A few weeks back we discussed the fact that B vitamins serve as essential helpers in the conversion of food to energy. And while they do not directly provide that energy, they do assist the process. B vitamins also help you withstand stress, and can support a healthy cardiovascular system as well as a healthy immune system. A B vitamin deficiency, however, can result in fatigue, can lead to anemia, beriberi, and birth defects.
Vitamin B Complex includes eight water-soluble vitamins: thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, folate, cobalamin and biotin. But did you know that, generally speaking, foods that are rich in one of the B vitamins will also contain several other members of the complex—and that their functions in the body are closely interrelated?
And while the different types of vitamin B all have their own individual health benefits, they work together in several ways, including boosting cellular metabolism, promoting skin and muscle tone, supporting healthy immune and nervous systems, promoting cellular metabolism growth and division, and supporting energy levels. B vitamins also play roles in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats and are necessary for maintaining the muscle tone of the gastrointestinal system as well as the heart.
But Vitamin B is water-soluble, so it must be replenished every day through diet or supplementation. Many foods are rich in vitamin B including brewer’s yeast (used to make breads and beer), bananas, tempeh (a fermented soy food that is also high in protein), lentils, whole grains, chili peppers, potatoes, green vegetables, eggs, dairy products and meats including turkey, tuna, and liver.
And here are some foods containing specific B vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 (thiamine): Wheat germ, yeast, liver, lentils, nuts, fish, poultry, beans, meat
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): Whole grains, green leafy vegetables, eggs, organ meats
- Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Fish, poultry, meats, liver, vegetables, whole grains, bananas
- Vitamin B12 (chobalamin): Meats, liver, eggs, milk, fish, cheese
- Biotin: Yeast, organ meats, legumes, eggs
- Folic acid: Green leafy vegetables, meats, fish, citrus fruits, whole milk products, liver, grains, asparagus, broccoli, lentils
- Niacin: Meat, poultry, fish, green leafy vegetables, green beans, legumes, seeds, milk products, peanuts, brewer’s yeast
- Pantothenic Acid: Meats, whole grains, legumes
Be smart. The B vitamins need to be replenished daily, so be sure to stock up on B-vitamin packed foods during your next trip to the grocery store.