The dietitians of the world would have you believe that vitamins and minerals pretty much exist solely in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and multi-vitamins are irrelevant. What do you do when you want to drop your carb intake while sticking to whole foods? Here are a few ideas that are not broccoli and asparagus.
- Pretty much from any animal. This one single food contains more total micronutrients than there are fish in the sea. In addition to being lean and plentiful in protein, liver is rich in vitamin A, iron, copper, B complex, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, and chromium. If you’re averse to the taste, try lamb liver instead of the more common beef liver and cook, but don’t overcook (!) it with onions. If that’s not enough, you can try “marinating” it in milk first. It’s weird, but it works!
- Egg YOLK. The whites, although lower in fat, are pretty much devoid of vitamins and minerals. Egg yolks are one of only a few great food sources of vitamin D that are not fish, and this is the major reason they make the list. Not big on eggs or fish? Get out in the sun! Sunlight jumpstarts the conversion of cholesterol into vitamin D! In addition, egg yolks contain B complex, vitamin A, vitamin K, selenium, and phosphorus. On a side note, don’t sweat the cholesterol. Your liver actually manufactures 1-2 grams every day, so a little bit from the diet just cuts down your livers work load.
- While we’re on the topic of fats, almonds are a great source of monounsaturated fats and micronutrients. In particular, almonds contain plenty of vitamin E, folate, riboflavin, niacin, choline, calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper, potassium, and phosphorus. If they’re salted, they might also contain iodine to support healthy thyroid function.
- Pretty much any variation of yogurt has a worthwhile amount of vitamins and minerals. Of course, Greek yogurt is higher in protein, but all yogurts are good sources of calcium, phosphorus, and other minerals. Depending on how the milk was handled, yogurt may also be a good source of vitamin A and vitamin D. Vitamin A will always be present in at least small quantities. However, companies are only required to add vitamin D to milk. Even though yogurt is made from milk, vitamin D is not always added.
- Fish and Shellfish. Fish, mostly shellfish, are the only foods with a notable amount of vitamin C that are not fruits or vegetables. Clams, oysters, and fish eggs (roe) contain the most, followed by crab and salmon. Other fish contain less than 10% DV of vitamin C. Fish in general also tend to be rich in the B vitamins and most minerals, particularly selenium. Some shellfish, such as oysters, also contain a good amount of vitamin D. Fatty fish will also contain omega-3 fats!
Although all vitamins and minerals can be obtained while eating low-carb foods, vegetables are still required. But if you’re looking for something non-green, -red, or -blue “superfoods” to add a little more nutrient density to a healthy diet, look no further.