legumes*, liver, milk, whole grains*

helps to release energy from food, promotes good vision, promotes healthy skin, helps to convert the amino acid tryptophan into niacin


B3 (niacin)

water

fish, liver, peanuts*, poultry, red meat, whole grains*

involved in energy production, involved in enzyme function, promotes digestion and appetite, promotes healthy skin, promotes healthy nerves


B5 (pantothenic acid)

water

egg yolks, gut bacteria**, kidney, legumes*, liver, red meat, whole grains*

involved in energy production, aids in the formation of hormones, aids in the metabolism of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates


B6 (pyridoxine)

water

dark green leafy vegetables, legumes*, pork, red meat, whole grains*

aids in protein metabolism, involved in enzyme function, aids in red blood cell formation, involved in production of insulin and hemoglobin enzymes


B7 (biotin)

water

egg yolks, fresh vegetables, gut bacteria**, kidney,liver, sourdough bread*, whole grains*

helps release energy from carbohydrates; aids in the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates


B9 (folic acid)

water

citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, fish, kidney, legumes*, liver, red meats, whole grains*

aids in protein metabolism, promotes red blood cell formation, lowers risk for neural tube birth defects, may help reduce risk of coronary heart disease


B12 (cobalamin)

water

dairy, eggs, fish, kidney, liver, oysters, red meat, shellfish

aids in building genetic material, aids in production of red blood cells, aids in maintenance of nervous system


C (absorbic acid)

water

fresh fruits and vegetables, liver

acts as a powerful antioxidant in cohort with vitamin E, promotes collagen synthesis, aids in wound healing, aids in bone and tooth formation, strengthens blood vessel walls, improves immune system, increases absorption and utilization of iron


D

fat

eggs, fish, liver, mushrooms, sunlight

increases the amount of calcium absorbed from the small intestine, controls cell growth (exposure to ultraviolet light is necessary for the body to produce the active form of vitamin D)


E (tocopherol)

fat

butter, dark green leafy vegetables, legumes,* nuts, organ meats, seeds, unrefined vegetable oils*, whole grains*

acts as an antioxidant that protects red blood cells, essential fatty acids, and vitamins A and C


K

fat

butter, cruciferous vegetables, dark green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, fermented soy*, gut bacteria**, liver, unrefined vegetable oils*, whole grains*

plays an essential role in blood clotting; promotes bone health; helps produce proteins for blood, bones, and kidneys


Dietary Minerals

 

MINERAL

SOURCES

BENEFITS


Calcium

bone broth, cinnamon, dairy, dark green leafy vegetables, dill, eggs, nuts, oregano, seeds, thyme, tofu*

needed for muscle, heart, and digestive health; essential for bone growth; supports synthesis and function of blood cells


Chloride

bone broth, celery, coconut, lacto-fermented beverages, salt

needed for production of hydrochloric acid in stomach, needed for cellular pump functions, activates production of amylase enzymes, essential for growth and functioning of brain


Magnesium

cloves, cocoa beans, cumin, dairy, fish, ginger, leafy green vegetables, legumes*, nuts, red meat, sea vegetables, tomatoes

essential for enzyme activity, essential for calcium and potassium uptake, essential for nerve transmission, essential for bone growth, required for ATP*** processing, forms tooth enamel


Phosphorus

 dairy, fish, oats*,poultry, red meat, rice*

essential for bone growth, essential for kidney function, essential for cell growth and energy processing


Potassium

avocados, bananas, leafy green vegetables, legumes*, papayas, potato skin, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turmeric, whole grains*, yams

works together with sodium to regulate cell function and ATP*** processing, helpful in treating high blood pressure


Sodium

milk, salt, sea vegetables, spinach, zucchini

contained in all bodily fluids, essential for water balance regulation, essential for maintaining cell tension, essential for muscle contraction and expansion, essential for nerve stimulation, aids in proper functioning of adrenal glands


Sulfur

 amino acids, cruciferous vegetables, dairy, eggs, pork, poultry, red meat

protects the body from infection, blocks harmful effects of radiation and pollution, forms building blocks of cell membranes, major component of gel-like connective tissue in cartilage and skin


TRACE MINERALS

 

MINERAL

SOURCE

BENEFITS


Boron

fruits (especially apples), leafy green vegetables, nuts, whole grains*

needed for healthy bones


Chromium

eggs, molasses*, nuts, pork, poultry, red meat, vegetables, whole wheat*

used in glucose metabolism; used in blood sugar regulation; used in synthesis of cholesterol, fats, and protein


Cobalt

eggs, dairy, fish, kidney, liver, oysters, red meat, shellfish

works with copper to promote iron assimilation, required for synthesis of vitamin B12


Copper

barley*, leafy green vegetables, liver, mushrooms, raw cashews, raw walnuts, seeds, tempeh*

needed for bone formation; needed for hemoglobin and red blood cell formation; promotes healthy nerves, healthy immune system and collagen formation; required component of certain enzymes


Iodine

artichokes, asparagus, butter, dairy, dark green vegetables, eggs, pineapple, seafood, sea vegetables, strawberries, unrefined sea salt

essential for fat metabolism, essential for synthesis of thyroid hormones and thyroid function, essential for immune function, antioxidant


