Dietary Sources Of B Vitamins
Many of the B vitamins are found in the same types of foods, and because of this, they were originally thought to be just one vitamin. It was later discovered that they are in fact eight separate vitamins with some similar properties and which just happen to commonly occur in many of the same foods. Below is some information about each individual B vitamin and its dietary sources. Of course, you can also take antioxidants and supplements.
B1 (Thiamine) – You’ll find this vitamin in many different foods, but only in small amounts. Of all foods, yeast and pork are richest in thiamine. Cereal grains also contain thiamine, so as long as you have grains in your diet, you’re likely to be taking in enough B1. Whole grains contain much more than refined grains, so that’s something to keep in mind. Other foods with relatively high amounts of thiamine include potatoes, eggs, oatmeal, brown rice, and oranges, among others.
B2 (Riboflavin) – Yeast extract is known to be the food richest in riboflavin. Some other foods are considered more important sources, however, because they are more widely consumed. Some of these include meats, eggs, milk, and cheese.
B3 (Niacin) – A rather wide variety of foods contain decent amounts of niacin. Meats such as chicken and beef are notable sources, as are fish like tuna and salmon. Some fruits and vegetables are also high in niacin, including tomatoes, carrots, broccoli, avocados, and dates.
B5 (Pantothenic Acid) – Many foods contain small quantities of pantothenic acid, but a few are more rich in it than others. Meats are probably its biggest food source. Whole grains and vegetables like broccoli also contain significant amounts.
B6 (Pyridoxine) – Plant sources such as spinach, bell peppers, and bananas are great for pyridoxine. Fish such as tuna and cod are rich in pyridoxine as well, but cooking can cause the nutrient to be lost. The plant sources are good because they hold up better to cooking and can also be eaten raw.
B7 (Biotin) – This one is found in many different foods, and the human body only requires a small amount. Kidney and eggs are examples of foods particularly rich in biotin.
B9 (Folic Acid) – Leafy vegetables like spinach and asparagus, as well as legumes like beans and peas, are particularly rich in folic acid. It is also found in a variety of other foods.
B12 (Cobalamins) – Vitamin B12 can be consumed by eating foods that come from animals. Therefore meat, poultry, fish, dairy, and eggs all contain B12. Eggs, however, also contain something that blocks absorption of B12, so they might not be the best food source. Vegans will need to take a B12 supplement, since this vitamin does not occur naturally in any plant sources.
In general, you will get enough of the B-complex vitamins if you eat a varied diet of whole unprocessed foods. Meats, liver, whole grains, legumes, eggs, milk, and yeast are some particularly good sources of many of the B vitamins. Getting enough of the nutrients in these foods will help you to maintain a healthy metabolism, among other benefits.