Vitamin B complex is a combination of many water-soluble vitamins belonging to a same family but yet different from each other. The vitamin B family includes Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and B12. Vitamin B is important for various important life functions. It boosts immunity, good for nervous health, provides energy and keeps skin healthy.
Vitamin B complex is water-soluble that gets passed out with urine and not stored in the body; hence it's important to include vitamin B rich foods in our regular diet. Deficiency of vitamin B may result in anemia, neurological disorders, skin problems and low immunity. Severe deficiency may cause serious diseases like Beriberi, dementia and nervous breakdown.
What Foods Contain Vitamin B?
Vitamin B is present in variety of natural sources. Foods high in protein are also good source of vitamin B. Green leafy vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy products, eggs, meat and animal products are all rich in vitamin B complex. Most members of vitamin B family coexist in different natural sources but Vitamin B12 exceptionally occurs only in animal products. A balanced diet would provide the required quantities of vitamin B. Vitamin B is also available as supplements in form of tablets, capsules and injections.
Whole grain cereals like wheat, rice, barley, oatmeal, brown rice, ragi and corn are good sources of vitamin B. They contain most of all B vitamins but lack vitamin B12 and B7 (biotin). Whole grain products like multigrain bread, whole wheat pasta, muesli and fortified cereals are good options for including whole grains in regular diet and fulfill vitamin B requirements of the body.
Whole grains not only contain vitamin B but are also rich in other vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. They are perfect cereal option for a balanced meal with lots of health benefits.
Milk and Dairy Products
Milk and milk products like cheese, butter and yogurt are one the most nutrient dense natural food products. They are good sources of all members of vitamin B complex especially vitamin B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid) and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin). Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products and dairy products are its only vegetarian source.
Butter and cheese are rich in vitamin B2, B6 and B12 while yogurt is a rich source of pantothenic acid.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, Swiss chard, asparagus, lettuce and broccoli contain various essential nutrients and so do they contain vitamin B. Most green vegetables contain high amounts of vitamin B1, B2, folic acid, pantothenic acid, vitamins like B3, B6 and B12 are absent in green leafy vegetables. Potatoes and beans do contain some amount of vitamin B6.
Green vegetables are good sources of vitamin and minerals in a vegetarian diet. Vitamin B rich vegetables enhance body immunity and prevent infections. Vegetables contain high quantities of folic acid which is good for pregnancy.
Eggs, chicken, turkey, meat, pork and beef are abundant in vitamin B complex members. In fact they are the richest natural sources of vitamin B. Pork ham is a good source of thiamine and pantothenic acid; eggs, chicken and red meat are rich in Vitamin B2, B3, B6, B12 and biotin. Turkey contains significant amount of vitamin B3 and beef is a rich source of cobalamin (Vitamin B12).
Including animal products in your meals can sufficiently provide the necessary daily quantities of vitamin B complex and can also help reduce deficiency.
Legumes, pulses or lentils are abundant sources of vitamin B. Legumes are good source of vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5. Grams, soybeans, dried beans, peas and pulses are rich in proteins as well as vitamin B. It is good for a vegetarian diet to include legumes in their daily routine as they can replenish vitamin B deficiency and provide the recommended daily amount to the body.
Many fortified legume products are also available in market like fortified pulses, soybeans etc. that are rich in vitamins and minerals.
Nuts and Plant Seeds
Almonds, pecans and walnuts are good sources of vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and B2. Plant seeds like sunflower seeds supply good amount of vitamin B6. Nuts and plant seeds are fatty acid containing foods that are also rich in vitamin E. These foods are good for hair and skin health.
A healthy nut snack or preparing food in sunflower seed oil will aid to your vitamin B requirement of the day in addition to the taste it gives your palate.
Seafood is again one of the richest sources of vitamin B complex. Fishes like salmon, tuna, fin fish and shell fish are plentiful sources of vitamin B. Salmon and tuna are richest source of niacin. Fish are also high in thiamine, riboflavin, biotin and vitamin B12 content.
Other seafood like crabs, mussels and oysters are again excellent in vitamin B12 content. Seafood diet is the most nutritious of all. They are high in proteins, vitamins and most minerals.
Some fruits are good sources of some of the vitamin B complex entities. Bananas contain good amount of Vitamin B3 and B6, avocados and citrus fruits like orange are rich in biotin and vitamin B5. Fruits are the easiest and most delicious way to cater your vitamin needs. Include a bowl of fresh fruits as your daily breakfast with yogurt or muesli to enhance vitamin B quantity in the body.
Mushrooms and other fortified yeasts are also rich in vitamin B, most importantly vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid).
Vitamin B Side Effects
Sometimes taking larger than required quantities of vitamin B supplements could cause certain side effects like nausea, restlessness and insomnia. This may happen if one is on injections or taking higher doses of supplements. Natural products do not generally cause such side effects. Thus it is advised not to rely on supplementation unless prescribed by a doctor and eat a balanced diet to fulfill your required vitamin B needs.
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