A healthy body relies on a plentiful supply of vitamins and minerals. We can easily consume these through a varied diet with plenty of plants. Animal-sourced foods can also provide lots of vitamins and minerals, but as these should only form a small part of your diet, I've focussed on the plant-based sources here.
Vitamins and Minerals
The body converts beta-carotene into Vitamin A (aka Retinol), which is essential for healthy vision, skin, bones and immunity.
Plant based sources of beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, squash, red peppers, spinach, mangoes, papaya and apricots.
Vitamin B1 (aka Thiamin) helps the body to absorb energy from food and supports healthy skin, hair, muscles and immunity.
Sources include brown rice, wholegrain bread, nuts, peas, soy milk, bananas, oranges and watermelons.
Vitamin B2 (aka Riboflavin) helps the body to absorb energy from food and supports healthy skin, hair, blood and eyes.
Sources include green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, whole grains and fortified cereals.
Vitamin B3 (aka Niacin) helps the body absorb energy from food and supports a healthy nervous system and skin.
Sources include whole grains, wheat flour, peanuts, mushrooms and potatoes
Vitamin B5 (aka Pantothenic Acid) has many functions, including absorbing energy from food.
Sources include whole grains, fortified cereals, mushrooms, avocados, tomatoes and broccoli.
Vitamin B5 (aka Pyridoxine) helps with energy storage and use, producing red blood cells, and producing neurotransmitters for sleep, appetite and mood regulation.
Sources include peanuts, soy (milk, tofu, edamame), fortified cereals, oats, potatoes, bananas and watermelons.
Vitamin B7 (aka Biotin) helps the body to make fatty acids.
Sources include whole grains and soy. Bacteria in the bowl also naturally make this.
Vitamin B12 (aka Cobalamin) helps the body to absorb energy from food and produce red blood cells.
B12 is mostly found in animal products so vegans are recommended to take a supplement. Most multi-vitamins will contain Vitamin B12.
Folate is important for producing red blood cells and for healthy pregnancies.
Sources include broccoli, brussels spouts, asparagus, kale, spinach, cabbage, spring greens, peas, chickpeas, kidney beans and fortified cereals.
Vitamin C (aka Ascorbic Acid) is important for healthy cells, skin, blood and bones.
Sources include broccoli, brussels spouts, spinach, potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, oranges, lemons, limes, strawberries and blackcurrants.
Vitamin D (aka Calciferol) is important for bone, teeth and muscle health.
We naturally produce vitamin D when directly exposed to sunlight, but when its not sunny we need to consumer it from fortified milk, cereals and multi-vitamins.
Vitamin E (aka Alpha-Tocopherol) is important for healthy eyes, skin and immmunity.
Sources include plant oils (rapeseed, sunflower and olive), leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds and wheatgerm
Vitamin K (Phylloquinone and Menadione) supports healthy blood clotting.
Cabbage, spinach, broccoli, sprouts, kale, vegetable oils and cereal grains.
Calcium is important for healthy bones, teeth, muscles and blood.
Sources include tofu, broccoli, kale, okra, fortified wheat flour and fortified milks.
Iodine is important for healthy thyroid functioning, which helps to regulate temperature, metabolism and growth.
Sources include seafood and iodised salt.
Iron helps to produce red blood cells.
Sources include beans, chickpeas, edamame, dried fruit, fortified cereals and green vegetables.