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What Does A Good Source Of Nutrients Mean?

What Does A Good Source Of Nutrients Mean?

You read an article on a website claiming that a particular food is a “good source” of a specific vitamin, mineral, amino acid, antioxidant, etc. But what does the term “good source” mean? And is the article conveying the correct details?

Let’s discuss this, so you will be able to do your due diligence in the future when it comes to getting the right good source of nutrients from a particular food.

Is There A Standard That Triggers The Idea Of A Good Source Of Nutrients?

Is There A Standard That Triggers The Idea Of A Good Source Of Nutrients?

The Medical Dictionary defines “good source” like this:

“...according to F.D.A. regulations, the food so labeled contains at least 10% of the minimum daily requirement of a given nutrient.

According to eatright.org, when contemplating if a food is a good source of nutrients, you must first look at the serving size of that particular food. Then read its Nutrition Label to see if it “provides at least 10 to 19% of the Daily Value of a particular vitamin or nutrient per serving.”

Other sources state the same thing:

  • A food with 10%–19% of a nutrient is considered a good source of that nutrient.

And this information is based on F.D.A. and USDA regulations. 

The Correct Serving Size Determines If A Food Is A “Good Source” Of A Nutrient

Unfortunately, many people, including health-related websites, misinterpret if a food is a good source of a specific nutrient. They forget the proper “serving size” factor. Websites will write an article claiming that a food is a good source of a particular vitamin, mineral, etc.

However, their nutritional information is not based on serving size for the average person but a much more considerable amount. And they do not emphasize and explain this to help the reader better decipher if, in fact, the food is a good source of the nutrient they are looking for.

Let’s take a deeper dive into what I am trying to say here. Below you find two sample Nutrition Labels for dried parsley. One is per 1 tablespoon per serving (1.6 grams), and the other is 100 Grams per serving (equivalent to 62.5 tablespoons). 

Samples Of Dried Parsley Nutrition Labels

What Does A "Good Source" Of Something Mean In Nutrition?
Nutrition For 1 Tablespoon (1.6 Grams)
What Does A "Good Source" Of Something Mean In Nutrition?
Nutrition For 100 Grams (62.5 Tablespoons)

First, common sense will tell you that a serving size for dried parsley is closer to 1 tablespoon (tbsp) than 62.5 tablespoons. 

Who will eat 62.5 tbsp per day to get a specific nutrient? Obviously, no one. So we must follow the 1 tbsp nutrition label for guidance.

The problem is that many articles on the internet will tell you that dried parsley is a good source of Vitamin A and C. But is this correct?

As you can see, 1 tbsp serving of dried parsley contains only:

  • Vitamin A 2%
  • Vitamin C 1%
  • Calcium 1%
  • Iron 2%

This is much lower than the standard of a good source of nutrients. Apparently, 1 tablespoon serving of dried parsley is not a good source of the above nutrients.

Now, if you look at the Nutrient Label of 100 Grams (62.5 tbsp) per serving, it tells you an entirely different story. It shows that dried parsley is rich in Vitamin A, C, calcium, iron, and many more. Accordingly, 62.5 tbsp of dried parsley is a good source of vitamins and minerals.

But as stated earlier, unless you are an elephant, you will not eat 62.5 tbsp of dried parsley daily. The accurate answer is that a regular serving of dried parsley (1 tbsp) is NOT a good source of vitamins and minerals.

Note: The only vitamin that falls under the “good source” standard for dried parsley is Vitamin K. 1 tbsp contains 21.8 mcg, 18 % 

When reading articles on good food sources of nutrients, always do your due diligence. Many times they are misleading and inaccurate. You may be thinking you’re getting a good amount of a particular nutrient, but it may not be so. Be careful!


A food with a good source of a particular nutrient should have from 10% to 19% of the nutrient’s daily value.

Always pay attention to the serving size of the food needed to obtain 10% to 19% of a particular nutrient. If you have to eat a ton of it, it is not a good source.