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Foods vs. Supplements: 3 Vitamins Compared for Nutrient Density, Price, and Convenience

Foods vs. Supplements: 3 Vitamins Compared for Nutrient Density, Price, and Convenience

Posted by Nutravita, 22nd May 2021


Got 30 Seconds to Spare?

Here are the 3 key points to know:

  • Vitamin density, price, and convenience are factors to consider in the foods vs. supplements debate
  • Example: an average-sized orange has around 70 mg of vitamin C, yet some supplements can give you more than 1000 mg
  • Non-GMO vitamins are available to buy online if you want to increase your daily vitamin intake

Please click the section below that you want to look at first:

Vitamins From Foods vs. Supplements
➡️Vitamin C
➡️B-Vitamins
➡️Vitamin A

Are Supplements as Good as Foods?

FAQs
➡️What Vitamins Should I Take If I Don’t Eat Fruits?
➡️What Vitamins Should I Take If I Don’t Eat Vegetables?


Vitamins From Foods vs. Supplements

Ooof, big topic…

In truth, there are about a hundred ways to approach this foods vs. supplements debate, such as:

  • Are you a foodie with a big appetite? Or do you struggle to eat large portions to get enough nutrients from food alone?
  • Is money no problem to be able to shop for purely organic food? Or are you looking to optimise your nutrition on a budget?
  • Do you love to cook? Or do you struggle to find enough time or energy to prepare meals from scratch?

All are worthwhile questions to think about before rushing into a decision.



To help you make your choice, we’ll take a look at how three essential vitamins compare in food and supplement form when it comes to:

  • Vitamin density per serving
  • Cost
  • Overall convenience

  • Ready for a vitamin deep dive?

    Let’s do this!

    Quick note:

    In each of these sections, we’ll research how much of the vitamin is found in the most nutrient-dense foods for that particular vitamin, the typical costs of the food, and a convenience score out of 10.

    Vitamin C

    Quick Overview

    Vitamin C is known to contribute to:

  • Normal immune function
  • The reduction of fatigue and tiredness
  • Metabolism pathways
  • Protecting cells from oxidative stress

  • The recommended upper limit for vitamin C is 2,000 mg per day.

    Fear you may be lacking a sufficient amount from your diet?

    If this is the case, your body may not be able to make enough collagen to support your bones, joints, and skin.


    READ MORE ABOUT VITAMIN C & COLLAGEN:
    Collagen Supplements for Skin, Bone, and Tendon Support — What to Look For?


    3 Foods That Are High in Vitamin C — Cost, Density, and Convenience

    Oranges

    Average Cost in UK Supermarkets:
    Between 30p and 50p for one orange.

    Vitamin C Density:
    Approx. 70 mg of vitamin C in one medium-sized orange.

    Convenience Score:
    7/10.
    Easy enough to eat on the go. But it can leave you with an irksome case of sticky fingers.
    Plus, there’s always the question of where to put the peel afterwards!

    Yellow Peppers

    Average Cost in UK Supermarkets:
    Between 45p and 50p for one yellow pepper.

    Vitamin C Density:
    Approx. 340 mg of vitamin C in one large, sweet yellow pepper.

    Convenience Score:
    5/10.
    Rather delicious, but usually consumed within a meal rather than on its own. Dealing with those seeds once you cut them open can get messy!
    Dr. Eric Berg reviews vitamin C’s immune benefits.

    Chilli Peppers

    Average Cost in UK Supermarkets:
    Between 60p and 65p for a bag of chillies that is 65 g in weight.

    Vitamin C Density:
    Approx. 110 mg of vitamin C in one green chilli, approx. 70 mg in one red chilli.

    Convenience Score:
    4/10.
    A fab choice for chilli-lovers, but a lot of people aren’t too keen on spicy foods.
    And just like with sweet yellow peppers, there’s the issue of mopping up the seeds that always seem to spill on the kitchen floor…

    How Do Supplements Compare?

    Vitamin C supplements can be priced at around 12 to 15p per serving.

    If you buy vitamin C on Nutravita, you get the following in a daily dose:

    • 1200 mg of vitamin C, as well as...
    • 40 mg of zinc

    1200 mg is almost four times more than the most vitamin C-dense food listed above! (Sweet yellow peppers, with 340 mg of vit C per pepper).

    A 2-month supply of vitamin C (1200 mg per serving) and zinc (40 mg per serving).Great as a support for normal immune system function and reducing tiredness.


    B-Vitamins

    Quick Overview

    B-vitamins are known to contribute to:

    • Energy metabolism
    • Psychological and neurological function
    • Immune function
    • Reducing tiredness and fatigue

    Each B-vitamin has different intake guidelines.

    For example, the NHS states that adults need at least 13.2 mg of B3 (Niacin) per day and at least 1.2 mg of B6 per day.

    3 Foods That Are High in B-Vitamins — Cost, Density, and Convenience

    Salmon

    Average Cost in UK Supermarkets:
    Between £1.60 and £2.50 per salmon fillet.

    B-Vitamin Density:

    According to Healthline, a 100 g serving of cooked salmon provides roughly:
    • 18% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of B1 
    • 29% RDI of B2
    • 50% RDI of B3
    • 19% RDI of B5
    • 47% RDI of B6
    • 51% RDI of B12
    Convenience Score:
    3/10.
    While salmon is a high-quality fish, it’s quite expensive and (obviously) not an option for vegans.
    Also, consumers may be concerned about the heavy metal content in farmed and wild fish.

    Spinach

    Average Cost in UK Supermarkets:
    Between £0.85 and £1.50 per bag of spinach.

    B-Vitamin Density:
    A cup of raw spinach gives you about 28 g of B9 (folate). But a cup’s worth of cooked spinach provides around 170 g.

    Convenience Score:
    9/10.
    Spinach is known as Popeye’s food of choice for a reason! With a wide range of health properties, it’s also flexible in the sense it can be eaten raw or cooked.
    Make sure to wash it thoroughly before eating, though, to wash off any chemicals or dirt.

    Liver

    Average Cost in UK Supermarkets:
    Between £1.00 and £3.00 for 400 g of liver.
    B-Vitamin Density:
    A 100 g serving of beef liver offers:
    • 12% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) of B1
    • 201% RDI of B2
    • 87% RDI of B3
    • 69% RDI of B5
    • 51% RDI of B6
    • 138% RDI of B7
    • 65% RDI of B9
    • 1,386% RDI of B12 (yep, you read that right!)


      READ MORE ABOUT VITAMIN B7 (BIOTIN):

      Biotin 10,000 Mcg — How Good Is It for Hair and Nail Growth?


      Convenience Score:

      2/10.

      Liver is amazingly rich in B-vitamins, but is it top of the menu? In truth, a lot of folks can’t stand organ meats like liver, even if they’re layered with onions to mask the funky taste!

      How Do Supplements Compare?

      Certain B-complex supplements can work out at around 5p per daily serving.

      Nutravita’s B-complex vitamin complex gives you:

    • 1.4mg of B1
    • 1.4mg of B2
    • 18mg of B3
    • 2mg of B6
    • 200µg of B9
    • 2.5µg of B12
    • 150µg of B7
    • 6mg of B5
    • 30mg of B10, as well as...
    • A healthy 10µg dose of vitamin D3

      Unless you don’t mind eating foods such as liver each week, taking a one-a-day supplement can be the more practical choice to get the list of B-vitamins that your body needs.


      Vitamin B-Complex Supplement With Vitamin D3

      A 12-month supply of B-vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B10, B12), plus vitamin D3 as a healthy bonus. B-vitamins support energy metabolism, psychological function, and the maintenance of the immune system.

      Vitamin A

      Quick Overview

      Vitamin A is celebrated for its role in:

    • Maintaining normal vision
    • Maintaining skin health
    • Helping the immune system function
    • Controlling iron levels in the body

      The upper limit for daily vitamin A intake is 10,000 IU (3,000 mcg). Women need around 700 mcg and men need around 900 mcg.

      3 Foods That Are High in Vitamin A — Cost, Density, and Convenience

      Goat’s Cheese

      Average Cost in UK Supermarkets:
      Between £1.80 and £2.50 for 100 g of goat’s cheese.

      Vitamin A Density:
      100 g of goat’s cheese equals around 407 mcg of vitamin A.

      Convenience Score:
      4/10.
      Soft and tangy, goat’s cheese tends to be one of those “you either love it or you hate it” types of food.
      It spreads well on a cracker, but it isn’t ideal for those who want to limit their consumption of fats.

