Nutrient Guide

What are the body’s nutrition requirements? Are we getting our Daily Values of vitamins and minerals? We tell you the nutritional content of different foods and some of the ways our bodies use these nutrients.

We’re not getting our nutrients. It’s hard to overemphasize how essential vitamins and minerals are to good health. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a table that will help you select foods that are rich in the major nutrients; we also hope it will help you see where your own diet may fall short. For example, if you never or rarely eat seafood, meats, and poultry, you might be deficient in B12.

Serving sizes are as follows:

Vegetables and legumes1 cup
Fruits1 piece
Berries, Melons and Pineapple1 cup
Grains1/2 cup
Amaranth, Quinoa, Wheat Germ1 cup
Barley, Couscous and Rice1 cup
Nuts and SeedsAbout 3 tablespoons
SeafoodAbout 3 1/2 ounces
Meats and PoultryAbout 3 1/2 ounces

Dairy Products:

Cheese1 ounce
Ricotta1/2 cup
Yogurt8 ounces
Eggs2 large


Oils1 tablespoon

The table includes the nutritional values of seven basic food groups – vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds, seafood, dairy, and meats and poultry – and serving sizes are loosely based on 2,200 calories a day for average adults. Although they are not the only sources for these nutrients, the listed foods are some of the better choices. Even if you don’t completely hit the target for each vitamin and mineral, you’re bound to benefit from eating a variety of these nutritionally rich foods.

Given below are name of the various vitamins and minerals that are required by the human body. Amount of these vitamins and mineral and from what food groups these can be acquired is also given:

Vitamin A (5,000 IU)
Needed for healthy vision, skin, and mucous membranes in the respiratory, digestive, and urinary tracts. 100 per cent+ in butternut squash, cantaloupe, carrots, kale, mangos, red peppers, sweet potatoes. 10 per cent to 50 per cent in apricots, avocados, nectarines, sturgeon.

Vitamin B6 (2 mg)
Helps in metabolising protein and amino acids and in converting other amino acids into hormones; builds red blood cells and antibodies and maintains the central nervous system. From 10 per cent to 50 per cent in avocados, bananas, chicken, Chinese cabbage, green and red peppers, lentils, salmon, soybeans, steak, sweet potatoes, trout, wheat germ, yellow fin tuna 5 to 10 per cent from cauliflower, chickpeas.

Vitamin B12 (6 mcg)
Needed to produce red blood cells; helps build and maintain myelin, a protective sheath found around nerves; synthesizes DNA. 100 per cent – clams, crab, herring, liver, mackerel, mussels, oysters. 50 to 100 per cent from salmon, trout. 10 to 50 per cent from eggs, steak, yogurt.

Vitamin C (60 mg)
Helps build and maintain collagen (the base for connective tissue), which aids wound healing; good for healthy blood vessels; scavenges free radicals; helps metabolise certain amino acids; stimulates adrenal function; aids in metabolising cholesterol. 100 per cent+ – broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cantaloupe, green and red peppers, guava, kale, kiwi, lemons, oranges, papaya, strawberries. 50 to 100 per cent from blackberries, peas, tomatoes.

Calcium (1,000 mg)
Builds strong bones and teeth; plays a role in the transmission of nerve impulses, in blood clotting, and in smooth muscle contraction, thus helping to regulate heart rhythm. Amaranth, cheddar cheese, Chinese cabbage, navy beans, ricotta, sesame seeds, soybeans, Swiss cheese, tofu, yogurt can supply 10 to 50 per cent. 5 to 10 per cent can be from almonds, artichokes, trout.

Carbohydrates (300 g)
The body’s main source of energy; help regulate the metabolism of proteins and fats. 10 to 50 per cent – amaranth, apples, black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans, quinoa, sweet potatoes. 5 to 10 per cent from acorn squash, blackberries, butternut squash, corn, parsnips, peas, raspberries, wheat germ.

