Vanadium is a trace mineral that not many of us know about, though we consume it unknowingly in our diet from certain foods. Vanadium has recently come into focus for its potential in the management of diabetes.1 In larger amounts, it can improve the cholesterol and triglyceride levels along with your body’s glucose metabolism. Vanadium helps boost or inhibit the action of enzymes in the body to bring about these effects.2 That apart, it helps build our teeth and bones.
Foods with greater than 1 ppm (parts per million) of vanadium are considered rich sources of the nutrient. If you’re looking at it in ng/g (nanogram per gram), foods low in vanadium will have <1 to 5 ng/g of vanadium.3
There’s No Established RDA For Vanadium
At present, there are no established numbers for optimal intake of the mineral. As one study found, the entire human body, including tissues, organs, and body fluids, put the total vanadium in the body at about 100 mcg, which is adequate for its basic functions in the body.4 However, therapeutic doses require an intake that’s 10–100 times more than normal.5 The average diet includes many natural sources of vanadium, and on average, you probably have 10–60 mcg per day via food intake.6 So while researchers are looking for a more bioavailable form of vanadium, if you want to increase intake, try the following foods.7 8
1. Dill Seed
Dill: 431 ng/g of vanadium
If you haven’t tried dill seed, now may be the time to give it a go. It contains 431 ng/g of vanadium after all!9 Dill seed works well in soups and stews and adds its distinctive flavor to any meal. It is often used in pickles to add an element of interest and is just as wonderful sprinkled on simple homemade bread.
2. Black Pepper
Black pepper: 987 ng/g of vanadium
Who doesn’t like some black pepper cracked over a freshly fried egg or to season a well-cooked steak? A core seasoning ingredient, black pepper is also a rich source of vanadium and contains 987 ng/g.10
Fresh shellfish: 100 ng/g of vanadium
If you enjoy shellfish like lobster or oysters, you’ll have a great time increasing your vanadium intake with these fruit of the ocean! They are a rich source of the trace mineral and contain over 100 ng/g of vanadium when eaten fresh and as much as 400 ng/g when had in their dried and more concentrated form.11 Oysters contain 455 ng/g wet weight.12 Enjoy them plain or lightly seasoned to make the most of their sweet and salty ocean flavor. As for your other seafood, whip up a soul-warming seafood chowder or keep it light and simple with a pan-fried recipe. Or cook them in a simple tomato-based sauce to go with pasta.
Freeze-dried spinach: 533–840 ng/g of vanadium
In general, vegetables are not the greatest source of vanadium but spinach can be the exception. In fact freeze-dried spinach packs quite the punch with 533–840 ng/g.13 You can use spinach in pasta dishes, in a light side of wilted spinach with some seasoning, or explore the sinful side of the leafy green with some creamed spinach. Add it to a frittata, use in Asian stir-fries, Indian curries, and more!
Mushrooms: 50–2,000 ng/g of vanadium.
Mushrooms are another vegetarian source of vanadium. Some contain as much as 50–2,000 ng/g.14 Use your mushrooms in soups, salads, casseroles, or pies for a filling satisfying main. If you are a meat eater, mushrooms work a treat in pepper or red wine-based sauces to go with a succulent beef steak or roast meat.
6. Whole Grains And Cereals
Whole grains and cereals: 5–30 ng/g of vanadium
Whole grains, which are good for you due to their high vitamin, mineral, and fiber content, can be a good addition for anyone wanting a vanadium-rich diet. The same can be said of cereals.15 On an average, these foods contain 5–30 ng/g of vanadium.16
7. Dairy Products
Dairy products: 5–30 ng/g of vanadium.
Dairy products tend to contain anywhere from 5–30 ng/g of vanadium.17 That said, milk is the best source of vanadium. Cheese and butter are not as high in vanadium.18 Drink up your smoothies and shakes and know you’ve added a little more vanadium to your system today.
8. Ground Parsley
Dried ground parsley: 1,800 ng/g of vanadium.
The intense herby flavor of dried ground parsley is hard to beat. And when it comes with the promise of 1,800 ng/g dry weight of vanadium, it is something well worth including in your cooking.19 Just add a dash of it to any recipe – more if you want to really celebrate the parsley flavor front and center. You could even try incorporating it into oils to drizzle over your soups or salads.
9. Vegetable Oils
Vegetable oils are a good source of vanadium. Researchers have found that a diet that is rich in unsaturated fats from vegetable sources tends to be higher in vanadium intake as well. Here are the common cooking oils you could consider, though your specific choices may be influenced by other health conditions, dietary restrictions, and allergies:20
- Olive oil
- Peanut oil
- Corn oil
- Soybean oil
|↑1, ↑7, ↑8, ↑15, ↑18||Badmaev, Vladimir, Subbalakshmi Prakash, and Muhammed Majeed. “Vanadium: a review of its potential role in the fight against diabetes.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 5, no. 3 (1999): 273-291.|
|↑2, ↑5, ↑6||Harland, Barbara F., and Barbara A. Harden-Williams. “Is vanadium of human nutritional importance yet?.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 94, no. 8 (1994): 891-894.|
|↑3, ↑9, ↑10, ↑16, ↑17||Myron, Duane R., Samuel H. Givand, and Forrest H. Nielsen. “Vanadium content of selected foods as determined by flameless atomic absorption spectroscopy.” Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 25, no. 2 (1977): 297-300.|
|↑4||Byrne, Anthony Robert, and Lado Kosta. “Vanadium in foods and in human body fluids and tissues.” The science of the total environment 10, no. 1 (1978): 17-30.|
|↑11||Mertz, Walter. Trace elements in human and animal nutrition. Vol. 2. Elsevier, 2012.|
|↑12, ↑13, ↑14, ↑19||https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp58-c6.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Vanadium, Potential For Human Exposure. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.|
|↑20||Aras, Namik K., and O. Yavuz Ataman. Trace element analysis of food and diet. Royal Society of Chemistry, 2007.|