The best natural sources of B vitamins
Posted on July 08 2019
In need of a B vitamin boost? This family of vitamins is essential for all-round good health. Working synergistically as well as individually, each unique vitamin has its own benefits. B vitamins do everything from assisting your metabolism of food to helping your body’s cell and immune functions. As they’re water-soluble, you need to replenish your body with these nutrients every day to help stay on track to good health. Luckily, there are plenty of quality sources. Here’s a few foods to keep in mind.
Grains are packed with plenty of the nutrients you need. Alongside fibre, magnesium, and iron, whole grains give a healthy helping of B vitamins. It’s best to go for natural whole grains such as brown rice, oats and quinoa rather than refined grain foods, because the latter will be lacking in nutritional value. Whole grains keep all the healthy parts of the original kernel, but in refined grains, the bran and germ are stripped away. So, give whole grain a go to get a good boost of vitamins B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin) and B9 (folate).
There’s plenty of choice when it comes to getting your B vitamins from meat. Chicken and turkey contain plenty of B3 (niacin) and B6 (pyridoxine), particularly the white part of the meat. Beef and pork also provide a good helping of B vitamins, notably B3, B6, B12 and in pork, a very high amount of B1 (thiamine). Although not the most popular of meats, liver beats the rest hands down for a B vitamin boost. It’s packed with all eight B vitamins, with 3oz containing a massive 1,178% of the RDI for vitamin B12.
You probably don’t need reminding to eat your greens, but it’s key to try and get a good helping every day, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner. Eating leafy greens such as spinach, asparagus and broccoli is an effective way to get many of the B vitamins you need. They contain generous amounts of B2 (riboflavin), B5 (pantothenic acid) and B9 (folate).
Several veggies stand out for their particularly high folate content. These include spinach, collards and romaine lettuce. However, it’s worth remembering that some folate is lost when cooking veg in hot water. You can steam greens instead of boiling them to make sure you’re making the most of their nutrients.
Eggs & dairy
If you’re after a biotin boost, eggs are the food for you. They’re one of the best sources of biotin out there, particularly if you don’t eat meat. Alongside biotin, they also pack in vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B12 (cobalamin). Riboflavin, together with other B vitamins, plays a role in energy metabolism, or breaking down the foods you eat into energy your cells can use. Vitamin B12, found almost solely in animal foods, helps create DNA, as well as red blood cells. Eggs are pretty much an all-round good guy, offering up plenty of protein, antioxidants and trace minerals, too.
What to remember
Luckily for us, there are loads of options when it comes to making B vitamins part of your daily diet. Making small changes, like choosing a breakfast of eggs and greens over cereal, can improve your intake massively. Consuming the right amount of these essential vitamins each day puts you on the path to a healthy body and mind. If you’re worried you’re not getting enough, it’s key to pay close attention to the foods you eat to be sure you’re consuming the right amount of all the B vitamins.