Copper (2 mg)
Used to manufacture red blood cells and collagen; aids in the absorption and transport of iron. 100 per cent+ liver, wild oysters. 50 to 100 per cent Alaskan king crab, lobster, squid. 10 to 50 percenet amaranth, Brazil nuts, cashews, chia seeds, chickpeas, clams, hazelnuts, lentils, navy beans, quinoa, oyster mushrooms, sesame seeds, shiitake mushrooms, soybeans.

Vitamin D (400 IU)
Needed for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. 100 per cent+ catfish, halibut, herring. 50 to 100 percent from mackerel, oysters, tuna. 10 to 50 percent in chanterelle, morel, and shiitake mushrooms; eggs; Swiss cheese. 5 to 10 per cent Edam and Parmesan cheese.

Vitamin E (20 mg)
Prevents damage to cell membranes; keeps LDL (bad) cholesterol from oxidizing, which is the first step in the build-up of arterial plaque. 100 per cent+ wheat germ oil. 50 to 100 per cent sunflower seeds. 10 to 50 per cent almonds and almond oil, asparagus, avocados, canola (rapeseed) oil, eel, hazelnuts, mangos, soybeans. 5 to 10 per cent blueberries, Brazil nuts, broccoli, flounder, lobster, nectarines, papaya.

Fibre (25 g)
Helps to lower cholesterol and to stabilise blood sugar levels; provides steady source of energy; gives bulk to stools and speeds the passage of waste through the intestines. 50 to 100 per cent black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans. 10 to 50 per cent – apples, artichokes, avocados, blackberries, carrots, corn, guava, parsnips, peanuts, peas, quinoa, raspberries, sunflower seeds, sweet potatoes, wheat germ.

Folate (400 mcg)
Metabolises protein; converts many amino acids; forms the nucleic acids for DNA and RNA; needed to produce red blood cells. Black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, liver, navy beans, pinto beans can deliver as much as 50 to 100 per cent of daily needs. 10 to 50 percent – artichokes, asparagus, avocados, beets, blackberries, Chinese cabbage, green beans, mustard greens, oranges, papaya, sunflower seeds, tofu, wheat germ. 5 to 10 – chia seeds, peanuts, quinoa, salmon.

Iron (18 mg)
Needed to form haemoglobin and to transfer oxygen from the lungs to every cell in the body; used by myoglobin (like haemoglobin, a compound that carries and releases oxygen) to transport oxygen to muscles and store it there; used by several enzymes to produce energy. 50 to 100 per cent clams, soybeans. 10 to 50 per cent chia seeds, kidney beans, lentils, liver, mussels, oyster mushrooms, oysters, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, sesame seeds, shrimp, steak, tofu, wheat germ. 5 to 10 per cent artichokes, green beans, pistachios.

Vitamin K (80 mcg)
Needed for proper blood clotting. 100 per cent+ from broccoli, endive, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, watercress. 50 to 100 per cent avocados, soybeans. 10 to 50 percent – kiwi.

Magnesium (400 mg)
Aids in muscle relaxation; helps metabolise carbohydrates and proteins and to activate more than 300 enzymes. 50 to 100 per cent amaranth. 10 to 50 per cent – almonds, artichokes, avocados, black beans, butternut squash, corn, halibut, mackerel, peas, tofu.

Manganese (2 mg)
Needed to metabolise glucose, to synthesise cholesterol and fatty acids, to build strong bones, and to make urea (a waste product found in urine). 100 per cent+ amaranth, mussels, pineapple, wheat germ 50 to 100 percent – blackberries, brown rice, pine nuts, raspberries, soybeans, tofu, walnuts. 10 to 50 per cent asparagus, beets, chestnuts, clams, freshwater bass, kale, lentils, oysters, parsnips, peas, sesame seeds, sweet potatoes.

Niacin (20 mg)
Needed to break down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins; helps in the formation of red blood cells and steroids; keeps skin, digestive tract, and nervous system healthy. 50 to 100 per cent swordfish. 10 to 50 per cent avocados, barley, brown and white rice, corn, ground beef, lamb, mushrooms, peas, quinoa, salmon, tuna, turkey 5 to 10 per cent asparagus, nectarines, raspberries.

Pantothenic Acid (10 mg)
Supports adrenal glands; important to healthy skin and nerves; helps metabolise carbohydrates and fats into energy; needed to make fatty acids, cholesterol, acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter), and steroids. 50 to 100 per cent liver. 10 to 50 per cent avocados, chicken, eggs, lentils, lobster, mushrooms, salmon, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, yogurt. 5 to 10 per cent amaranth, brown and white rice, corn, herring, lima beans, quinoa, trout.

Phosphorus (1,000 mg)
Needed to build bones and teeth, DNA and RNA, and cells; essential to the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats and to the synthesizing of proteins. 10 to 50 per cent almonds, artichokes, corn, eggs, ham, lentils, navy beans, oyster mushrooms, peas, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, ricotta, salmon, sesame seeds, Swiss cheese, swordfish, tofu, trout, tuna, turkey, yogurt.

Potassium (3,500 mg)
Works with sodium to maintain the body’s fluid balance; also helps to metabolise carbohydrates, to synthesize protein, and to transmit nerve impulses. 10 to 50 per cent acorn squash, avocados, bananas, butternut squash, cantaloupe, Chinese cabbage, cod, grouper, halibut, herring, honeydew, lentils, lima beans, oyster mushrooms, papaya, pinto beans, quinoa, soybeans, tomatoes, trout, wheat germ, yogurt. 5 to 10 per cent almonds, kiwi, pork, steak, tofu.

Protein (50 g)
Needed to form, maintain, and repair cells; used as building blocks for hormones, enzymes, and antibodies. 50 to 100 per cent soybeans. 10 to 50 per cent amaranth, black beans, halibut, kidney beans, lentils, lobster, navy beans, oyster mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, peanuts, peas, pine nuts, pork, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, ricotta, salmon, steak, Swiss cheese, swordfish, tofu, trout, tuna, turkey, walnuts, wheat germ, yogurt.

Riboflavin (1.7 mg)
Helps metabolise carbohydrates and fats into energy; needed for healthy hair, skin, nails, vision, and cell growth. 100 per cent+ liver. 10 to 50 per cent almonds, amaranth, avocados, clams, eggs, feta cheese, ham, herring, mackerel, mushrooms, peas, pork, quinoa, ricotta, soybeans, squid, sweet potatoes, wheat germ, wild salmon, yogurt. 5 to 10 per cent asparagus, bananas, beechnuts, cheddar cheese, dandelion, lentils, mangos, raspberries, Swiss cheese.

Selenium (70 mcg)
Protects cell membranes from free radicals; helps eliminate certain heavy metals. 100 per cent+ Brazil nuts. 50 to 100 per cent couscous, liver, mackerel, shrimp, swordfish, tuna, wheat germ. 10 to 50 per cent barley, brown rice, eggs, ground beef, oyster mushrooms, pork, ricotta, shiitake mushrooms, soybeans, sunflower seeds, tofu, yogurt. 5 to 10 per cent feta, Parmesan cheese.

Thiamine (1.5 mg)
Needed to metabolise glucose into energy and to convert carbohydrates into fat; important for healthy heart, nerves, and nervous system. 50 to 100 per cent pork, wheat germ. 10 to 50 per cent acorn squash, asparagus, avocados, black beans, Brazil nuts, brown and white rice, catfish, chia seeds, corn, lentils, mackerel, navy beans, peas, pine nuts, pinto beans, pistachios, quinoa, salmon, sunflower seeds, trout, yellow fin tuna. 5 to 10 per cent grapes, pineapple.

Zinc (15 mg)
Helps the liver detoxify alcohol; bolsters the immune system; important to energy production; helps maintain healthy skin cells; aids protein digestion, normal insulin activity, DNA and RNA synthesis, and the creation of sperm. 100 per cent oysters. 10 to 50 per cent crab, black beans, chicken, chickpeas, lamb, lentils, lobster, mussels, peanuts, peas, pork, pumpkin seeds, quinoa, sesame seeds, soybeans, steak, turkey, wheat germ, wild rice, yogurt. 5 to 10 per cent cashews, oyster mushrooms.