Complete Nutrient Summary

   

Introduction

This page gives a brief description of nutrients needed for the human body, and lists some vegetarian and vegan sources for each.

The diet that Vegetarian Victoria recommends is a vegetarian diet that contains a wide variety of plant-based foods – fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes, with wholegrain foods in preference to “white” processed foods (e.g. brown rice instead of white). Eating a wide range of foods is the key. Dairy foods and eggs are optional – they are not needed for health but some vegetarians like to eat them for convenience and/or for the taste. It is also ok to have small amounts of chocolate, sweet biscuits, chips, ice cream etc. as long as this does not displace the basis of the diet outlined above.

Vegetarians who eat a very limited range of foods or who are very fussy eaters can have health problems just like a very fussy meat eater who eats a limited range of plant foods. Nutrients that may be of concern for vegetarians who do not follow a properly balanced diet are protein, iron and zinc. Nutrients of concern for vegans who eat a poor diet are protein, iron, zinc, calcium and of course vitamin B12. A vitamin B12 supplement, or regular consumption of foods fortified with B12, is recommended for vegans in any case due to the fact that B12 is only found in significant quantities in animal products.

Dietitians

A vegetarian or vegan diet can be very healthy and is not that difficult to plan properly. But as just mentioned, there can be problems if one is careless about what one eats. If you are concerned about your diet, or if you feel you may not be eating properly, it is advisable to see a dietitian. Even just for peace of mind.

Vitamins & Minerals

Vitamins   
The term vitamin is derived from the words “vital” and “amine”, because vitamins are required for life and were originally thought to all be amines. Vitamins are organic compounds required in small amounts from the diet   
for many of the processes carried out in the body. An organic compound is considered a vitamin if a lack of that compound in the diet results in overt symptoms of deficiency.   Usually only a few milligrams (mg) or micrograms (µg) are needed per day, but these amounts are essential for health. Vitamins have been traditionally grouped into two categories; the fat soluble vitamins, and the water soluble vitamins.

Minerals
Minerals are elements that originate in the Earth and cannot be made by living systems. Plants obtain minerals from the soil, and most of the minerals in our diets come directly from plants or indirectly from animal sources. Minerals may also be present in the water we drink, but this varies with geographic area. Minerals from plant sources may also vary from place to place, because soil mineral content varies geographically.

Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDIs)

Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDIs) are the levels of intake of essential nutrients considered to be adequate by the National Health & Medical Research Council to meet the known nutritional needs of practically all healthy people. The RDIs incorporate generous factors to accommodate variations in absorption and metabolism. They therefore apply to group needs. RDIs exceed the actual nutrient requirements of practically all healthy people and are not synonymous with requirements. For example, the RDI for Niacin includes a safety factor of 50%.

Please note that the RDIs listed below are for adults of approximately 19-64 years of age. Different RDIs are used for infants, young children, children, teenagers, pregnant and lactating women, and the elderly, so they are to be used as a guide only. If you would like information on the RDIs for these other groups please refer to the National Health and Medical Research Council   Recommended Dietary Intakes for use in Australia  page, in particular Appendix 1: Recommended dietary intakes.

As well as the tables below, the following resources allow you to easily look up the nutrient content of thousands of different foods:
–   US Dept. Agriculture Nutrient Database. This site allows you search by nutrient or name or food and  displays quite detailed nutrient information.
–   NutritionData Nutrition Facts Analyser. NutritionData (ND) generates nutrition facts and provides simplified nutritional analyses for foods and recipes. Includes facts on food from fast food restaurants. ND tells you what’s good and bad about the foods you eat, and helps you select foods that best meet your dietary needs. Use ND’s Nutrient Search Tool to find the foods that are lowest in carbohydrates, highest in protein, or that match any other dietary restrictions or goals. Please note that the data in both these resources is based on foods in the US.

Nutrients List

Essential Fatty Acids (Omega-3)
Protein
Water-Soluble Vitamins:
  B Group:
  Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
  Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
  Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)
  Vitamin H (Biotin)
  Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  Vitamin B9 (Folate)
  Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
  Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)
Fat-Soluble Vitamins:
  Vitamin A (Retinol)
  Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol)
  Vitamin E (alpha-Tocopherol)
  Vitamin K (Menadione)
Water and the Electrolytes:
  Sodium
  Chloride
  Potassium
Minerals:
  Iron
  Zinc
  Calcium
  Phosphorus
  Magnesium
Essential Trace Minerals:
  Copper
  Iodine
  Chromium
  Selenium
  Molybdenum

 

In the above list:
– Vitamins listed from Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) through to Vitamin B6 (Pyrodoxine) are
involved in Energy Metabolism
– Vitamins listed from Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) through to Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) are
involved in Haematopoiesis (the formation of blood cells in the body).

———

Nutrient Summary

Water-Soluble Vitamins:

B Group:

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Thiamin is needed to release energy from carbohydrate. The amount required is related to the amount of carbohydrate eaten. Deficiency of Thiamin causes Beri-Beri, a disorder of the nervous system, which occurs in communities where white rice is the main food eaten. A different type of Thiamin deficiency which affects brain function (Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome) is sometimes seen in alcoholics.

Requirements and RDI
RDI: 0.1 mg/1000kJ/day (since Thiamin is required for energy generation the RDI is expressed per kJ intake). This equates to approximately 1.1 mg for men and 0.8 mg for women.

Food

Serving

Thiamin (mg)

   Peanuts

2 tbsp

0.20

   Brazil nuts

2 tbsp

0.23

   Pecan nuts

2 tbsp

0.13

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

0.40

   Tahini/Sesame seeds

2 tbsp

0.40

   Marmite/Vegemite (fortified)

5 g

0.55

   Pineapple (chunks)

1 cup

0.14

   Watermelon (chunks)

1 cup

0.13

   Orange

1 fruit

0.12

   Potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.13

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.09

   Breakfast cereal (fortified)

100 g

0.9-1.8

   Barley (whole)

1/2 cup

0.29

   Wheat bran, unprocessed

2 tbsp

0.51

   Wheat germ

2 tbsp

0.24

   Oat meal (regular)

2/3 cup

0.19

   Pita bread (6-inch pocket)

1 pocket

0.18

   Pasta (whole wheat)

1/2 cup

0.07

   Rice, brown (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.10

   Rice, white (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.02

   Peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.21

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.17

   Lima beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.15

   Split peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.15

   Kidney beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.14

   Navy beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.13

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.13

   Milk

1/2 cup

0.05

   Egg (cooked)

1 large

0.03

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Riboflavin is required to release energy from protein, carbohydrate and fat. Although there is no specific deficiency disease, low intakes lead to symptoms such as dryness and cracking of the skin around the mouth and nose. Excess Riboflavin is excreted in the urine.

Requirements and RDI   
RDI: 0.15 mg/1000 kJ/day (since Riboflavin is required for energy generation the RDI is expressed per kJ intake). This equates to approximately 1.7 mg for men and 1.2 mg for women.

Food

Serving

Riboflavin (mg)

   Almonds

2 tbsp

0.25

   Peanuts

2 tbsp

0.12

   Marmite/Vegemite (fortified)

5 g

0.43

   Banana

1 medium

0.11

   Nori (cooked)

1/2 cup

2.93

   Kelp (cooked)

1/2 cup

2.48

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.17

   Mushrooms (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.14

   Sweet potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.14

   Asparagus (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.10

   Broccoli (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.09

   Breakfast cereal (fortified)

100 g

1.4 (approx)

   Barley (whole)

1/2 cup

0.13

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.24

   Peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.12

   Kidney beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.09

   Milk

1/2 cup

0.19

   Cheddar cheese

1 ounce

0.11

   Egg (cooked)

1 large

0.26

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

The central role of Niacin is in the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and proteins into usable energy. It is found in most foods and can also be made by the body from the amino acid tryptophan. Deficiency results in a disease called Pellagra. Excess intakes from vitamin supplements may be dangerous.

Requirements and RDI   
– Niacin equivalent (NE) = Dietary Niacin (mg) +   Tryptophan (mg)
                                                                               60
– RDI: 1.6 mgNE/1000 kJ/day (since Niacin is required for energy
generation the RDI is expressed per kJ intake). This equates to
approximately 19 mg for men and 13 mg for women.

Food

Serving

Niacin (mg)

   Peanut butter

2 tbsp

4.6

   Peanuts

2 tbsp

3.3

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

2.8

   Tahini

2 tbsp

1.5

   Marmite/Vegemite (fortified)

5 g

2.5

   Avocado

1/2

1.6

   Mushrooms (cooked)

1/2 cup

2.1

   Potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.7

   Corn (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.0

   Breakfast cereal (fortified)

100 g

8-15

   Bread (whole wheat)

1 slice

1.0

   Barley (whole)

1/2 cup

2.1

   Millet

1/2 cup

1.5

   Wheat germ

20 g

1.98

   Coffee (brewed)

1 cup

0.5

   Rice, brown (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.3

   Rice, white (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.8

   Tempeh

1/2 cup

3.8

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.1

   Lima beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.9

   Peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.6

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Pantothenic Acid is needed for the breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It plays a number of essential metabolic roles in the human body, including the production of energy. Deficiency is virtually impossible.

Requirements and RDI
– No RDI exists because of Vitamin B5’s widespread
distribution in food. Instead an ESADDI (Estimated Safe
and Adequate Daily Dietary Intake) is specified.
– ESADDI: 4-7 mg/day.

Food

Serving

Pantothenic Acid (mg)

   Avocado

1/2 

0.84

   Sweet potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.74

   Mushrooms (raw), chopped

1/2 cup

0.51

   Broccoli (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.40

   Bread, whole wheat

1 slice

0.16

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.64

   Split peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.59

   Yogurt

1/2 cup

0.68

   Milk

1/2 cup

0.40

   Egg (cooked)

1 large

0.61

Vitamin H (Biotin)

Biotin is essential for the metabolism of proteins and carbohydrates, and in the synthesis of hormones and cholesterol. Deficiency is rare as the small amounts required are usually readily available in the diet

Requirements and RDI
– No RDI exists. Instead, an ESADDI (Estimated Safe and
Adequate Daily Dietary Intake) is specified. Dietary
requirements are not known with certainty, partly because
of the unknown and variable amount of Biotin synthesised
by bacteria in the large intestine.
– ESADDI: 30-100 µg/day.

Food

Serving

Biotin (µg)

   Almonds

2 tbsp

23

   Peanut butter

2 tbsp

13

   Avocado

1/2

3

   Raspberries

1 cup

2

   Mushrooms (cooked)

1/2 cup

8

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

7

   Corn (cooked)

1/2 cup

5

   Cauliflower, raw

1/2 cup

2

   Artichoke, cooked

1 medium

2

   Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)

1/2 cup

18

   Wheat bran, crude

1 ounce

14

   Bread, whole wheat

1 slice

6

   Oat bran (cooked)

1/2 cup

7

   Barley, pearled (cooked)

1/2 cup

3

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

13

   Cheese, camembert

1 ounce

6

   Cheese, cheddar

1 ounce

2

   Egg, cooked

1 medium

12

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

The main role of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) is in the metabolism of protein. Deficiency may occur as a complication of disease and drug effects.

Requirements and RDI
RDI: 0.02 mg/g protein/day. This equates to approximately 1.3-1.9 mg for men and 0.9-1.4 mg for women.

Food

Serving

Vitamin B6 (mg)

   Hazelnuts

2 tbsp

0.18

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

0.22

   Banana

1 medium

0.66

   Avocado

1 whole

0.48

   Figs

10

0.42

   Raisins

2/3 cup

0.32

   Watermelon (chunks)

1 cup

0.23

   Orange juice

1 cup

0.22

   Potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.38

   Sweet potato

1 medium

0.28

   Spinach (cooked)   

1/2 cup

0.14

   Asparagus (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.12

   Rice, brown

1/2 cup

0.15

   Chickpeas (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.57

   Tempeh

1/2 cup

0.25

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.20

   Peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.17

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.17

   Navy beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.15

   Lima beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.11

   Kidney beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.10

   Egg

1 large

0.06

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Folate is involved in the formation of red blood cells. Its absence leads to neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida) in the developing foetus during pregnancy and megaloblastic anaemia. Most breakfast cereals and some breads are now fortified with Folate to help prevent neural tube defects. Deficiency may be due to poor diet or increased requirement, e.g. in pregnancy, from drug interaction and due to malabsorption. Higher intakes of Folate (obtained through supplements), before conception and during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy reduces the incidence of neural tube defects in babies.

Requirements and RDI
RDI: 200 µg/day.

Food

Serving

 Folate (µg)

   Peanuts

2 tbsp

35

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

40

   Tahini

2 tbsp

27

   Marmite/Vegemite (fortified)

5 g

100

   Orange juice

1 cup

109

   Avocado

1/2

56

   Orange

1 medium

39

   Cantaloupe (chunks)

1 cup

27

   Banana

1 medium

21

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

110

   Asparagus (cooked)

1/2 cup

88

   Brussels Sprouts

1/2 cup

46

   Parsnips (cooked)

1/2 cup

45

   Broccoli (cooked)

1/2 cup

38

   Cauliflower (cooked)

1/2 cup

32

   Sweet potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

25

   Breakfast cereals (fortified)

100 g

160-330*

   Wheat germ

2 tbsp

49

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

179

   Pinto beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

147

   Garbanzo beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

141

   Black beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

128

   Black-eyed beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

86

   Lima beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

78

   Split peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

64

   Kidney beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

63

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

46

   Tempeh

1/2 cup

43

   Yogurt

1/2 cup

14

* A landmark study demonstrated that Folate supplementation has a profound
impact on the occurrence of neural tube defects in babies. Since these
findings, many manufactured foods (mostly breakfast cereals and bread)
have been supplemented with Folate.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) is used in the formation of blood cells and the myelin sheaths along nerves. All naturally occurring vitamin B12 is synthesised by micro-organisms, and any vitamin present in food is the result of bacterial contamination. Faeces contains a large quantity of vitamin B12 because of the actions of micro-organisms in the large intestine, but synthesis occurs beyond the point at which the vitamin is absorbed. In western countries dietary intake is exclusively from animal sources. Edible seaweeds, mushrooms, fermented soy foods (eg. miso, tempeh) and spirulina, which have been promoted as good sources of B12, actually contain B12 analogues, which are structurally very similar to B12 but are inactive. It is therefore strongly recommended that vegans regularly take a B12 supplement or regularly consume sufficient quantities of B12-fortified foods (e.g. some soymilks). Deficiency can occur in vegans but it is also caused by a lack of intrinsic factor – the substance needed for the absorption of vitamin B12. Deficiency leads to megaloblastic anaemia in which red cells are enlarged (megaloblasts), and to neurological damage.

Requirements and RDI
RDI: 2.0 µg/day.

