You have many reasons to start a vegetable garden—whether it’s your first or 50th. But have you ever thought about planting a garden to replace your bottle of vitamins?
Fresh fruits and vegetables contain most all of the vitamins we need on a daily basis. And while homegrown food is not a replacement for therapeutic grade supplements, you can reduce or even eliminate the need of supplements with a healthy garden full of fruits or vegetables.
Let’s take a look at a standard multivitamin and what it contains. This is the vitamin and mineral section from the Whole Foods 365 Brand Adult Multi for Women:
Vitamin A (as beta carotene): 5,000 IUs 100% RDA
Vitamin C: 120 mg 200% RDA
Vitamin D: 400 IUs 100% RDA
Vitamin E: 100 IUs 333% RDA
Vitamin K: 100mg 125% RDA
Thiamin (B1): 25 mg 1667% RDA
Riboflavin (B2): 25 mg 1471% RDA
Niacin 25 mg 125% RDA
B6 25 mg 1250% RDA
Folic Acid: 400 mcg 100% RDA
B12 25 mcg 417% RDA
Biotin 150 mcg 50% RDA
Pantothenic Acid: 25 mg 250% RDA
Calcium: 200 mg 20% RDA
Iron: 6 mg 33% RDA
Magnesium: 100 mg 25% RDA
Zinc: 10 mg 67% RDA
Selenium: 200 mcg 286% RDA
Copper: 1 mg 50% RDA
Manganese: 2 mg 100% RDA
Chromium: 200mcg 167% RDA
Molybdenum: 75 mcg 100% RDA
What can you grow to gain comparable amounts of nutrients?
1. Sweet Potato: One 200 gram serving (a medium sized potato) contains nearly eight times the beta carotene as your standard multivitamin. It also provides 65 percent of your daily vitamin C needs and 8 percent of your iron and calcium.
2. Bell peppers: While we think of citrus as the go-to food for vitamin C, bell peppers are an even richer source. A one-cup serving contains 317 percent of the daily RDA for vitamin C, as well as 93 percent of vitamin A and 4 percent of iron.
3. Kale: It’s the king of vegetables for a reason! One-cup of raw kale contains 10,302 IUs of beta carotene! It’s also got 684 percent of your vitamin K needs, at least 5 percent of most of your B vitamins and more than 100 percent of your C needs.
4. Avocado: While you’ll have to plan quite early to grow an avocado tree to maturity, it’s a worthwhile investment, especially for B vitamins. One cup of the delicious, creamy green fruit contains more than 50 percent of your daily folate needs, more than 30 percent of pantothenic acid and B6, and more than 20 percent of riboflavin and niacin.
5. Butternut squash: An autumn favorite, butternut squash is a great source of many nutrients including manganese (18 percent of your RDA), magnesium (15 percent) and vitamin E (13 percent).
6. Collards: Switch up your leafy greens for the day and throw some collards into the mix for a calcium boost. Just one cup contains nearly 30 percent of your RDA and 12 percent of daily iron. You’ll also bulk up on vitamin A and folate, too.
7. Peas: Gorgeous green and full of flavor, a one-cup serving of peas contains nearly 200 percent of your daily molybdenum needs (I bet you didn’t know you needed molybdenum, right?). It’s also got nearly 20 percent of your phosphorous needs, 30 percent folate and 24 percent B1.
8. Parsley: Looking for iron? Look no further than parsley! The garnish is a nutrition powerhouse, providing more than 20 percent of your iron needs in one cup! It also provides 8 percent of your RDA for calcium, more than 1200 percent of vitamin K, and more than 100 percent of vitamins A and C per serving.
This is just a sampling of the nutritious benefits in fruits and vegetables you can easily grow in your garden. And as an added bonus, spending at least 20 minutes in direct sun (with arms and legs exposed) may also fill your daily vitamin D requirements, too! So, what are you waiting for? Get out into your garden today!
Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger