Fresh produce is loaded with nutrients that are necessary for good health. Organic foods in particular have extra nutrients because of the soil they are are grown in. Additionally, it can be helpful to classify the common nutrients found in organic produce into two categories: vitamins and minerals. Eating a variety of organic fruits and vegetables can ensure that your body is getting the vitamins and minerals that it needs on a daily basis, as recommended by consumerlab.com. Read on for a quick guide to the benefits of common nutrients found in organic produce.
5 Common Vitamins Found in Organic Produce
Vitamins are organic compounds that contain certain atoms. They are needed in small quantities to sustain life. Most vitamins need to come from food because the human body either doesn’t produce enough or any at all.
Vitamin A or Beta-Carotine
Beta-carotene is converted to Vitamin A in your liver. Vitamin A isn’t produced by your body and therefore must be obtained from food sources. Beta-carotene is also a pigment that adds colors to tomatoes, fruits, dark leafy veggies and some types of seafood. It is beneficial for your eyes, teeth and skin.
Carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, apricots, tomatoes, cantaloupe, leeks
Vitamin B1 or Thiamine
Thiamine is also know as Vitamin B1. Thiamine aids proper immune function, iron absorption and energy production. It also aids digestion and may help fight stress and prevent memory loss.
Asparagus, kale, cauliflower, potatoes, oranges, leeks
Vitamin B2 or Riboflavin
Riboflavin, or Vitamin B2, is needed for overall good health. It helps the body break down carbohydrates, proteins and fats to produce energy. Riboflavin helps blood cells convert oxygen to be used by the body and is also important for eye health.
Asparagus, bananas, persimmons, okra, chard, green beans, leeks
Vitamin C or Ascorbic Acid
Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin and powerful antioxidant. It helps strengthen blood vessels, skin elasticity, and iron absorption. Vitamin C also helps to repair and regenerate tissues.
Leeks, carrots, collard greens, kiwi, papaya, cantaloupe, pineapple, mango, strawberries, brussel sprouts
Vitamin D is produced by the body as a response to sun exposure, but can also be consumed in food. It is essential for strong, healthy bones and teeth. It also supports the immune system, brain and nervous system. Vitamin D helps regulate insulin levels and supports lung and cardiovascular health. Perhaps most importantly, Vitamin D helps the body retain calcium.
Shiitake mushrooms, fortified orange juice
7 Common Minerals Found in Organic Produce
Minerals are elements in their simple, inorganic form. They play an essential role in the body’s metabolic functions and growth. You might remember these from the periodic table of elements hanging on the wall in your high school science class.
Potassium helps regulate fluid balance. It controls the electrical activity of the heart and other muscles. It also helps maintain acid/alkaline balance in the blood.
Leeks, bananas, carrots, avocado
Calcium is essential for healthy heart muscles. It initiates DNA synthesis, maintains bone health and strong teeth. Calcium also relieves arthritis and helps lower high blood pressure.
Bananans, carrots, broccoli, spinach, collard greens
Iron helps transport oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. It is essential for building muscle and maintaining healthy blood. Iron also helps maintains healthy hair, skin and nails.
Bananas, potato, peaches, broccoli, spinach
Phosphorus maintains heart regularity, provides energy and aids in metabolism of fats and starches. Potassium also helps boost brain function. It can help soften skin, and strengthen teeth, hair and bones.
Leeks, banans, potatoes, portabella mushrooms, edamame
Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9 found in a variety of plant and animal foods. It helps prevent heart disorders, stroke, and cancer. Folate also helps build muscles, and provides relief from mental and emotional disorders.
Leeks, spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, avocado
Sulfur is required for the proper structure of enzymes and helps the body absorb Vitamin B and biotin. It can help with detoxification and also aids proper insulin function. Sulfur also has antibiotic properties.
Leeks, arugula, cauliflower, kale, radishes, turnips, broccoli, bok choy
Magnesium is important for regulating calcium, potassium and sodium levels. It helps with mental development, digestion of fats and nutrient absorption. Magnesium also helps increase energy and helps calms nerves and anxiety.
Carrots, pumpkin, spinach, artichokes
Other Common Nutrients found in organic produce
While not considered a vitamin or mineral, these common nutrients found in organic produce play a vital role in maintaining balanced health.
Inulin is a soluble fiber that helps nourish gut bacteria. It is also considered a prebiotic, an ingredient that increases the activity of beneficial microorganisms in the gastrointestinal tract.
Sunchokes, asparagus, onions, jicama, garlic
Fiber is type of carbohydrate found in plants. It helps you feel full longer and aids in digestion and the absorption of nutrients.
Artichokes, pears, spinach, apples, oranges, sweet potatoes, berries
To ensure that you are getting enough of these common nutrients found in organic produce, try living the organic foodie lifestyle and eat the rainbow every day!