The best source for vitamins is whole natural food and not supplements.
[Please consult your physician before self treating a medical condition with any supplements or alternative therapy including holistic remedies.]
Why is Vitamin C good for you?
The main benefit of vitamin C is it’s an antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties . Whole natural plant foods have both the most vitamin C and the best form to benefit from . These properties of vitamin C rich foods help protect the body from oxidative stress and fight free radicals that cause cell damage which can lead to disease. The value of this is in its disease fighting properties such as helping lessen skin damage from the sun, fighting colds, preventing and improving chronic diseases..
Colds and viruses- these properties of vitamin C in plant form help you protect against the symptoms associated with the cold namely all the inflammatory responses ,congestion, pain, and fever. These are often lessened with an anti inflammatory diet including foods sources containing high levels of vitamin C.. Vitamin C from plant sources can work in conjunction with your body’s immunity to reduce the length of illness of colds and viruses.
Cancer – there is no real proof that vitamin c helps or cures cancer. However, eating foods with high vitamin c content helps with inflammation and antioxidative stress that studies have shown can lead to cancer. Foods high in vitamin C and the vitamin C itself may help prevent and repair the cell damage that can lead to cancer.
Heart disease- higher levels of vitamin C have been linked with lower heart disease, better blood flow to the heart arteries, and better blood pressure.
Skin-vitamin C is involved in protein production and formation of healthy skin and healing such as collagen production, maintenance, and strength.. It helps prevent free radical damage and cancer development on the skin from sun exposure.
Natural whole food is the best way to get the most bioavailable vitamin C. All plant foods contain vitamin C. Below are the top 5 vitamin C rich foods for fruits and vegetables.
You get the most vitamin C by eating the fruits and vegetables raw.
The top 5 fruits for vitamin C content.
The top 5 vegetables for level of vitamin C
It is always better to cut out the middle man when striving for better health- go straight to the food source for the vitamins and nutrients you require . The less processing and the closer you are to the natural unadulterated form of a food the better for your health and well being. The less chemicals and additives that change a food the better for your body and the environment.
Turmeric – the number one spice for what ails you- best spice award
I often get asked what is the best spice to start with for those individuals who want to make the first move in a healthful direction. What spice would you say is the most important one if you want to introduce just one ?. I answer turmeric for several reasons. (This is not to be confused with the first spice I recommend to introduce to infant feeding which is cinnamon.)
Turmeric with curcumin the main active ingredient thought to have food super powers- mostly from its anti inflammatory properties . It has been used for thousands of years in cooking. In the Geographic regions where turmeric is a food staple the populations have much less chronic inflammatory associated disease; heart, prostate, intestinal, and cancer. Turmeric acts as an antioxidant helping neutralize free radicals that cause damage thus slowing aging , keeping your skin elastic, and preventing harm to your cells.
Turmeric helps enhance your immune system. It helps fight disease and the associated inflammation.
Turmeric helps with everyday illnesses
In my line of work it is helpful in keeping the inflammation associated symptoms like pain, fever, coughing and congestion from viruses to a minimum while helping fight the infection.
Turmeric has a mild taste. A little chalky but it blends well and is not overpowering in whatever you put it in. Not real spicy. Main drawback is the yellow color which to me is sign of health but to children and those new to spices when visual cues are sometimes just as important as taste may be a problem. Try to begin its use in foods which have a color that masks the yellow.
Goal to introduce turmeric (curcumin) slowly to avoid developing an aversion from the child or adult. Start with 1/4 teaspoon slowly over the first week or two going up by 1/4 teaspoon per week for a goal of 2 teaspoons a day and even more when you are not feeling well or having aches pains or for specific conditions
When I feel like I am getting sick I double or triple my daily turmeric dose heaping portions at every opportunity .
How to use it?
I use it as often as possible and carry it with me!
My first recommendation is to add it to your version of chicken soup or vegan non chicken soup, yellow vegetables like squash, hash browns, even sweet potatoes. I also make a point of including them in any vegetable dishes and meats if you are not vegan. A parent recently said she adds it to pancake mix, grains, and eggs.
Turmeric is my base for all my meals to make sure I get enough throughout the day..
Any chance you get add turmeric to your food.
I put a quarter to half teaspoon in my morning tea every day along with ginger.
I put one to two teaspoons on my vegetable mixture for lunch
I sprinkle turmeric along with my spice mixture on salad or any dressing I use.
Even put it on pasta or quinoa .
All my soups I add turmeric.
I take a spice mixture in a small container with me whenever I eat out (with a turmeric base), And add it to salads, soups, vegetable and bean dishes, etc. Any where, any time I am ready to add my spices beginning with turmeric,
To improve absorption of turmeric
Add black pepper along with it to food. In tea add a little coconut milk. Adding a small amount of healthy oil or fat to turmeric helps absorption -seeds and nuts have oil in them and can be added to any dish to serve as a vector for turmeric absorption, as well as the overall health benefits from seeds and nuts versus empty oil calories. Also avocado is a good fat to mix with turmeric to enhance its absorption.
Turmeric has been shown to have benefits for all sorts of diseases and illnesses.
Latest studies and those currently under review are indicating very positive results and benefit from large doses of turmeric including inflammatory bowel disease, joint disease, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, autoimmune conditions , and even cancer . Please consult your physician or particular specialist before beginning any mega dose trial of turmeric for any one of these conditions .Doses at this level usually comes in a pill form and precise medical information regarding dosing is not widely agreed upon yet.
Brands and form of turmeric
Consumer labs has reviewed a number of brands of turmeric for safety regarding foreign substances, and contamination. In general it is better to have organic turmeric and even better to buy it and grind it yourself. Some of the organic brands for reasons that seem logical have a percentage of bug parts and some non organic brands have chemical residues. It is better to include turmeric in any form. But your physician, grocer, or health food specialist might be helpful in selecting a safe and healthy brand.
If you are going to add one food supplement in natural form to improve your health make it turmeric
Vitamins in general (as supplements) not what you were told.
Since the days of Hippocrates physicians have been asked to recommend vitamins to cure what ails people. From poor eating for children to low energy in adults people want a magical vitamin pill to jump-start their health. All form of concerns seem to bring up this magic vitamin pill. But in reality other than the scientifically known disease associated deficiencies ( which by in large do not exist any longer in western society) vitamin supplements are rarely needed and of little true value.
Vitamins are not as advertised. They have no magical healing or disease preventing properties in supplement form.
They are not a panacea for what ails you and in no way replace healthy nutritious whole food.
With the exception of b12 for vegans and possibly the new recommendations of vitamin d 3 , receiving the majority of vitamins from supplements are a poor substitute for real food as vitamin source.
Vitamins are not readily bio-available and as useful for what you need when you take them in a supplement form versus from food
Vitamins will not stimulate your appetite. Physician’s treat vitamins like a placebo. Doctors only give to children when parents request them to supplement a diet in order to encourage the parents stop pushing their kids to eat and relax. It takes the pressure off parents who are worried about adequate nutrition particularly vitamin intake. When parents relax and stop showing anxiety regarding the amount of food a child eats, regardless of the reason, then the children often actually start to eat better .
The real source of useful bio-active body enhancing vitamins is whole foods.
Enriched foods do offer an alternative to supplements but not nearly as valuable as in whole foods.
Vitamins like all supplements are not regulated for content, amount, value,claims, or quality.
Taking vitamin shots is not any more valuable than supplements. The rare exceptions are for true medical conditions like b12 deficiency anemia , pernicious anemia.
Organic whole fruits , vegetables, nuts , and seeds are the best form to receive your vitamins. Best method is to chew and eat them yourself.
Patients have been told and read that if they do not have enough variety in their diet or if their children are not eating a balanced (meat centric) diet they will not get enough iron and become anemic..
Is this fact or more marketing and tradition ?
It is confusing that the same physicians who are recommending you diet, eat healthier, exercise to lower your cholesterol and improve your health , also recommend meat as the only source to get your iron.
What is the best way to get your iron ?
“Best” meaning healthiest with foods that add to your health at the same time . Not merely treating with iron but recommending foods that will have a positive impact on your overall health; perhaps even improving your underlying condition which caused the anemia in the first place with optimal nutrition.
MAIN POINTS :
You can get as much iron from non meat sources as you can from meat.
Iron is in most foods including plant based foods in adequate amount to get your requirements except for the most medically necessary anemia conditions ( please check with your physician if this is the case)
Top plant foods for iron per serving
Fortified cereal 18 mg
pumpkin seeds 4.2 mg
dark chocolate 7 mg
soy beans, 8.8 mg
tofu, tempeh 3 mg
black beans 3.6 mg
quinoa 2.8 mg
Compared to a
hamburger lean- 2.2 mg
See extended iron list below
Why do people say meat is the best source for iron?
This comes from the fact that the iron (heme iron) in meat is more readily absorbed from your gastrointestinal system than plant food iron, which is non heme. But that does not make it better or necessary for meat to be your absolute source of nutrition for iron
Plant foods have plenty of iron in them to maintain and establish iron supply for your blood cells to carry oxygen ( some say not to replenish low iron stores – but with nutritionally sound diet you can)
The non-heme iron in plants is the same quality iron as any other source . There is no difference in quality or types of iron once your body absorbs it from your diet or supplements. It is strictly a quantity issue.
You do need to almost double the amount of iron requirement listed in a plant diet. This means you have to eat twice as much as the number listed of iron for a regular diet in the quantity of food to get the absorption as meat. See the chart below where I already calculated the amount of iron to ingest if you are vegan or from strictly plant food sources.This should in reality be easy since plant foods are usually eaten in bulkier quantities combined with several different types – greens, seed, nuts, soy products, etc.
Healthier source for iron – most people will admit that nutrition derived from a plant source is much healthier than meat. Usually the argument revolves around their contention that meat has a better iron content and protein. But that is not accurate as you can see from the chart below and a previous post on protein sources. Healthy plant based foods such as seeds , nuts, dark green vegetables, will add to your health with the fiber, anti inflammatory properties. , and anti-oxidants. People who depend in large part on plant based diet generally have larger portions of plants and more balanced whole meals of grains, seeds, beans , and greens. So in reality it should not be a problem. Scroll down below to see some examples of iron content in various foods and the amount you need to eat to be certain you get and give enough.
Iron absorption from plant sources is enhanced if you eat vitamin c abundant foods along with your meals , which if you are already primarily vegetarian you probably are already eating. Not just citrus foods, but most vegetables and fruits are rich in vitamin c, including dark fruits and dark green veggies.
Vegetarians and vegans do not have more anemia or poor iron intake than people who eat meat.
Milk and dairy products may interfere with iron absorption
As with all other posts regarding healthier non medical nutritional means to improving your health and medical conditions please check with your physician first before undertaking a non medical approach. Also not all conditions are stable enough to solely rely on nutritional methods of therapy. Anemia can be a serious medical condition and be a result from complicated conditions. Please consult medical experts first. Adding plant based healthy means to improving your health is always advisable but make sure you are stable enough to rely on that in lieu of your doctor’s advice.
The table below lists the daily requirement of iron in foods per age to get the necessary absorbed requirement of iron. The number is higher for plant foods because the non-heme iron is not as easily absorbed as heme iron from meats. For vegans the amount calculated to ingest is almost double so the necessary iron will be absorbed
Birth to 6 months assuming breastfeeding requires more for formula
19.8mg (m)/27 mg( f)
27 mg/48,6 vegan
14 mg( m)/32 (f)
27 mg/48,6 vegan
* Adequate Intake (AI)
Percent DV* for regular diet
Breakfast cereals, fortified with 100% of the DV for iron, 1 serving
Pumpkin seeds 1 oz
White beans, canned, 1 cup
Chocolate, dark 70% cacao or more, 3 ounces
Beef lean sirloin or hamburger, 3 ounces
Lentils, boiled and drained, ½ cup
*Spinach, boiled and drained, ½ cup is not as well absorbed
Tofu, firm, ½ cup
Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup
Chickpeas, boiled and drained, ½ cup
Tomatoes, canned, stewed, ½ cup
Steak NY strip 3oz
Potato, baked, flesh and skin, 1 medium potato
Cashew nuts, oil roasted, 1 ounce (18 nuts)
Green peas, boiled, ½ cup
Chicken, roasted, meat and skin, 3 ounces
Rice, white, long grain, enriched, parboiled, drained, ½ cup
Bread, whole wheat, 1 slice
Bread, white, 1 slice
Raisins, seedless, ¼ cup
Spaghetti, whole wheat, cooked, 1 cup
Tuna, light, canned in water, 3 ounces
Turkey, roasted, breast meat and skin, 3 ounces
almonds, dry roasted, 1 ounce (49 nuts)
Broccoli, boiled and drained, ½ cup
Egg, hard boiled, 1 large
Rice, brown, long or medium grain, cooked, 1 cup
Cheese, cheddar, 1.5 ounces
Kale 1 cup
Soybeans 1 cup cooked
Black beans 1 cup
Milk, 1 cup
* DV = Daily Value. DVs were developed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help consumers compare the nutrient contents of products within the context of a total diet. The DV for iron is 18 mg for adults and children age 4 and older. Foods providing 20% or more of the DV are considered to be high sources of a nutrient.
Several food sources of iron are listed in Table 2. Some plant-based foods that are good sources of iron, such as spinach, have low iron bioavailability because they contain iron-absorption inhibitors, such as polyphenols [15,16].
Salad with spinach , kale , soybeans, pumpkin seeds, tomatoes, tahini dressing , quinoa half cup=3, 2,1,2,4,2.4.4,2.7 for total of iron of almost 19 mg for the average sized salad or almost 70% of the 27 mg vegan requirement of iron in one salad, Add tofu or any other grain or vegetable and you probably have reached your daily requirements
Add any source of meat protein in the suggested minimal amount of 2-3oz 3 x a week them you are getting more than enough iron with a healthier nutritional profile
Add dark chocolate for dessert and you have your daily allowance of iron
Please consult your physician before starting any non medical treatment with nutritional sources. Not all conditions will respond to holistic or dietary or supplement for that matter adjustment.
Iron supplements are not recommended unless you are anemic or have a diet with insufficient in iron.
As with all supplements iron supplements are not regulated and the actual content can vary.
Absorption of iron from supplements can also vary so please check with your physician before taking any supplements. Environment: The processing of supplements and disposal has a greater environmental impact as does meat based iron sources than natural organic plant food sources. Getting your iron from optimal nutrition both improves your overall health and that of the environment.