I have been on a prenatal vitamin for nearly three years now, but am unable to take most prescription strength types because they contain either soy or a stool softener that can upset my Crohn's Disease. I have found a few OTC vitamins that seemed to work well in the past, but lately they have been upsetting my stomach.
Because of this, I decided to start researching what exactly these vitamins contain. I discovered that most of the brands you find on the store shelves are synthetic - vitamins created in a laboratory from coal tar derivatives, which are not absorbed by your body in the same way as vitamins from natural plants and other materials. Even when the vitamins say they are coming from natural sources, we don't know exactly what that means. For example - Vitamin E often comes from soybean oil (most likely genetically modified at that).
So, I've made a decision to stop taking vitamins and to focus more on getting my vitamins from the food I eat. This decision lead me to NutritionData, a website that allows you to search for foods that contain high levels of certain vitamins and minerals. From the lists they provided, I weeded out the processed and enriched foods to find the raw foods containing the highest levels.
While looking at the lists I created, I noticed that many of the same foods were appearing over and over again. Organ meat (especially liver) was found on 46% of the lists. Leafy greens (especially spinach) and wheat germ were on 36%, while sunflower seeds and mollusks were on 32%. Squash and pumpkin seeds were on 27% and the following foods were on 18% of the lists - rice bran, wild game meat, eggs, lentils, and nuts.
So I am now considering these foods my "superfoods" and am going to make an effort to include them in my diet as much as possible. I've always known that I need to eat these foods, but never really knew why until now.
Here are the specific lists:
Foods high in Vitamin A -Leafy greens, Carrots, animal liver, Broccoli, Asparagus, Cabbage, prunes, Okra, Leeks, Kiwi. Full list found here.
Foods high in Vitamin B6 - hot peppers, Paprika, Summer squash/zucchini, Watercress, Bell peppers, Turnip greens, Bamboo shoots, Spinach, Okra, Garlic. Full list found here.
Foods high in vitamin B12- Mollusks, Animal liver, Crustaceans, Animal heart, Fish, Wild game meat, Eggs, Milk, Beef, Poultry. Full list found here.
Foods high in Vitamin C - Bell peppers, guavas, Currants, Hot peppers, Orange peel/oranges, leafy greens, Broccoli, Kohlrabi, Papaya, lemons. Full list found here.
Foods high in Vitamin D - Cod liver oil, Fish, Oysters, Eggs, Cheese, Milk, Mushrooms, Clams. Full list found here.
Foods high in Vitamin E - Wheat germ oil, Hazelnut oil, Almond oil, Sunflower seeds, Paprika, cayenne pepper, chili powder, grapeseed oil, Almonds, Flaxseed oil. Full list found here.
Foods high in Vitamin K - Kale, Swiss chard, Dandelion greens, Collard greens. Full list found here.
Foods high in folate - Yeast, Animal liver, Beans (mothbeans, chickpeas, cowpeas, mung beans, etc.), lentils, Giblets, Wheat germ, Peanuts, Sunflower seeds, Spinach. Full list found here.
Foods high in calcium - Whey, Milk, Cheese, Seaweed, agave, Grape leaves, Flaxseed, Leafy greens. Full list found here.
Foods high in iron - Whale/seal/walrus meat, Animal spleen, Animal liver, Seaweed, Clams, Yeast, Pumpkin/squash seeds, Sesame seeds, Bell peppers. Full list found here.
Foods high in magnesium - rice bran, Seaweed, Wheat bran, Pumpkin/squash seeds, Flaxseed, Brazilnuts, Sesame seeds, Beans (yardlong, cowpeas, hyacinth, etc.), Sunflower seeds. Full list found here.
Foods high in zinc - Oysters, Wheat germ, Agave, Animal liver, Pumpkin and squash seeds, Beef, Wild game meat (bear, caribou, bison, elk), Lamb, whale. Full list found here.
Foods high in potassium - Palm hearts, Beans (white, lima, black, etc.), Molasses, Wheat bran, Nuts (pistachio, ginkgo, chestnuts, etc.), Lentils, Arrowhead, Wheat germ, Sunflower seeds. Full list found here.
Foods high in phosphorus - Rice bran, Smelt, Seeds (pumpkin, squash, sunflower, etc.), Wheat bran, wheat germ, Cheese (Parmesan, goat, gruyere, swiss, etc.), Cashews, Oats, Walnuts, durum wheat. Full list found here.
Foods high in copper - Animal liver, Oysters, Seaweed, Dried shiitake mushrooms, Sesame seeds, Nuts (cashews, brazilnuts, walnuts, etc.), Lobster, Sunflower seeds, Lentils. Full list found here.
Foods high in manganese - Rice bran, Wheat germ, Nuts (hazelnuts, pine nuts, etc.), Oats, Mussels, Maple syrup, Bulgur, Spelt, Grape leaves. Full list found here.
Foods high in selenium - Nuts, Mollusks, Animal kidneys, Animal giblets, Durum wheat, Sunflower seeds, Wheat germ, Kamut, Animal liver, Fish . Full list found here.
Foods high in choline - Egg, Organ meat, Whey, Beef, Game meat, Pork, Veal, Animal fat, Milk, Beef stock/broth. Full list found here.
Foods high in beta carotene - Grape leaves, Carrots, sweet potatoes, Leafy greens, pumpkin, Squash, Cabbage, Plums, Peas, apricots. Full list found here.
Foods high in lycopene - Tomatoes, Watermelon, Grapefruit, Asparagus, Red cabbage, Carrots, Chicken liver. Full list found here.
Foods high in Betaine - Quinoa, Spinach, Beets, Kamut, Bulgur, Amaranth, Tilapia, Oat bran, Beef, Game meat. Full list found here.
Foods high in Pantothenic Acid - Rice bran, Organ meat, Whey, Egg, Shiitake mushrooms, Wheat germ, Lentils, Peanuts, Cheese. Full list found here.
Note - on NutritionData, I used the Nutrient Search Tool and sorted for foods highest in a particular vitamin or mineral based on levels per 100-gram serving.