Taking The Pill? Eat These Foods!

Between 2011 and 2013, more than 9 million 15-44 year old women took birth control pills in the US. That's a lot of ladies and a whole lot of pills.

I'm pretty sure most were warned about the risk of blood clots, stomach upset, and breast tenderness. But how many were told the pill could change how their bodies absorb, use, and eliminate some vitamins and minerals? I am willing to bet, vey few.

We all know how important vitamins and minerals are to our health. Each one plays a vital role in our bodies. Having any one in short supply can lead to any number of not so pretty problems. A deficiency in vitamin C can lead to bleeding gums, while super low zinc can cause hair loss. Not exactly the picture of health.

These two nutrients, and quite a few more, are depleted by oral contraceptives. It's important that I point out that the pill alone will not cause a deficiency. But if it taking it is coupled with a diet low in certain types of foods, you can really have a problem on your hands.

Which vitamins and minerals are affected by the pill?

We know that some, but not all, micronutrients (nutrients we need in only small amounts when compared to fats, carbohydrates, and protein) are affected by birth control pills. The ones below most certainly are:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Pyridoxine/ Vitamin B6
  • Folate
  • Vitamin B12
  • Riboflavin
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium

If you're taking birth control pills, it's a good idea to talk to your doctor about taking a multivitamin. Of course, getting the nutrients above from foods below is a great idea, too.

Which foods can we get these nutrients from?

Vitamin E

  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanut butter
  • Avocados
  • Dried apricots
  • Grapeseed oil

Vitamin C

  • Sweet Peppers
  • Currants
  • Kiwis
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli

Pyrodoxine/ Vitamin B6

  • Ground turkey
  • Pistachios
  • Pink beans
  • Beef
  • Chestnuts


  • Mung beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Spinach
  • Peanuts
  • Avocados

Vitamin B12

  • Salmon
  • Lamb
  • Chicken
  • Milk
  • Some non-dairy milks


  • Organ meats like heart, liver, and kidneys (ummm... yeah...Not my cup of tea but whatever floats your boat!)
  • Turkey breast
  • Almonds
  • Feta cheese
  • Soybeans


  • Oysters
  • Pork Loin
  • Crab
  • Cowpeas
  • Pumpkin seeds


  • Brazil Nuts
  • Tuna
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sardines
  • Barley


  • Amaranth
  • Lima beans
  • Cashews
  • Quinoa
  • Oats

As always, these are not the only foods with these vitamins and minerals. For a complete list, head over to the USDA's Nutrient Database (AKA my boo thang! Seriously, we spend a lot of time together. I think it's getting serious.) and have a look around. In the coming weeks I will be putting up posts with my top ten food sources of different vitamins and minerals from each food group.

Remember sharing is caring! If you found this post helpful, chances are so will the folks you know and love. Make sure to share this information with you friends, family, and medical providers.

Kendra TolbertComment