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Favorite Foods That Just Might Be Good For You!

In the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, you cut out the fast-food, lower your cholesterol intake, avoid late-night snacking and turn your back on all things fried or made with processed sugar.

Now you're wondering: What tasty morsels will get me through the day?

The good news: Often trapped under those trans fats and processed sugars are many foods that just might tempt your palate and satisfy your cravings on their own… and are actually healthy for you.

Most important of all is variety. Eating a lot of different foods is what gives us the nutrients we need, which helps you feel better. Knowing the basics about a few vitamins and minerals will help you to understand why they're so important to your overall well-being and good health.

But while most of us love the taste and feel of food, it's the nutrients that fuel our bodies for growth, development and disease prevention. So if you think you're falling short, despite your best efforts, remember that a multivitamin and other supplements can help out.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A helps form and maintain healthy teeth and skin, contributes to strong vision and joins forces with other nutrients in the fight against disease by helping to boost your immune system and red blood cell production. When choosing foods that provide vitamin A, think color.

  • Carrots
  • Peas, Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe
  • Red peppers
  • Eggs
  • Sweet potato
  • Cheese
  • Apricots
  • Milk
  • Pink Grapefruit
  • Winter squash
  • Spinach

Vitamin B6

There are many types of B vitamins, and each one contributes to your health. For example: vitamin B6 helps to increase the amount of oxygen carried to your tissues, assists in protein metabolism and may support immune function. It is found in a variety of foods that easily fit into a healthy food plan, but still people tend to fall short on this nutrient, so adding a supplement might help.

  • Turkey
  • Baked potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Chicken breast
  • Lima beans
  • Spinach
  • Salmon
  • Tuna

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is necessary for building collagen, a key building block for cell membranes and connective tissue. With strong cells, your body is better able to repair itself and function at its optimum performance. Vitamin C can be found in many different foods.

  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Grapefruit, or juice
  • Bell peppers (green, red)
  • Sweet potato
  • Cantaloupe
  • Oranges, or juice
  • Raspberries


Calcium helps lay the foundation for strong bones and healthy teeth and contributes to the response rate of nerves and muscle control. Calcium is present in small amounts in a wide variety of foods. Green leafy vegetables such as collards and spinach are sometimes named as good sources, but the calcium in these foods may not be very bioavailable. The richest dietary sources, obviously, are milk and other dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. The majority of teens and adults fall short of their calcium needs, so if you don't get the equivalent of 3 or 4 cups of milk a day, consider adding a supplement of calcium with vitamin D to fill this important gap.

Vitamin D

One of the reasons vitamin D is important is because it helps your body absorb calcium. Unfortunately, there isn't much vitamin D in foods, unless it has been added; some good food sources are listed below. Your body converts sunlight into vitamin D, which is why scientists suggest that it may help in the prevention of Seasonal Affective Disorder. Vitamin D is a hot research topic these days, and scientists generally agree that we need more of it, for optimum health. You can find it in a multivitamin or by adding a calcium supplement with vitamin D.

  • Egg yolks
  • Fish (salmon, tuna)
  • Margarine, fortified
  • Milk, fortified
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Yogurt, fortified

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is essential to healthy skin because it aids in the elasticity and repair of this important tissue. It also contributes to a healthy head of hair. Foods that can support a healthy glow and assist your body in repair are fruits, leafy greens, nuts and certain types of oils. Fortified breakfast cereals can also help you reach the recommended intake of vitamin E. Some research has shown increased health benefits by taking higher levels of vitamin E (i.e., 200 IU) beyond the Recommended Daily Allowances (RDA). It would take 27 ounces of almonds (over a pound and a half!) to provide that much, so a vitamin E supplement should also be considered.

  • Almonds
  • Spinach, Collard greens
  • Kiwis
  • Mangoes
  • Peanuts, Peanut butter
  • Hazelnuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Vegetable oils
  • Sunflower seeds


Iron is a mineral that promotes cell growth, helps transport oxygen throughout your body and aids in the absorption of vitamin C. An iron deficiency can lead to anemia, a condition characterized by fatigue and decreased immunity, so choose from a variety of iron-rich foods to help keep up your energy and ability to ward off disease.

  • Artichokes
  • Lentils, Chick peas
  • Chicken, Turkey
  • Dark, leafy greens
  • Bread, enriched
  • Clams
  • Beans, meat
  • Chili con carne
  • Rice, enriched


When you think magnesium, think bones … because almost half of the magnesium found in your body is found in your bones. And just like calcium, magnesium also helps to regulate blood pressure and maintain muscle and nerve functions as well as help in the management of hypertension and other cardiovascular conditions. Magnesium-rich foods include:

  • Almonds
  • Trail mix
  • Bananas
  • Brown rice
  • Cashews
  • Fish
  • Lima beans
  • Okra
  • Red meat
  • Spinach
  • Whole grains


Potassium is a mineral that contributes to the maintenance of blood pressure, heart and kidney function and muscle repair. This important mineral is found in whole foods, such as:

  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Cantaloupe
  • Fish
  • Beans
  • Milk
  • Orange juice
  • Peaches
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Yogurt


The mineral zinc helps in digestion and in regulating metabolism. It also assists in the development of new cells and DNA and in sustaining your immune system. New studies show that taking zinc can help lessen the duration of a cold. You can increase the zinc in your diet by including the following foods:

  • Beef
  • Brown and white rice
  • Baked beans, Burgers
  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Oysters
  • Pork, Lamb
  • Crabcakes

Remember that many foods provide a variety of nutrients, but whole foods -- such as vegetables, fruits, grains and meat (in moderation) -- should be a staple in your diet.

While food should always be your first source for vitamins and minerals, a multivitamin can help you fill in the gaps.

For more information on the Daily Reference Intake for vitamins and minerals, click here.

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