      Hard-Boiled Eggs

      Average Cost in UK Supermarkets:
      A single egg (within a multipack of 6 or 12) can range in price, anywhere from about 12p to 40p depending on the brand.

      Vitamin A Density:
      One large egg provides roughly 75 mcg of vitamin A — just under 10% of the daily recommended intake.

      Convenience Score:
      8/10.
      For those who eat animal-based foods, there isn’t much that can compare to a good ol’ boiled egg.
      Not only do they cook in a matter of minutes, but they’re packed with protein, and can be easily carried around to eat at work or when you’re out and about.

      Cod Liver Oil

      Average Cost in UK Supermarkets:
      Between £3.50 and £4.50 for 300 ml of cod liver oil.

      Vitamin A Density:
      One teaspoon of cod liver oil includes approximately 1,350 mcg of vitamin A.

      Convenience Score:
      7/10.
      Speed is of the essence, as the saying goes — and cod liver oil in liquid form offers just that. You can swallow a teaspoon of it in seconds, so it scores highly for convenience.
      The fishy taste is manageable for some. However, the majority would probably describe it as being rather unpleasant!

      How Do Supplements Compare?

      Bought in bulk, quality vitamin A supplements are available for between 4p and 5p per daily serving.

      Nutravita offers 2400ug (8000iu) of vitamin A in a daily, one capsule dose.



      Vitamin A Supplement

      A full-year supply of vitamin A — to be taken once a day. Beneficial for promoting normal vision, skin, and regulating iron levels in the body.

      Are Supplements as Good as Foods?

      As we mentioned at the start, the foods vs. supplements debate is a tricky one to piece apart.

      Why so?

      Because it really does depend on the person, their health needs, and lifestyle preferences.

      And things get more complex when you consider the quality of food that the person typically eats.

      For example, whole foods vs. supplements creates a very different debate than comparing supplements with processed foods.

      Ultimately, though, what you eat day-to-day should always be the first priority. Supplements ought to be thought of as a convenient, healthy option to make up for any vitamin gaps in your diet.

      Case in point?

      Somebody with digestive problems may experience pain or discomfort when they eat certain foods which, in theory, should be good for them.

      In this circumstance, supplements could be hugely beneficial to make up for the nutrients the person may lose out on by not being able to eat those foods.


      In a small-scale survey, more than 60% of LinkedIn users said they take supplements on a daily basis.

      Source Image

      And what if work is hectic or you have a long list of family responsibilities?

      Full credit to you if you still manage to carve out time to prepare nutritious meals three times a day — it’s no mean feat with a busy schedule!

      But many people struggle to find enough time (and then feel stressed that they’re not eating as healthily as they should!)

      In this event, taking a GMO-free multivitamin supplement can make a lot of sense, as it eases the pressure of having to get all of your nutrients through food alone.

      Anyway, that’s all from us today on the topic of foods vs. supplements. This could easily turn into a university essay!

      We appreciate you reading our blog — take care and speak soon 🙂

      To healthier days, Nutravita

      FAQs

      What Vitamins Should I Take If I Don’t Eat Fruits?

      Whether you’re worried about the sugar load or simply don’t like the taste, fruit isn’t for everyone.

      Choosing supplements with vitamins A, C, and E can top up nutrients you may miss out on by not eating fruit.

      What Vitamins Should I Take If I Don’t Eat Vegetables?

      Vegetables just don’t get you excited about food?

      You’re not alone. But seeing as veg tends to have an array of B-vitamins, vitamin A, and vitamin C, it’s important to avoid nutrient deficiency. Taking daily vitamin supplements can be a useful strategy in this case.

      [P.S. Do you know anyone who might like to read this blog? Please share it with them using the buttons at the top of this page. Many thanks!



      Co-written by Declan Davey

      Declan is a Health and Wellness Copywriter with a professional background as an NHS therapist. His previous roles include work with mental health services and disability charities in London, UK.


      **Disclaimer: Nutravita’s blog content is for informational purposes only. It should not be viewed as a substitute for professional medical advice or guidance. If you are worried about your health, we recommend that you contact your doctor. Please do not ignore your doctor’s advice because of any information on https://www.nutravita.co.uk/.

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