Food

Serving

Vitamin B12 (µg)

   Some brands of soymilk
(e.g. So Good, Vitasoy Fresh) (fortified)*

1 cup

1.0

   Marmite (fortified)

5 g

0.5

   Milk

1 cup

0.9

   Yogurt, plain, non-fat

1 cup

0.6

   Brie cheese

1 ounce

0.5

   Egg

1 large

0.6

* Soymilks in some states of Australia may not be fortified. Check the label.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Ascorbic Acid is a water soluble vitamin required for the production of collagen – the protein in connective tissue. It also helps the body absorb iron from plant sources (non-haem iron), it is an antioxidant, and it is vital for the function of the immune system. Severe deficiency leads to scurvy. This disease is characterised by bleeding gums, poor wound healing and damage to bone and other tissues. It is rarely seen today, although it may occur very occasionally in older adults. If the body is under stress, there is increased demand for ascorbic acid. Smoking is one such stress, and smokers should ensure they eat foods and drinks containing Vitamin C. Some people take very large amounts of Ascorbic Acid (several grams) as it has been claimed to prevent or cure the common cold, but this is yet to be proved.

Requirements and RDI
– RDI: 40 mg/day for adult males, 30 mg/day for adult females.
– The body is totally saturated at intakes of about 150 mg/day.

Food

Serving

Vitamin C (mg)

   Red capsicum (raw), chopped

1/2 cup

141

   Green capsicum (raw), chopped

1/2 cup

75

   Blackcurrants

1/2 cup

150

   Grapefruit

1 medium

94

   Kiwi fruit

1 medium

75

   Orange

1 medium

62

   Orange juice

1/2 cup

47

   Grapefruit juice

1/2 cup

47

   Honeydew melon (chunks)

1/2 cup

46

   Strawberries, whole

1/2 cup

41

   Cantaloupe (chunks)

1/2 cup

34

   Tomato

1 medium

23

   Brussels sprouts (cooked)

1/2 cup

59

   Broccoli (cooked)

1/2 cup

58

   Sweet potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

28

   Potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

16

Fat-Soluble Vitamins:

Vitamin A (Retinol)

Vitamin A is essential for normal growth and development. Deficiency leads to increased susceptibility to infectious disease, dry and rough skin, poor night vision and eventually to blindness. Vitamin A is found in two forms: as Retinol in foods from animal sources, and as Carotenoids in foods from plant sources,   b-Carotene being the most common.   b-Carotene can be converted to retinol in the body.
Excess Retinol can be toxic and may be particularly dangerous for the unborn child. It is for this reason that women who are pregnant, or who might become pregnant are advised not to take high-dose Vitamin A supplements unless advised to do so by a health professional.
In Australia, margarines are fortified with Vitamin A (and Vitamin D).

Requirements and RDI
– Retinol Equivalent (RE) =
Dietary Retinol (µg) +   b-Carotene (µg)   +   other Carotenoids (µg)
                                                      6                           12
– RDI: 750 µgRE/day.
– Most margarines in Australia are fortified with Vitamin A.

Food

Serving

Vitamin A (µg RE)

   Mango

1 medium

800

   Papaya

1 medium

610

   Cantaloupe (chunks)

1 cup

520

   Apricot (dried)

50 g

300

   Carrot (raw)

1 medium

2000

   Carrot (cooked)

1/2 cup

1900

   Sweet potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

1200

   Pumpkin (cooked)

1/2 cup

600

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

500

   Bok choy (cooked)

1/2 cup

220

   Broccoli (cooked)

1/2 cup

110

   Milk, skim

1/2 cup

75

   Milk, whole

1/2 cup

38

   Margarine (fortified)

1 tbsp

100 (approx)

   Butter

1 tbsp

107

   Cheese

50 g

120-200

   Egg

1 large

119

Back to   top.

Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol)

Vitamin D is found in two main forms: Cholecalciferol and Ergocalciferol. the active form of Vitamin D works as a hormone in controlling the amount of calcium absorbed by the intestine, and it is essential for proper bone mineralisation.
Vitamin D is obtainable from food but is also made by the action of ultra violet rays on the skin and this is the most important source for the majority of people since few foods contain significant amounts of Vitamin D.
Deficiency of Vitamin D leads to skeletal deformity in children (Rickets) and to painful bones and muscle weakness in adults (Osteomalacia).

Requirements and RDI
– There is no RDI for adults in Australia due to assumed exposure to sufficient sunlight.
For children, 10 µg/day is recommended.
– Most margarines in Australia are fortified with Vitamin D.

Food

Serving

Vitamin D (µg)

   Milk

1/2 cup

1.3

   Egg

1 large

0.7

   Margarine (fortified)

5 g

0.5

Vitamin E (alpha-Tocopherol)

Vitamin E is a group of compounds called Tocopherols, of which   a-Tocopherol is the most active. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant in preventing the oxidation of lipids in cell membranes. This protection of cell membranes may improve immune system response and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The amount of Vitamin E needed in the diet is related to the amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids consumed. Deficiency is rare due to the plentiful supply in the diet and the body’s ability to store it.

