foods-before-vitaminsIn general, getting your nutrients from foods is better than getting them from supplements. In some cases, one serving of a food can satisfy more than 100% of your daily requirements for one or more nutrients.

Kale is extremely healthy. It is one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet and particularly high in vitamin K1. Vitamin K1 is essential for blood clotting and may play a role in bone health.

Seaweed — such as kelp, nori, kombu, and wakame — are all very rich in iodine. Iodine deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, affecting nearly one-third of the global population. Iodine deficiency causes thyroid problems in adults which often leads to weight gain with little to no hope of ever getting the weight back off. However, different types of seaweed contain varying amounts of iodine. In general, brown seaweeds — such as wakame and kombu — provide higher amounts than green seaweeds, such as nori. Kombu has a very high iodine content. It even exceeds the upper level of safe intake, which is 1,100 mcg per day. For this reason, seaweed should not be consumed daily, as it may cause adverse effects.

The liver is the most nutritious part of any animal. It’s rich in essential nutrients, including vitamin B12, vitamin A, iron, folate, and copper. Vitamin B12 intake is particularly important, as many people are lacking in it. It plays a crucial role in cell, brain, and nervous system health. Beef liver contains high amounts of vitamin B12, vitamin A, and copper.

If you’re lacking in selenium, Brazil nuts may be the perfect snack. Selenium is essential for thyroid and immune system function, as well as antioxidant activity. The RDI is 50–70 mcg, which may be achieved by consuming just 1 large Brazil nut. Each nut may provide up to 95 mcg of selenium. The upper tolerance level for selenium is set at about 300–400 mcg per day for adults, so make sure not to eat too many of them.

Shellfish, such as clams and oysters, are among the most nutritious types of seafood. Clams are packed with vitamin B12. In fact, 3.5 ounces (100 grams) provides over 1,600% of the RDI. Furthermore, they contain high amounts of other B vitamins, as well as potassium, selenium, and iron.

Although multivitamins may be beneficial for some people, they’re unnecessary for most. In some cases, they may even provide excessive amounts of certain nutrients. If you want to boost your nutrient intake through diet alone, consider adding some of these nutritious, whole foods to your routine. Blood work is always a good idea in determining your body’s individual needs before you add any additional supplements.

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