There are many essential nutrients that your body needs to support its normal function. But, while we all know that nutrients are important for a healthy lifestyle, it’s not always clear as to where we can get them from.
Luckily, you don’t have to worry too much about nutrients if you maintain a balanced diet. This is because most of the nutrients we need come from food!
Within this guide, we are going to be focusing on the food sources that contain B vitamins. B vitamins are a group of eight vitamins that all play various roles in the body. This includes vitamin B5 that supports healthy hormone balance (EFSA, 2010) and vitamin B12 that contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue (EFSA, 2010).
Foods Containing B Vitamins
B vitamins can be found in a whole range of foods, but as there’s eight different vitamins in the complex, you have to maintain a varied diet. Let’s take a closer look at four tasty foods that contain reasonable amounts of vitamin B.
1. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens provide a great source of vitamin B9 (folic acid). This includes cabbage, spring greens, kale and spinach. It’s important to incorporate as many leafy greens as possible into your diet, as vitamin B9 has many functions, including:
• Helping to maintain cognitive performance
• Contributing to cell division
• Contributing to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue
• It is needed for mental function
This is great news for vegans, as vitamin B9 is found in an abundance of vegan-friendly foods! However, if you are vegan and feel as though you aren’t getting enough vitamins from your diet, a vitamin B complex supplement could help safeguard your intake.
Shellfish contain high amounts of vitamin B12 and vitamin B2. Vitamin B12, once again, contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. It has also been found to help maintain a normal homocysteine level. Vitamin B2 (also known as riboflavin) is necessary for healthy teeth, bones, hair, skin and nails. It is also important for the iron status in your blood.
We have more great news for vegetarians and vegans – legumes are full of vitamin B. They are mainly rich in vitamin B9 (folic acid), but you can also expect to find small amounts of the following in legumes:
• Vitamin 1 (Thiamine)
• Vitamin 2 (Riboflavin)
• Vitamin 3 (Niacin)
• Vitamin 5 (Pantothenic Acid)
• Vitamin 6 (Pyridoxine)
If you are not familiar with legumes, try experimenting with chickpeas and lentils to get started. These contain good amounts of vitamin B.
A lot of meats are packed with nutrients, including vitamin B. Different meats contain different B vitamins, so use the following list as a simple point of reference:
• Vitamin B3 (most meats, including chicken and pork)
• Vitamin B5 (chicken, beef, liver and kidneys)
• Vitamin B6 (pork, poultry)
• Vitamin B9 (liver)
• Vitamin B12 (most meats)
Unfortunately, not everyone’s diet will be able to provide them with enough B vitamins. This is particularly true with vegans, as a lot of animal products are rich in nutrients. A nutritional expert or supplement will help to manage your levels.
The above article has used NHS guidance on vitamin B as a reference point.