Requirements and RDI
– The more polyunsaturated fats in the diet, the more Vitamin E required.
–   a-Tocopherol Equivalent = (mg   a) + (0.4 mg   b) + (0.01 mg   g) + (0.1 mg   d)
–   RDI: 10mg a-Tocopherol equivalents/day

Food

Serving

a-Tocopherol Equivalents (mg)

   Hazelnuts

2 tbsp

6.7

   Peanut butter

2 tbsp

6.0

   Almond butter

2 tbsp

2.9

   Brazil nuts

2 tbsp

2.1

   Peanuts

2 tbsp

2.1

   Almonds

2 tbsp

1.5

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

8.9

   Wheat germ

1 tbsp

1.9

   Avocado

1/2

1.8

   Mango

1 medium

2.3

   Stewed tomatoes

1/2 cup

0.9

   Apple

1 medium

0.8

   Pear

1 medium

0.8

   Wheatgerm oil

1 tbsp

20.3

   Sunflower oil

1 tbsp

6.1

   Safflower oil

1 tbsp

4.6

   Canola oil

1 tbsp

2.9

   Corn oil

1 tbsp

1.9

   Peanut oil

1 tbsp

1.6

   Olive oil

1 tbsp

1.6

   Soybean oil

1 tbsp

1.5

   Sweet potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

5.2

   Asparagus (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.7

   Spinach (raw), chopped

1/2 cup

1.7

   Cabbage (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.2

   Pumpkin (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.2

   Parsnip (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.8

   Carrot (raw), chopped

1/2 cup

0.3

   Soybeans

1/2 cup

1.6

Vitamin K (Menadione)

Vitamin K is found in foods from both plant and animal sources and is also made by bacteria in the intestine. Vitamin K is essential for the clotting of blood. Deficiency is very rare in adults, but is sometimes seen in new-born babies. To prevent this, Vitamin K is normally given routinely after birth.

Requirements and RDI
Vitamin K is abundant in the diet and deficiency is uncommon. There is uncertainty with regard to setting an RDI because of the variable production of Vitamin K by bacteria in the colon. The requirement is believed to be 1 µg/kg body weight/day and most adult intakes are above this level.

Food

Serving

Vitamin K (mg)

   Parsley (raw), chopped

1/2 cup

162

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

141

   Broccoli (cooked)

1/2 cup

119

   Lettuce (shredded)

1/2 cup

56

   Asparagus (cooked)

1/2 cup

35

   Pumpkin (cooked)

1/2 cup

18

   Soybean oil

1 tbsp

77

   Canola oil

1 tbsp

20

   Olive oil

1 tbsp

7

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

260

   Split peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

81

   Black-eyed beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

23

   Milk

1/2 cup

5

   Egg

1 large

25

Water and the Electrolytes:

Sodium

  • Principal cation in extracellular fluid (90%).

  • Roles:
    – major role – regulating extracellular fluid volume, and hence is essential for normal growth and existence.
    – transport of chemicals (often glucose or amino acids) across selectively permeable membranes, usually via facilitated transport. This Sodium co-transport increases the concentration of Sodium in the cell.
    – conduction of nerve impulses and muscle contraction.

  • Absorption   
    Sodium is readily absorbed from the small intestine (the absorption of glucose is dependent upon the transport of Sodium into the small intestinal cells).

  • Excretion   
    Sodium is filtered from the plasma in the kidneys. Around 70% of the Sodium filtered by the kidneys is actively reabsorbed, a process controlled by aldosterone. Sodium is also lost through perspiration.

  • Dietary sources   
    The major source of Sodium in Australia is processed food and table salt (1/2 to 1/3 is added during cooking or at the table). The recommended level of Sodium intake in adults is between 920 and 2300mg/day.

  • Hypertension   
    A relationship between Sodium intake and blood pressure has been established. However, blood pressure was shown to be most closely associated with the age of the individual, with body mass and alcohol consumption being the next most important factors. Only 20% of the increases in blood pressure in a population can be attributed to Sodium intake. In hypersensitive people salt restriction does have a small but significant impact on blood pressure.

Chloride

  • Major anion in extracellular fluid.

  • Salt is composed of both Sodium and Chloride. Chloride is usually associated with Sodium.

  • Roles:
    – the major anion in the extracellular fluid, and therefore important in regulating water distribution
    – used in the stomach in the synthesis of hydrochloric acid
    – regulation of acid-base balance.

  • Ordinary diets contain sufficient quantities of Chloride.

Potassium

  • The major cation of intracellular fluid; it is a nearly constant component of lean body tissue.

  • Potassium is present in every cell in the body. The concentration of Potassium is very closely regulated inside the cell, thus Potassium has been used as a measure of lean body mass.

  • Roles:
    – a major component of bone.
    – works with Sodium in the conduction of nerve impulses.

Requirements and RDI   
RDI: 1950-5460 mg/day.

Food

Serving

Potassium (mg)

   Almond butter

2 tbsp

242

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

241

   Licorice

50 g

530

   Molasses

1 tbsp

293

   Prunes (dried)

1/2 cup

633

   Raisins

1/2 cup

598

   Avocado

1/2

548

   Banana

1 medium

467

   Stewed tomatoes

1/2 cup

304

   Tomato

1 medium

273

   Orange

1 medium

237

   Potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

498

   Artichoke (cooked)

1 medium

425

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

419

   Sweet potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

397

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

305

   Parsnip (cooked)

1/2 cup

287

   Asparagus (cooked)

1/2 cup

279

   Pumpkin (cooked)

1/2 cup

252

   Lima beans, cooked

1/2 cup

478

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

443

   Pinto beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

400

   Chick peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

398

   Navy beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

395

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

365

   Black-eyed beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

346

   Kidney beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

329

   Split peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

296

   Peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

217

   Milk

1/2 cup

190

   Yogurt

1/2 cup

295

Minerals:

Iron

Iron is an essential part of haemoglobin (the part of the red blood cell that carries oxygen). It is also involved in energy metabolism.
Anaemia develops from Iron deficiency, and is one of the most common nutritional problems around the world. It most commonly occurs in young children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

Requirements and RDI
RDI: men – 7 mg/day; pre-menopausal women – 12-16 mg/day; post-menopausal women – 5-7mg/day.

Food

Serving

Iron content (mg)

   Cashew nuts

2 tbsp

1.0

   Pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp

2.5

   Tahini/Sesame seeds

2 tbsp

1.2

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

1.1

   Molasses

1 tbsp

3.3

   Licorice

50 g

4.4

   Marmite (fortified)

5 g

1.8

   Apricots (dried)

1/4 cup

1.5

   Raisins

1/4 cup

1.1

   Avocado

1/2

1.0

   Prunes

1/4 cup

0.9

   Kelp (cooked)

1/2 cup

42.0

   Nori (cooked)

1/2 cup

20.9

   Parsley (raw)

50 g

4.7

   Potato, with skin (cooked)

1 medium

2.7

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.5

   Broccoli (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.0

   Brussels sprouts (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.9

   Some breakfast cereals    (fortified)

100 g

10 (approx)

   Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) (cooked)

1/2 cup

2.0

   Barley, whole (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.6

   Wheat germ

2 tbsp

1.2

   Bread, whole wheat

1 slice

0.9

   Rice, brown (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.5

   Tofu

1/2 cup

6.2

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

4.4

   Garbanzo beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

3.4

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

3.2

   Navy beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

2.5

   Pinto beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

2.2

   Lima beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

2.2

   Tempeh (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.8

   Split peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.7

   Kidney beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.5

   Peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.2

   Baked beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.7

Zinc

Zinc is important for growth and development. It affects many of the body’s major functions including: protein synthesis and digestion, wound healing, white blood cell immune function, and the synthesis of DNA. Groups most vulnerable to deficiency are children and pregnant women (those who are growing, reproducing or synthesising new tissue). The elderly are also at risk of Zinc deficiency because as we get older our ability to absorb and utilise Zinc decreases.

Requirements and RDI
RDI: 12 mg/day.

Food

Serving

Zinc (mg)

   Peanuts

2 tbsp

1.8

   Brazil nuts

2 tbsp

1.3

   Cashew nuts

2 tbsp

1.0

   Peanut butter

2 tbsp

1.0

   Pine nuts

2 tbsp

1.3

   Tahini

2 tbsp

1.3

   Pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp

1.2

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

1.5

   Kelp (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.2

   Nori (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.1

   Corn (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.9

   Mushrooms (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.7

   Spinach (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.7

   Asparagus (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.4

   Potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.4

   Some breakfast cereals (fortified)

100 g

6 (approx)

   Wheat germ

2 tbsp

2.3

   Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.4

   Barley, whole (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.2

   Adzuki beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

2.0

   Baked beans

1/2 cup

1.8

   Tempeh

1/2 cup

1.5

   Chickpeas (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.3

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.2

   Black-eyed beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.1

   Tofu

1/2 cup

1.0

   Peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.0

   Kidney beans ( cooked)

1/2 cup

1.0

   Lima beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.0

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.0

   Split peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.0

   Navy beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.9

   Pinto beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.9

   Yogurt

1/2 cup

0.9

   Milk

1/2 cup

0.5

   Cheese

50 g

1-2

Calcium

Calcium is needed for strong bones and teeth, for blood clotting, and for normal nerve impulse transmission and muscle contraction.
If low calcium intakes are maintained prior to maturity, growth retardation can occur. Long-term low calcium intake can cause Osteoporosis, which refers to loss of bone density. Only after many years are signs apparent.

Requirements and RDI   
– RDI: 800 mg/day.
– There has been some discussion about whether the RDI has been set too high. In Asia dairy products are not regularly consumed, and Calcium intakes are below half of the Australian RDI, yet no clear signs of deficiency are seen. (Their Calcium absorption is enhanced for their intake to meet their needs.) RDI is generous due to osteoporosis being a problem in the elderly population, and a moderately high intake believed to have no known detrimental effects.

Food

Serving

Calcium content (mg)

   Almond butter

2 tbsp

86

   Almonds

2 tbsp

65

   Brazil nuts

2 tbsp

50

   Sesame seeds

2 tbsp

176

   Tahini

2 tbsp

128

   Molasses

1 tbsp

187

   Licorice

50 g

140

   Figs (dried)

5

258

   Orange

1 medium

56

   Raisins

2/3 cup

53

   Broccoli (cooked)

1/2 cup

89

   Bok choy (cooked)

1/2 cup

79

   Sweet potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

35

   Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) (cooked)

1/2 cup

85

   Pita bread (6 inch pocket)

1 pocket

31

   Tofu

1/2 cup

120-350

   Some brands of soymilk (e.g. So Good,
Vitasoy Fresh, Vitasoy Calci-Plus) (fortified)

1/2 cup

150

   Navy beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

128

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

85

   Pinto beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

82

   Chick peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

78

   Tempeh (cooked)

1/2 cup

77

   Lima beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

52

   Kidney beans ( cooked)

1/2 cup

50

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

37

   Cottage cheese

50 g

30-40

   Cream cheese

50 g

50

   Ice cream (dairy)

50 g

100

   Yogurt

50 g

65-130

   Milk

1/2 cup

150

   Cheese

50 g

300-400

 

Phosphorus

As a component of ATP, Phosphorus (phosphate) participates in every energy-requiring reaction. It is a component of DNA, RNA and cell membranes (phospholipids). It is also needed in the regulation of proteins in metabolism, cell division and cell maturation, and in the formation of bone. No deficiency disease is currently associated with a deficient Phosphorus intake.

Requirements and RDI
RDI: 1000 mg/day.

Food

Serving

Phosphorus (mg)

   Almonds*

2 tbsp

139

   Peanuts*

2 tbsp

101

   Bread, whole wheat

1 slice

64

   Lentils (cooked)*

1/2 cup

356

   Milk, skim

1 cup

247

   Yogurt, plain non-fat

1 cup

383

   Egg (cooked)

1 large

104

* Phosphorus from nuts, seeds, and grains is about 50% less bio-available
than Phosphorus from other sources

Magnesium

Magnesium possesses a range of functions and affects various systems within the body. It is involved in energy metabolism, nucleic acid synthesis, DNA and RNA transcription, protein synthesis, and muscle contraction. Deficiency is rarely seen

Requirements and RDI
RDI: 320 mg/day for adult males, 270 mg/day for adult females.

Food

Serving

Magnesium (mg)

   Almond butter

2 tbsp

96

   Almonds

2 tbsp

79

   Brazil nuts

2 tbsp

64

   Peanut butter

2 tbsp

60

   Peanuts

2 tbsp

52

   Hazelnuts

2 tbsp

49

   Cashew nuts

2 tbsp

44

   Pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp

92

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

63

   Tahini/Sesame seeds

2 tbsp

58

   Molasses

1 tbsp

43

   Avocado

1/2

35

   Banana

1 medium

33

   Orange juice

1 cup

24

   Spinach (cooked), chopped

1/2 cup

70

   Potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

32

   Pumpkin (cooked)

1/2 cup

27

   Barley, whole (cooked)

1/2 cup

61

   Millet (cooked)

1/2 cup

52

   Wheat germ

2 tbsp

45

   Oat meal (cooked)

1/2 cup

28

   Bread, whole wheat

1 slice

26

   Rice, brown (cooked)

1/2 cup

43

   Tofu

1/2 cup

127

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

74

   Tempeh

1/2 cup

52

   Navy beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

48

   Pinto beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

47

   Lima beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

41

   Black-eyed beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

41

   Kidney beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

40

   Peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

31

   Yogurt

1/2 cup

22

   Milk

1/2 cup

17

Essential Trace Minerals:

Copper

  • Copper is widely distributed in biological tissues, where it is present complexed to many metalloenzymes.

  • It is absorbed by a carrier-mediated process in the small intestine and is stored in the liver.

  • Main Functions:
    – part of certain enzymes (e.g. those that form cross-links in collagen and elastin, and
    produce norepinephrine)
    – contributes to activity of other enzymes
    – aids in iron metabolism (increases absorption)
    – it may also play a role in the body’s thermal regulation, cholesterol metabolism,
    glucose metabolism, as well as immune & cardiac functions.

  • Dietary sources: widely distributed in plant and animal foods, with the amount reflecting the concentration in the soil. Drinking water obtained through copper pipes is also a source.

  • Deficiency: bone fragility and anaemia.

Requirements and RDI
Currently there is not enough data to establish an RDI for Copper.

