Overview of Vitamins- An Essential Component of Healthy Living

Vitamins: what are they, what do they do, and where can we find them in plant-based sources?


It can be difficult to keep track of which vitamins our body needs, why we need them, and where to find them. This task is sometimes made especially difficult when looking for where to find them in plant-based sources. A general definition of vitamins is that they are an essential component for healthy living, and we need them for our bodies to be able to do the tasks necessary to keep us functioning well. Sounds pretty important, right?


This breakdown is meant to give you an overview of the general different vitamins that our body needs, what they are needed for, and examples of where we can find them in plant-based sources. As always, I recommend you consult your doctor if you are interested in checking your vitamin levels and making changes accordingly.


Fat soluble-


Vitamin A


Needed for:

  • Cell growth

  • Immunity

  • Sexual reproduction

  • Vision

Found in:

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Spinach

  • Carrots

  • Broccoli


Vitamin D


Needed for:

  • Bone, teeth and muscle health

Found in:

  • Mushrooms

  • Safe exposure to the sun


Vitamin E


Needed for:

  • Healthy skin

  • Healthy eyes

  • Immunity

Found in:

  • Vegetable oils (such as sunflower & safflower)

  • Green veggies (such as spinach & broccoli)

  • Nuts (such as almonds & peanuts)

  • Sunflower seeds

  • Avocados


Vitamin K


Needed for:

  • Blood clotting

Found in:

  • Spinach

  • Swiss chards

  • Kale

  • Lettuce

  • Broccoli

  • Cabbage

  • Blueberries

  • Figs

  • Vegetable oils


Water soluble-


Vitamin B1 (thiamin)


Needed for:

  • Metabolism function

Found in:

  • Whole grains

  • Legumes (lentils, soybeans, black beans)

  • Nuts (macadamia nuts and pistachios)

  • Seeds


Vitamin B2 (riboflavin)


Needed for:

  • Metabolism function

  • Healthy eyes and skin

Found in:

  • Asparagus

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Almonds


Vitamin B3 (niacin)


Needed for:

  • Metabolism function

  • Healthy skin

  • Healthy nervous system

Found in:

  • Mushrooms

  • Nuts (such as peanuts)

  • Potatoes

  • Legumes (such as navy beans and kidney beans)


Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid)


Needed for:

  • Metabolism function

  • Creating blood cells

Found in:

  • Mushrooms (such as shiitakes)

  • Avocados

  • Potatoes

  • Broccoli

  • Whole grains

  • Peanuts

  • Chickpeas

  • Sunflower seeds


Vitamin B6


Needed for:

  • Metabolism function

Found in:

  • Potatoes

  • Avocados

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Bananas

  • Nuts (such as pistachios or walnuts)

  • Fortified tofu


Vitamin B7 (biotin)


Needed for:

  • Metabolism function

Found in:

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Spinach

  • Broccoli

  • Nuts (such as pecans, almonds, peanuts)

  • Whole grains


Vitamin B9 (folate)


*Especially important for those hoping to become pregnant


Needed for:

  • Creation of DNA

  • Cell division

Found in: