Vitamin B is not a single vitamin, but a complex set of eight components that are often found in a B complex supplement.
The complex is made up of: niacin (B3), riboflavin (B2), thiamine (B1), cobalamins (B12), pantothenic acid (B5), biotin (B7), pyridoxine (B6) and folate (also called folacin or folic acid).
There are different components of vitamin B and the RDA for each varies from 3 mcg to 18 mgs, so it is difficult to pinpoint a single food as being the best choice to get sufficient levels for everything. However, the foods below will certainly go a long way to boost vitamin B levels and should be eaten regularly.
Foods rich in folate (Vitamin B9) include: broccoli, spinach, turnips, parsley, cauliflower, all types of seeds, asparagus, lentils, beets, mustard greens, romaine lettuce, corn, celery, carrots and calf’s liver.
Most beans and peas also contain good levels of folate. There are many fruits that have folate, but citrus fruits have the highest amount of all fruits. These include: raspberries, grapefruit, oranges, strawberries and papayas.
Vitamin B6 sources include: spinach, Brussels sprouts, turnip greens, sunflower seeds, tuna, turkey, chicken, pork, beef, bell peppers, dried prunes, apricots, raisins, chick peas, bananas, seafood, avocado, cottage cheese, yogurt, non-fat milk, ricotta cheese, feta and some fortified cereals.
Sources of Vitamin B12 only come from animal products and include: snapper, chicken, pork, beef, turkey, calf’s liver, seafood, cottage cheese, yogurt, non-fat milk, ricotta cheese and feta.
Thiamine (Vitamin B1) sources include foods such as: ham, pork, leafy green vegetables, lentils, pecans, almonds, fortified whole-grain cereals, enriched rice, wheat germ, trout, wheat bread, green peas, squash, soy beans and navy beans.
Foods containing riboflavin (Vitamin B2) include: cheese, almonds and other nuts, eggs, lamb, beef and other lean meats, oily seafood such as mackerel and squid, sesame seeds, spinach and other greens, mushrooms and milk.
Good quantities of Vitamin B3 (niacin) include: fish (especially tuna), lean red and white meats and poultry, peanuts, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, avocadoes, broccoli, organ meats, bacon, asparagus, coffee, kidney beans, wild game meats and fortified cereals.
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) can be found in good amounts in foods such as: mushrooms, cheese, oily fish, eggs, avocado, lean meats, sweet potato, sunflower seeds,
Great sources of Vitamin B7 (biotin) include: halibut, eggs, carrots, nuts, cow and goat milk, berries, fruit and vegetables. Swiss chard has the highest amount of biotin of any food.
It is obvious that many foods can supply more than one component of vitamin B to the body. If someone is deficient, it’s a wise idea to discuss the problem with a doctor and determine whether taking supplements may help solve the problem, either temporarily or permanently.
It is also a good idea to talk to a dietitian and work out a healthier eating plan, which involves adding more of the vitamin B components into the diet. It’s only through asking questions, gaining knowledge and changing habits that people can work towards improving their overall health.