Food

Serving

Copper (µg)

   Brazil nuts

2 tbsp

0.50

   Hazelnuts

2 tbsp

0.50

   Cashew nuts

2 tbsp

0.38

   Peanuts

2 tbsp

0.37

   Almonds

2 tbsp

0.29

   Almond butter

2 tbsp

0.28

   Tahini

2 tbsp

0.45

   Sunflower seeds

2 tbsp

0.30

   Pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp

0.23

   Avocado

1/2

0.23

   Potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.27

   Mushrooms (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.24

   Sweet potato (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.23

   Barley, whole (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.22

   Millet (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.19

   Bread, whole wheat

1 slice

0.09

   Tempeh

1/2 cup

0.55

   Soybeans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.35

   Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP) (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.33

   Split peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.25

   Navy beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.24

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.24

   Tofu

1/2 cup

0.23

   Peas (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.13

Iodine

  • Iodine is absorbed in the small intestine. Most of the absorbed Iodine is removed from the blood from the thyroid gland. Excess is excreted in urine.

  • In the thyroid, Iodine is used to produce the hormones T4   (thyroxine) and T3   (tri-iodothryronine). These hormones play an important role in the regulation of growth, development, and energy metabolism.

  • Content in food differs markedly and reflects the concentration in the soil. Cooking reduces levels by 20-60%.

  • Iodine salts have been added to bread and milk in Australia and these are the predominant food sources.

  • Iodine deficiency is a major health problem in many nations. Effects on growth are and development are collectively termed iodine-deficiency disorders (IDD). Effects on the foetus in order of deficiency severity: mild to severe mental impairment; brain and neurological defects (the most common form of neurological impairment is called cretinism (deafness, muteness and characteristic gait)); death. In adults, deficiency causes goitre – the characteristic enlargement of the thyroid.

  • Iodine supplementation may lead to hyperthyroidism – high metabolic rate, high body temperature, and loss of body weight.

Requirements and RDI   
RDI: 150 µg/day for adult males, 120 µg/day for adult females.

Food

Serving

Iodine (µg)

   Salt (iodized)

1 gram

77

   Sea vegetables (e.g. wakame,
kombu, nori)

1 ounce

Variable; may be greater than
18,000µg (18 mg)

   Potato with peel, baked

1 medium

63

   Navy beans, cooked

1/2 cup

35

   Milk

1/2 cup

28

   Egg, boiled

1 large

29

Chromium

  • Chromium affects many of the body’s metabolisms, including: glucose, carbohydrate, lipid, and protein metabolism.

  • It increases the action of insulin (termed “the glucose tolerance factor).

  • It is absorbed poorly (<1%). Once absorbed it is transported in the blood bound to transferrin.

  • Lost from the body largely in urine.

  • Low toxicity

Requirements and RDI
Currently there is no RDI specified for Chromium.

Food

Serving

Chromium (µg)*

   Grape juice

1 cup

7.5

   Orange juice

1 cup

2.2

   Apple

1 medium

1.4

   Banana

1 medium

1.0

   Broccoli (cooked)

1/2 cup

11.0

   Potatoes (cooked)

1/2 cup

1.4

   Bagel

1

2.5

   English muffin

1

3.6

   Green beans

1/2 cup

1.1

* Because Chromium content in different batches of the same food has been found to
vary significantly,  the information in the table above should serve only as a guide to the
Chromium content of foods.

Selenium

  • Important component of the enzyme glutathione peroxidase, which is an important component of the body’s antioxidant defences.

  • Contained in some other enzymes.

  • Involved in production of the thyroid hormones T3   and T4.

  • Deficiency is rare. In China, is characterised by a form of heart disease (unlikely to be solely due to Selenium deficiency).

  • Some anti-oxidant supplements (not in Australia) contain significant amounts of Selenium and can lead to toxicity.

Requirements and RDI   
RDI: 85 µg/day for adult males, 70 µg/day for adult females.

Food

Serving

Selenium (µg)

   Brazil nuts

2 tbsp

10

   Walnuts, black

2 tbsp

5

   Bread, whole wheat

1 slice

11

   Oatmeal (cooked)

1/2 cup

10

   Barley, pearled (cooked)

1/2 cup

5

   Barley, whole (cooked)

1/2 cup

0.03

   Rice, brown (cooked)

1/2 cup

10

   Rice, white (cooked)

1/2 cup

5

   Lentils (cooked)

1/2 cup

10

   Navy beans (cooked)

1/2 cup

10

   Milk 

1/2 cup

3

   Egg

1 large

12

Molybdenum

  • Molybdenum is an essential nutrient required for several enzymes.

  • It interacts with Iron and Copper.

  • High intakes inhibit Copper absorption.

Requirements and RDI
Currently there is no RDI specified for Molybdenum.

References:

Langley, G. (1991).   Vegan Nutrition. A Survey of Research.   The Vegan Society Ltd, East Sussex.

Messina, M. & V. (1996).   The Dietitian’s Guide to Vegetarian Diets. Issues and Applications.  Aspen Publishers, Inc., Maryland.

National Food Authority (1992).   Nutritional Values of Australian Foods.   Department of Community Services and Health. Australian Government Publishing Service, Brunswick, Vic.

National Health & Medical Research Council (1991).   Recommended Dietary Intakes for Use in Australia.  Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.

The Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Centre    
This website is a source for up-to-date, scientifically accurate information regarding the roles of specific vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals (plant chemicals that may affect health), and other nutrients in preventing disease and promoting health.
Refer:   www.orst.edu/dept/lpi/infocenter