VitaminsAre you getting enough… vitamins?

Choosing foods rich in essential vitamins could have life-changing effects on your general health – and boost your mood too. But how much of the right foods do you need to get your recommended daily amount? Find out here…

Vitamin C

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a water-soluble vitamin that we need to consume every day as it cannot be stored in the body. The vitamin is an antioxidant, helping neutralise free radicals – unstable molecules responsible for ageing, tissue damage and which may cause heart disease and cancers. It also helps boost the immune system, protecting us from viruses and bacteria, and is vital to help heal wounds and keep skin, bones, gums and connective tissue healthy. It’s probably one of the most common supplements people take, but with such an abundant supply in fabulous fresh fruit and veg, why not get yours from your diet?

How much do we need?

The current EU RDA is 80mg daily for adults. You can find this amount in: 1 satsuma (25%) + 80g cooked frozen peas (16%) + half a small/60g red pepper (53%) + 1 medium/100g raw carrot (6%)


Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin and is the B vitamin that helps release and utilise the energy and nutrients in the foods you eat as well as supporting the work of other B vitamins and some antioxidants. It may also help prevent cataracts and ease migraine, while a lack of B2 can be the cause of a sore mouth or tongue and cracked lips as well as anaemia and high blood pressure. Heat and light destroy the vitamin – so store foods away from sunlight and out of a hot kitchen, if possible. Good sources of B2 are dairy products and eggs, fortified breakfast cereals, liver and Marmite.

How much do we need?

The EU RDA for vitamin B2 is 1.4mg daily for adults. You can find this amount in: 125g tub low-fat natural yoghurt (21.5%) + 1 large egg (21.5%) + 2 Weetabix (21%) + 100g dark-gilled mushrooms (36%)

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that surplus can be stored in your body and used another day. But modern eating habits, often reliant on fast and processed foods, mean many of us don’t have any surplus vitamin E for tomorrow! The vitamin is an antioxidant and is thought to help protect us from cardiovascular disease, cancer and cell damage as we age. Vitamin E is also an immune-booster, increasing the activity of the white blood cells that fight infections. The vitamin is also important for maintaining healthy skin and helping wounds to heal, and can help reduce the pain of osteoarthritis. Good sources are nuts and seeds and their oils, dried tomatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy greens and avocados.

How much do we need?

The EU RDA for vitamin E is 12mg daily for adults. You can find this amount in: 20 almonds (56.5%) + Half a 300g baked sweet potato (9.3%) + Half a medium avocado (17.5%) + 100g steamed spinach (16.7%)

Vitamin A

Vitamin A plays an important role in vision, bone growth, reproduction, cell division, and cell differentiation. There are two forms of vitamin A – retinol, which can be found in milk, cheese, butter, egg yolks and oily fish like mackerel and beta-carotene, which you will find in dark green vegetables and yellow, orange and red fruits like peppers. But beware: an excess of vitamin A can damage the liver, bones and eyes. Pregnant women in particular should avoid too much vitamin A and cut out foods such as liver and liver paté altogether.

How much do we need?

The EU RDA for vitamin A is 6mg daily for adults. You can find this amount in: 60g steamed carrots or 1 tomato (33%) + 25g Cheddar cheese (67%)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is often called the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as our bodies manufacture it from sunlight on our skin. During winter, and if you get little or no sun exposure, it’s important to get this vitamin in your diet as a whopping two-thirds of us may be deficient. Vital for calcium absorption, vitamin D helps to prevent bone fractures, cancer and cardiovascular disease, colds and flu, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, back pain and depression. Best sources are oily fish, eggs, butter and some spreads and fortified breakfast cereals.

How much do we need?

EU RDA is 5mcg for adults though some experts recommend up to 25mcg during winter. You can find this amount in: 50g sardines canned in oil, drained (50%) + 100g braising steak (14%) + 25g Bran Flakes (20%) + 2 tsp Flora Original spread (16%)

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