How to Get Your Nutrients

We need a variety of nutrients each day to stay healthy, including calcium and vitamin D to protect our bones, folic acid to produce and maintain new cells, and vitamin A to preserve a healthy immune system and vision.

Yet the source of these nutrients is important. “Usually it is best to try to get these vitamins and minerals and nutrients from food as opposed to supplements,” Dr. Manson says.

Fruits, vegetables, fish, and other healthy foods contain nutrients and other substances not found in a pill, which work together to keep us healthy. We can’t get the same synergistic effect from a supplement. Taking certain vitamins or minerals in higher-than-recommended doses may even interfere with nutrient absorption or cause side effects. (Harvard Health Publishing) (

Nutrient Food sources


Milk, yogurt, sardines, tofu,

fortified orange juice

Folic acid

Fortified cereal, spinach,lentils, beef liver


Oysters, chicken liver, turkey

Omega-3 fatty acids

Salmon, sardines, flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans

Vitamin A

Sweet potato, spinach, carrots, cantaloupe, tomatoes

Vitamin B6

Chickpeas, salmon, chicken breast

Vitamin B12

Clams, beef liver, trout, fortified breakfast cereals

Vitamin D

Salmon, tuna, yogurt, fortified milk

Vitamin E

Wheat germ oil, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter

If you’re lacking in a particular nutrient, ask your doctor whether you need to look beyond your diet to make up for what you’re missing—but don’t take more than the recommended daily intake for that nutrient unless your health care provider advises it. (Harvard Health Publishing) (

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