Vitamin C

Micronutrient Infographic

A certain few friends from college would poke fun at my putting this on my website because in school I created a massive vitamin and mineral chart (sources, recommended intake level, upper limits, consequences of deficiency, etc.) and put it on my ceiling to study. So here's a nice infographic with sources of vitamins and minerals listed as well as the body systems these micronutrients individually support.

Blue Ribbon Vegetables

As a Registered Dietitian I find that my counseling often emphasizes adding vegetables and fruits in.  Although it sounds simpler that it is, the truth is that it is easier for us to eliminate the bad by utilizing the good.  This leads to satisfying and nutritious meals.  Not to mention, a pattern of intake that our bodies were meant to experience.

Take a look at all of the wonderful nutrients you can get from the following foods.  Use this 'Blue Ribbon' produce in as many meals as possible!

Top Vegetables for Various Nutrients:

Vitamin A - Pumpkin, Collard Greens, Sweet Potato, Kale, Carrots

Vitamin C - Red Pepper, Oranges, Strawberries, Grapefruit, Kiwi, Broccoli

Vitamin K - Kale, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Collard Greens, Broccoli, Green Cabbage

Vitamins B1 and B2 - Peas, Spinach, Mushrooms

Vitamin B6 - Prunes, Banana, Sweet Red Pepper, Baked Potato, Spinach, Zucchini

Folate - Asparagus, Spinach, Cauliflower, Endive

Potassium - Baked Potato, Kale, Avocado, Sweet Potato, Cantaloupe, Bananas, Tomato, Cabbage

Phosphorus - Green Peas, Corn, Baked Potato, Broccoli

Magnesium - Spinach, Banana, Arugula, Pineapple, Swiss Chard

Manganese - Pineapple, Spinach, Blackberries, Strawberries, Peas

Nutrients that are Impacted by Stress

And Vice Versa!  Is it the chicken or the egg?

Stress is an oxidative process in the body, during which micronutrients are used to help fight off further damage to cells from this oxidation.  That's why it is important to maintain regular intake of all of those colorful fruits and vegetables.  Each one contains different phytonutrients that help to fight off stress, which in turn means they need to be replaced thereafter.  So whether you feel it is before, during, or affter a stressful period in your life, you need these nutrients!  Here are some ideas for food sources.

  • Tomatoes, watermelon, papayas are sources of lycopene (a carotenoid, or provitamin A)
  • Oranges, apricots, bell peppers, and broccoli are all sources of vitamin C
  • Carrots, spinach, sweet potatoes are sources of beta-carotene (a carotenoid, or provitamin A)
  • Spinach, whole grains, and milk/yogurt are all sources of B vitamins

Photo courtesy of


Vitamin C and the Common Cold

Since I've been getting a lot of questions on the topic recently, I wanted to clarify a few things using the evidence...  Does taking Vitamin C in fact help prevent a cold or decrease the impact of a cold?

Vitamin C does bolster the immune system by enabling the body to make white blood cells.  These are immune-modulating cells that help fight off infection.  So while Vitamin C is important to the immune system and total health, studies have consistently shown that additional supplementation of Vitamin C in the diet does not prevent a cold or reduce the duration of a cold. 

This myth started in the 1970s when scientist Linus Pauling theorized that taking 1000 mg of Vitamin C daily would prevent the common cold.  He was starting to learn more and more about the role of vitamins and minerals in the diet, and wanted to take the knowledge base and study it.  The 1000 mg dosage level was developed for his hypothesis but has since stuck with the public.  

Dietary sources of Vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, broccoli, and cantaloupe.