There are eight vitamins that make up the vitamin B complex. These vitamins are needed for a variety of bodily functions, keeping the tissues healthy, the muscles strong, the mind sharp and energy levels up for an active and productive life. B vitamin deficiency isn't very common, as long as you're eating a balanced diet, since B vitamins are water soluble. The following eight foods can help you make sure you get all the B vitamins you need in your daily diet.
Vitamin B1: Thiamin
Thiamin is needed by the body to help the muscles contract and relax properly, for nerve signaling and to help carbohydrates be converted into usable energy. Eating eggs can help you add more vitamin B1 to your diet. A simple, hard-boiled egg cut up over a salad makes for a satisfying lunch.
Vitamin B2: Riboflavin
The role of riboflavin in the body is to ensure the production of red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body and also for energy production. Dark green, leafy vegetables like baby spinach provide vitamin B2. Try blending some spinach into your next smoothie or protein shake.
Vitamin B3: Niacin
In addition to energy production, niacin assists in the central nervous and digestive systems and keeps the skin healthy. To get more niacin in your diet, consider swapping out less healthy snacks for some peanuts, which also provide iron and calcium. Puree them in a food processor to make your own peanut butter free of added sugar, fat and preservatives.
Vitamin B5: Pantothenic Acid
Pantothenic acid is crucial for a healthy metabolism, which is the process of burning off the calories we take in from food as energy. Add more avocados to your diet to get a daily dose of vitamin B5. We love using avocado in place of mayonnaise on sandwiches and wraps.
Vitamin B6: Pyridoxine
Pyridoxine also assists the body in the production of energy and red blood cells while also supporting proper nerve function -- vitamin B6 is often recommended for memory. Swap out the white flour breads and pasta for whole grains to get all the benefits of B6. Go for brown rice, quinoa and bulgur.
Vitamin B7: Biotin
Biotin is a popular "beauty vitamin" because it keeps the tissues of the body -- the hair, skin and nails -- stay properly nourished for strength and a youthful appearance. Vitamin B12 can be found in pork, so consider using lean pork to make lettuce wraps or tacos.
Vitamin B9: Folate
Folate is needed for cognitive wellbeing as well as proper growth and development throughout your life. One of the best foods to eat for more folate is Brussels sprouts. We like to cut them in half and roast them in the oven with just a little olive oil. When they come out, toss them with sea salt and pepper.
Vitamin B12: Cobalamin
Vitamin B12 has gotten a lot of attention lately for its role in energy production and keeping the body's tissues in good shape. To get more vitamin 12, or cobalamin into your diet, try sprinkling some nutritional yeast on your food. This yeast has a light, cheesy flavor that can be added to popcorn or pasta.
Your daily multivitamin should cover any B vitamins you may be missing from the foods you eat. If your doctor determines you're deficient in any B vitamins, a variety of singular B vitamin and B complex supplements are available.
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