- A lot of foods contain high amounts of the different forms of vitamin B.
- Some foods that contain decent amounts of vitamin B include eggs, salmon, beef, and oysters.
- Spinach, sunflower seeds, and milk also contain high amounts of vitamin B.
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B vitamins play an important part in keeping your body healthy. Among other functions, these vitamins support your nervous system, skin, cell metabolism, and energy levels.
There are actually eight different forms of vitamin B. Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12) are known as the B complex vitamins.
Out of all the B vitamins, cobalamin (B12) is the only one your body can store for long periods of time. This means that you need to regularly get the rest through your diet or supplementation, though it’s important to note that taking a B complex supplement typically won’t benefit you unless you’re already deficient in these vitamins.
As it’s always best to get vitamins and minerals through your diet when possible, here are a few of the best foods for making sure your body has all the B vitamins it needs.
Eggs are one of the best source of biotin.
Besides being great sources of protein, eggs offer a good range of B vitamins and a large dose of biotin, or B7. The biotin is contained in both the yolk and white, so you need to eat both to get the full nutritional impact of the egg.
You should also be sure to fully cook your eggs before eating, as raw egg whites contain a protein called avidin that can stop your body from absorbing biotin.
Sunflower seeds are bursting with B5.
Sunflower seeds are loaded with B5. They contain some of the highest levels of pantothenic acid (B5) of any common food. Though pantothenic is actually found in most plant and animal foods, it’s usually only present in tiny amounts and can be lost during processing.
If you don’t want to snack on them plain, the shelled seeds can be sprinkled over salads and yogurt or add them to baked goods like muffins or cookies for a bit of added texture.
Nutritional yeast is a popular vegan option for B vitamins.
Nutritional yeast, also known as brewer’s yeast or “nooch,” is a type of deactivated yeast usually sold as yellow flakes. The product naturally contains some B vitamins and many brands are fortified with B12, which is most commonly found in animal products like meat and cheese.
This makes nutritional yeast an appealing option for vegans and vegetarians, who may struggle to meet their B12 needs. Two tablespoons of fortified nutritional yeast will provide you with a decent amount of B3, B6, B12, and B1.
Salmon is one of the best sources of B vitamins.
Salmon is a fatty fish that’s known for its pink flesh. It’s also one of the best all-around sources of B vitamins on land or sea.
One 100-gram serving of salmon delivers about half of the average person’s daily requirement for B3, B12, and B6. It also contains vitamin B2, B1, and B5.
Chicken is a good source of vitamins B3 and B6.
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Chicken is a particularly good source of niacin and pyridoxine, or vitamins B3 and B6, and it also contains six out of the eight B vitamins.
The dark meat of the chicken contains less B3 and B6 but slightly more B5 and B2 than the light meat.
Beef contains a decent amount of vitamin B3.
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If you’re looking to up your vitamin-B intake, you may want to try cow meat as it contains six out of the eight B vitamins.
It’s particularly high in niacin, or B3, which can help keep your nervous system and skin in top shape. It also contains a smattering of B1, B2, and B6, along with just over a quarter of your RDI for B12.
If you don’t eat meat, you can also get niacin from wheat flour and eggs.
Milk contains plenty of riboflavin.
Riboflavin, or B2, helps your body release energy from the food you eat and supports a healthy nervous system. Cow milk is a good source of this vitamin, with one cup providing about a solid amount of riboflavin.
People following a vegan diet may want to seek alternative sources such as fortified breakfast cereals and rice.
Oysters and other shellfish are packed with B vitamins.
Black beans and other legumes are perfect sources of B9.
Getting enough folate, or vitamin B9, helps the body form healthy red blood cells. Legumes like chickpeas, black beans, and edamame are good plant-based sources of this important vitamin.
Leafy greens like spinach deliver plenty of folate.
Adding a handful of leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, or romaine lettuce to your meals is a great way to up their folate content.
Don’t feel like sitting down to a full salad? Eating just a half cup of cooked spinach will still give you plenty of folates. Keep in mind that cooking your greens may make it easier to eat more at once, but some of the folate value may be lost in the process. To minimize this, try lightly steaming your greens rather than boiling or sautéing them.
Organ meats such as beef liver contain a range of B vitamins.
Depending on your palate, downing a plate of beef liver might not seem like the most appetizing prospect. However, organ meats contain a variety of B vitamins in high amounts.
A large slice of beef liver (about 100 grams) contains plentiful amounts of B2, B5, and B3. It also offers hearty amounts of folate, B6, and B12.
If you just don’t want to eat plain organ meat, consider adding small amounts of chopped liver to meaty pasta sauces or soup.