Iron

eggs, fish, green leafy vegetables, liver, pork, poultry, red meat

vital for healthy blood, required for function of hemoglobin and many different enzymes


Manganese

butter, cinnamon, cloves, eggplant, garlic, legumes*, nuts, pineapple, raspberries, spinach, squash, strawberries, thyme, turmeric, whole grains*

needed for healthy nerves, essential for healthy immune system, aids in blood sugar regulation, aids in bone formation


Molybdenum

carrots, dark leafy green vegetables, liver, legumes*, onions, tomatoes, whole grains*

essential for nitrogen absorption, essential for iron absorption, essential for normal cell function


Selenium

brazil nuts, butter, cheese, cold water wild fish, garlic, lamb, liver, mushrooms, mustard, tofu*, turkey, whole grains*

essential to activity of antioxidant enzymes, works with vitamin E to protect immune system and maintain healthy heart function, needed for pancreatic function and tissue elasticity


Zinc

asparagus, eggs, fish, ginger, green peas, liver, legumes*, miso*, mushrooms, nuts, oats*, oysters, red meat, scallops, seeds, spinach, yogurt

required for function of several enzymes, essential for mental development, essential for healthy reproductive organs, essential for protein synthesis and collagen formation, aids in blood sugar regulation, essential for maintaining proper levels of vitamin E in blood


FATTY ACIDS

 

FATTY ACID

SOURCES

BENEFITS


Omega-3


Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

chia seed, kiwi seeds, flax, hemp, lingonberry, purslane, seaberry, seed oils*, shiso, walnuts

essential fatty acid, precursor to EPA and DHA, consume in moderation


Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)

anchovies, bass, grass-fed meat, herring, mackerel, mussels, oysters, salmon, sardines, seaweed, wild game

reduces inflammation; improves cardiovascular health; improves stress, anxiety, and other neurological conditions; could improve chemotherapy response; eat liberally


Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)

anchovies, bass, grass-fed meat, herring, mackerel, mussels, oysters, salmon, sardines, wild game

reduces inflammation, improves cardiovascular health, aids in brain function in cohort with ARA- could improve chemotherapy response, could inhibit tumor growth, eat liberally


Omega-6


Linoleic acid (LA)

almonds, avocados, butter, coconut oil, egg yolks, hemp, lard, macadamia nuts, olive oil, peanuts*, pistachios, poultry fat, seed oils*, sesame seeds, walnuts, wheat germ*

essential fatty acid, precursor to ARA, consume in moderation


Arachidonic Acid (ARA)

egg yolks, pork, poultry, red meat

 aids in cell signaling, relaxes blood vessels, necessary for growth and repair of skeletal muscle tissue, aids in brain function in cohort with DHA, eat liberally


Amino Acid

 

AMINO ACID

SOURCES

BENEFITS



Histidine

buckwheat, bamboo shoots, bananas, cantaloupe, cauliflower, cereal grains*, citrus fruits, dairy, eggs, legumes*, mushrooms, potatoes, pork, poultry, red meat, seafood, soy*

involved in synthesis of hemoglobin; helps to develop and maintain healthy tissues; precursor for histamine, which regulates immune defense; factor in development of nerve cells


Isoleucine

dairy, eggs, legumes*, pork, poultry, red meat, seafood, sea vegetables, soy*

functions as a building block for proteins made in the body, produces energy, source of glucose, builds muscle protein


Leucine

dairy, eggs, legumes*, pork, poultry, red meat, seafood, soy*

stimulates insulin production, benefits cholesterol levels, builds muscle protein


Lysine

dairy, eggs, legumes*, pork, poultry, red meat, seafood, soy*

plays a major role in calcium absorption; builds muscle protein; regulates production of hormones, enzymes and antibodies; may reduce anxiety; may moderate blood pressure


Methionine

cereal grains*, eggs, nuts, pork, poultry, red meat, sesame seeds, soy*, tuna

necessary for normal growth and development, necessary for synthesis of creatine, helps liver metabolize fat


Phenylalanine

egg whites, fish, legumes*, nuts, pork, poultry, red meat, seeds, soy*

synthesizes protein; synthesizes dopamine, adrenaline, and thyroid hormones


Threonine

dairy, fish, legumes*, poultry, red meat, sesame seeds, soy*

regulates production of antibodies, necessary for collagen production, builds bones, helps liver metabolize fat, may reduce depression


Tryptophan

bananas, chocolate, dairy, dates, eggs, fish, legumes* oats*, peanuts, poultry, red meat, seeds, soy*, spirulina

precursor for serotonin, precursor for vitamin B3 (niacin) in the liver, helps to maintain sleep cycle


Valine

 dairy, eggs, legumes,* mushrooms, peanuts*, pork, poultry, red meat, soy*

stimulates central nervous system, functions as a building block for proteins made in the body, produces energy within the body, source of glucose, helps balance nitrogen levels in body


* While whole grains, legumes, molasses, and seed oils are sources of these nutrients, we do not use them in our kitchen. Instead, we utilize the nutrients found in meat, fish, fruits, and vegetables. The only unrefined vegetable oil we use is extra-virgin olive oil.

** Produced by healthy gut bacteria.

*** ATP (adenosine triphosphate) is a molecule that transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism.