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24 Essential Nutrients and Their Food Sources

Blog Post Header Image - 24 Essential Nutrients and Their Food Sources. Image of nutrient rich foods.

Ideally, we want to get all of our essential nutrients through diet rather than vitamins and supplements. This is extremely difficult with our current food supply and nutrient-poor soil and oftentimes, vitamins and supplements are necessary. But eating ‘clean,’ healthy foods does in fact give us the best chance at meeting our nutritional needs.

We have compiled a list of some of the most nutrient-rich foods that we enjoy at home and always recommend to our patients. Print this out, pop it on the fridge and take a glance here and there. It’s with these initiatives that we bring ourselves and our family towards more optimized health. Do you enjoy any of these nutrient-dense foods currently?

Image of foods that provide essential nutrients. Avocado, almonds, squash, spinach, olives.

Essential Nutrients and Their Food Sources

Vitamin A

  • Sweet potatoes, cooked – 1 whole = 28,058 IU (international units)
  • Kale, cooked – 1 cup = 11470 IU
  • Carrots, raw – ½ cup = 9114 IU
  • Squash, Winter – 1 whole = 5726 IU
  • Cod liver oil – 1 TBSP = 4051 IU
  • Egg yolk – 1 large = 260 IU

Vitamin D

  • Cod liver oil – 1 TBSP = 1360 IU
  • Salmon (sockeye), baked – 3 oz = 447 IU
  • Sardines, canned – 3 oz = 231 IU
  • Eggs – 1 whole, large = 41 IU

Vitamin E

  • Sunflower seeds – 1 oz = 7.4 mg
  • Almonds, dry, roasted – 1 oz = 6.8 mg
  • Olives – 1 cup = 4 mg
  • Spinach, boiled – ½ cup = 1.9 mg

Vitamin K

  • Natto – 3 oz = 850 mcg
  • Kale, cooked – 1 cup = 113 mcg
  • Spinach, cooked – 1 cup = 145 mcg
  • Brussel sprouts, cooked – 1 cup = 115 mcg
  • Asparagus – 1 cup = 92 mcg

Thiamin, B1

  • Sunflower seeds – ¼ cup = 0.8 mg
  • Split peas – 1 cup = 0.4 mg
  • Sesame seeds – ¼ cup = 0.3 mg
  • Lentils – 1 cup = 0.3 mg

Riboflavin, B2

  • Beef liver, pan fried – 3 oz = 2.9 mg
  • Crimini mushrooms, raw – 5 oz = 0.7 mg
  • Venison – 4 oz = 0.68 mg
  • Spinach – 1 cup = 0.4 mg
  • Beef tenderloin, cooked – 4 oz = 0.4 mg
Essential Nutrients and Their Food Sources. Image of foods rich in Niacin, B3. Salmon, chicken breast, lamb loin.

Niacin, B3

  • Chicken breast – 4 oz = 14 mg
  • Salmon, baked – 4 oz = 11 mg
  • Lamb loin, roasted – 4 oz = 8 mg
  • Green peas, boiled – 1 cup = 3 mg

Folate

  • Lentils, cooked – 1 cup = 358 mcg
  • Pinto beans, cooked – 1 cup = 294 mcg
  • Chickpeas/Garbanzo beans, cooked – 1 cup = 282 mcg
  • Asparagus – 1 cup = 263 mcg
  • Beets – 1 cup = 136 mcg

Pyridoxine, B6

  • Chickpeas, canned – 1 cup = 1.1 mg
  • Banana – 1 whole, large = 0.68 mg
  • Chicken – 3 oz = 0.54 mg
  • Salmon, Sockeye– 3 oz = 0.52 mg
  • Potato, with skin – 1 cup = 0.42 mg

Cobalamin, B12

  • Liver, beef – 3 oz = 70.7 mcg
  • Trout, baked – 3 oz = 5.4 mcg
  • Salmon, Sockeye – 3 oz = 4.8 mcg
  • Beef tenderloin – 4 oz = 3 mcg
  • Egg – 1 whole = 0.6 mcg

Pantothenic Acid

  • Shitake mushrooms – 100 gm = 3.6 mg
  • Sunflower seeds – ¼ cup = 2 mg
  • Avocado – 1 whole = 2 mg
  • Broccoli, steamed – 1 cup = 0.8 mg
Image of foods rich in Biotin. Eggs cooked in an avocado.

Biotin

  • Egg, cooked – 1 large = 25 mcg
  • Swiss chard – 1 cup = 10.5 mcg
  • Avocado – 1 whole = 6 mcg
  • Cauliflower, raw – 1 cup = 4 mcg

Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)

  • Papaya – 1 whole = 188 mg
  • Peppers, red, raw – 1 cup = 175 mg
  • Broccoli, cooked – 1 cup = 123 mg
  • Brussel sprouts – 1 cup = 97 mg
  • Strawberries – 1 cup = 82 mg

Calcium (Non Dairy)

  • Sardines – 3 oz = 325 mg
  • Salmon, pink, canned – 3 oz = 181 mg
  • Kale, raw – 1 cup = 100 mg
  • Turnip greens – 1 cup = 99 mg
  • Broccoli, raw – ½ cup = 21 mg

Chromium

  • Onions – 1 cup = 25 mcg
  • Romaine lettuce – 2 s = 16 mcg
  • Broccoli – ½ cup = 11 mcg
  • Tomato – 1 cup = 9 mcg
  • Turkey breast – 3 oz = 2 mcg

Copper

  • Sunflower seeds – ¼ cup = 1 mg
  • Sesame seeds – ¼ cup = 1 mg
  • Crimini mushrooms – 5 oz = 1 mg
  • Avocado – 1 cup = 0.4 mg
Image of essential nutrients. Bowl of cooked seaweed, rich in iodine.

Iodine

  • Seaweed – whole sheet = up to 2984 mcg
  • Kelp – ¼ cup = 415 mcg
  • Cranberries – 2 oz = 200 mcg
  • Cod – 3 oz = 99 mcg
  • Turkey breast, baked – 3 oz = 34 mcg

Iron

  • White beans, canned – 1 cup = 8 mg
  • Lentils – 1 cup = 7 mg
  • Spinach, boiled – 1 cup = 6 mg
  • Garbanzo beans, cooked – 1 cup = 5 mg
  • Swiss chard – 1 cup = 4 mg

Magnesium

  • Almonds, dry roasted – 1 oz = 80 mg
  • Pumpkin seeds, raw – 1 oz = 80 mg
  • Spinach, boiled – ½ cup = 74 mg
  • Swiss chard – ½ cup = 73 mg
  • Black beans, cooked – ½ cup = 60 mg

Manganese

  • Pineapple – 1 cup = 2.6 mg
  • Spinach, boiled – 1 cup = 1.7 mg
  • Chickpeas – 1 cup = 1.7 mg
  • Raspberries – 1 cup = 1.2 mg

Phosphorus

  • Swiss chard, boiled – 1 cup = 961 mg
  • Winter squash, baked – 1 cup = 896 mg
  • Broccoli, steamed – 1 cup = 505 mg
  • Cantaloupe – 1 cup = 494 mg

Potassium

  • Swiss chard, boiled – 1 cup = 961 mg
  • Lima beans – 1 cup = 955 mg
  • Avocado – 1 cup = 875 mg
  • Lentils – 1 cup = 730 mg
Image of Brazil nuts, which provide selenium.

Selenium

  • Brazil nuts – 6 whole = 544 mcg
  • Sardines – 3 oz = 47 mg
  • Salmon, boiled – 3 oz = 47 mg
  • Turkey – 3 oz = 33 mg

Zinc

  • Mushrooms – 4 oz = 11 mg
  • Beef tenderloin – 3 oz = 7 mg
  • Lamb loin, cooked – 4 oz = 5 mg
  • Sesame seeds – ¼ cup = 3 mg

This list is not all-inclusive. Eat a diet rich in color and variety. Eat organic veggies and protein sources that come from wild/grass-fed/pasture-raised animals.

Interested in a tailored diet and lifestyle plan? Meet with one of our amazing health coaches! Read more here.


You can book an appointment by clicking here. We are also happy to speak with you at (317) 989-8463, Monday-Thursday, from 8AM – 5PM Eastern time.

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The Center for Fully Functional Health® is led by a team of award-winning, internationally recognized physicians, committed to providing personalized, life-changing care.

40 North Rangeline Rd. Carmel, IN 46032