Essential Vitamins for Every Diet

Getting all of the vitamins your body needs can be difficult. So like many people, you head to the supplement aisle and purchase multivitamins. Problem solved, right? Unfortunately, while it seems like an efficient way to get your vitamins, it may not be the best for your health. According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, you should be getting vitamins primarily from food sources.

It can be tedious work researching daily vitamin requirements and what foods you need to shop for. That’s why we have created a guide that will help you optimize your meal plan with these 5 essential vitamins.

Vitamin B-6

Vitamin B-6 is a water-soluble vitamin that is involved in over 100 enzyme reactions, especially with protein metabolism. The recommended daily amount of B-6 is 1.3 mg/day, but this number will vary depending on the metabolism rate of your body. Genetics determines your metabolism rate, so understanding your vitamin absorption is important. Foods that naturally include B-6 are fish, turkey, beans, nuts, eggs, and soy products.

Here are some meals that you can include in your meal plan:

Chicken and Asparagus Lemon Stir-Fry
Salmon with Hoisin, Orange and Bok Choy
Garlic Tomato Chutney

You can find these recipes with a quick online search.

Vitamin B-9 (Folate)

Vitamin B-9 (also called folate) has many functions in the body, including mediating cell and tissue function, facilitating protein metabolism, helping form red blood cells to prevent anemia, and building DNA. It occurs naturally in leafy green vegetables, beans and citrus fruits. The recommended daily intake is 400 µg/day but like other vitamins, your genetics decide the rate of metabolism.

Here are some creative recipes that will help you get your daily folate:

Paleo Mess of Greens with Bacon (source: Oh Snap! Let’s Eat!)
Roasted Asparagus with Lemon Vinaigrette (source: Paleo Newbie)
Guacamole or anything with Avocados

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 helps keep the body’s blood and nerve cells healthy and is involved in the process of creating DNA. Foods with naturally occurring B-12 include milk, eggs, cheese, meat, fish, shellfish, and poultry. The recommended intake of B-12 is 2.4 µg/day but depends on your height, weight, and DNA.

Plan your meals for these easy but delicious recipes:

The Denver Omelet (source: allrecipes)
Greek Yogurt with Fruit or Nuts
Easy Honey Garlic Chicken (source: Cafe Delites)

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin since it is produced when your body absorbs rays from the sun. But sunshine isn’t the only way to get Vitamin D as it occurs naturally in fatty fish, egg yolks, and cheese. Vitamin D is involved in multiple roles which include bone maintenance, immune and nervous system support, insulin level regulation and supports heart health. The recommended amount of Vitamin D you should consume each day is 15-20 µg/day, but this amount depends on how your well you absorb vitamins, based on your genetics.

If you don’t live in an area with a lot of sunshine, these recipes will help you get your Vitamin D. They are even great if you live in sunny areas:

Rich Mushroom Soup
Yogurt Berry Cups
Scrambled Egg Burritos
You can find these recipes and more at Health.


It is common knowledge that we need calcium for bone formation, but it also plays an important role in nerve conduction, muscle contraction, and blood clotting. Dairy products, kale, spinach, fortified cereal, tofu and soy milk are all great sources of calcium. Calcium metabolism depends on your genetic makeup, but it is typically suggested that you consume 1000 mg/day.

Here are some creative recipes that will help you get your proper calcium intake every day:

Three Cheese and Sage Ravioli
Swiss Enchiladas
Grilled Shrimp Pizza
You can find these recipes and more at Health.

Lastly, it is important to know that calcium does not have to come from dairy sources! If you are lactose intolerant, you can still obtain calcium naturally without taking supplements. Check out this list of 18 excellent non-dairy sources of calcium so you can begin incorporating them into your meal plan.

Know Your Genetics and Consult With a Dietitian

Since vitamin metabolism varies greatly in each person, you can plan your diet better with a nutrition DNA test. The nutrition DNA test will individualize your vitamin needs. A DNA nutrition test will even provide recommendations on how much of each vitamin you should be consuming based on your DNA test results. You can take it a step further use these DNA test results to work with an health expert to fully optimize your entire diet routine.

Author's Bio: 

Charles Lanman, M.Sc. is a founding member and current CEO of HealthCodes DNA. His expertise in biotech spans over fifteen years of professional experience in various team and leadership roles. HIs personal life includes a ten year run as a competitive Olympic style weightlifter culminating in a national championship. Charles brought together his passion for science and sports performance to create HealthCodes DNA.

HealthCodes DNA® provides genetics-based nutrition and fitness training programs for improving the results from diet and exercise using DNA insights. HealthCodes DNA's line of patented DNA tests identify the best foods and exercises for a client's unique body, based on his or her genes. HealthCodes DNA follows up each DNA test result by giving its users lifetime access to proprietary meal and exercise planning technology along with unlimited health consultations to ensure each client see sustainable and measurable lifestyle improvements.