I am all about incorporating as many whole foods into our daily meals as possible. Whole foods are nutrient-dense, as opposed to processed foods that are just that—processed. They may contain added vitamins but lose their nutrient content and fiber through processing.

Here is my guide to vitamins and minerals, the nourishing role they play in the body, and the amounts needed. Remember, this is purely a guideline.

VITAMINS (water-soluble)

Water-soluble vitamins move directly into the blood and circulate freely in water-filled compartments of the body. Water-soluble vitamins tend to be excreted easily, as opposed to fat-soluble vitamins that remain in fat-storage sites (and can reach toxic levels more easily). Because they are excreted easily, they must be eaten more regularly.

B1 (Thiamin)

B2 (Riboflavin)

B3 (Niacin)

B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

B6 (Pyridoxine)

B7 (Biotin)

Folate (also known as folacin or folic acid)

B12 (cobalamin)

Vitamin C

VITAMINS (fat-soluble)

Unlike water-soluble vitamins, these vitamins enter the lymph system first and then the blood. They also are stored in fat-storage sites, so they are more likely to reach toxic levels when consumed in excess.

Vitamin A

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

Vitamin K














Terms to Know

Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA)

This represents the average daily intake of each vitamin and mineral that a person needs to maintain health. RDA is categorized by age and gender.

Adequate Intake (AI)

If there is no scientific evidence on a vitamin or mineral, an AI is set instead of an RDA. AI is the average daily amount of a nutrient that appears sufficient to maintain health.

Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)

This is the maximum daily amount of a nutrient that appears safe for most healthy people. Consuming more than UL can lead to health risks.