Vitamins: how real food delivers the best results


Vitamins are vital. Real food is the best way to absorb the nutrients we need, and the reason what we choose to eat is so important. While vitamin supplements are popular, experts agree they are no substitute for a healthy diet.

A balanced diet full of fruits, vegetables, legumes, healthy fats and whole grains offers a mix of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients (some yet to be even identified) that collectively provide what we need. However, many of us doubt whether we can get all the nutrients we need from food alone. Yet all that is needed is just a little planning, patience and knowledge about the foods that will help you meet your daily requirements. Just Routine can speed you on this journey, and to help get you started here are some nutrient-dense foods to add to your JR shopping list:

  • Leafy greens such as chard, collard greens, kale, spinach
  • Peppers, Brussels sprouts, broccoli
  • Mushrooms (crimini and shiitake)
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Avocados, tomatoes, cantaloupe, papaya, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries
  • Plain yogurt or Greek yogurt
  • Beans, dried or canned (garbanzo, kidney, navy, pinto), lentils, peas
  • Almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts + seeds (flax, pumpkin, sesame, and sunflower)
  • Barley, oats, quinoa, brown rice
  • Salmon, halibut, cod, scallops, shrimp, tuna
  • Lean beef, lamb, venison
  • Chicken, turkey
  • Eggs
  • Olive oil
Vitamins: maximising the benefits from real food

To help reap the full nutritional benefits from these wonderful real foods try these delicious combinations to help our bodies absorb all the fabulous nutrients.

  • With dark green leafy vegetables (rocket, spinach, kale and chard) add healthy fats – think olive oil – as vitamins A D E and K are fat soluble vitamins.
  • To reap the full benefits of iron from plant-based foods such as spinach, add foods high in vitamin C – peppers work well, or a fresh lemon vinaigrette added to a spinach salad.
  • Lycopene is an antioxidant found in, amongst others, tomatoes and watermelon. For optimal absorption lycopene should be consumed with fat, as it will help the digestive tract to absorb it better. Try a tomato and avocado salsa.
  • Folic acid (legumes, egg yolks, dark green leafy veg) and vitamin B12 (only in animal products) work together in the synthesis of DNA and red blood cells. These two essential nutrients are made for each other and deficiencies in either can have serious health risks.
  • Broccoli and tomatoes are a cancer fighting power pair, as different bioactive compounds in each food work on a different anti-cancer pathway according to the University of Illinois.
And don’t forget the added value herbs and spices can offer:
  • Mix a little rosemary into your stews and roasts, as it can aid in stopping cancer causing chemicals (carcinogens) from forming during cooking.
  • Many people are now aware of the benefits of turmeric, but they will be reduced when you add it to your cooking unless you also add black pepper. This significantly increases the bioavailability of curcumin, the dominant compound in turmeric.


Click here to explore Just Routine’s comprehensive real food database:

  • access hundreds of healthy real food recipes
  • create tailored meals
  • develop your own cookbook of favourite recipes
  • use the shopping list to craft a real food routine
  • receive daily healthy eating tips to help you along

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Iris is the founder of No Targets Just Routine. She has researched food since 2009 and believes “Happiness is real food shared with loved ones.”

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