The Best Food Sources of Vitamin B

June 14, 2020
A balanced diet can provide us with all the necessary nutrients our body needs to function properly. However, it's important to know what are the kinds of food that contain significant amounts of vitamin B in order to avoid a deficiency. This is because they should be the basis of your daily diet.

You may have heard that vitamin B is very important for the human body. But do you actually know what the different vitamins are that comprise this group? Do you know what the best food sources are?

Continue reading as we’re about to tell you all you need to know about vitamin B — both the vitamins included in this group and the best food sources.

Vitamin B

Vitamins are micronutrients of vital importance for the human body. This is because they contain certain properties that greatly improve proper organ functioning.

There are many types of vitamins out there but today we’ll focus on those that comprise the B group. They’re particularly good for:

  • The proper functioning of cells that make up all body systems and organs
  • Producing body energy
  • Assimilating the energy provided by the carbohydrates, proteins, and fats that we eat
  • Transporting essential nutrients

When we talk about complex B, we’re referring to a set of vitamins that work collectively. They include:

  • Thiamine (B1)
  • Riboflavin (B2)
  • Niacin (B3)
  • Pantothenic acid (B5)
  • Pyridoxine (B6)
  • Biotin (B7, also known as vitamin H)
  • Folic acid (B9)
  • Cobalamin (B12)

Read this article: The Benefits of Vitamin B6

Where to get vitamin B

The aforementioned vitamins occur naturally in various types of food. What this means is you can obtain all the vitamins you need to function properly from your diet — as long as it’s a balanced one.

However, you can also resort to vitamin supplements, as they can help you when you need a boost. Doctors mainly recommend them when they detect a deficiency or when a person needs to improve some of their organic functions.

Next, we’ll talk about each one of the vitamins in the B group and their sources.

Thiamine or B1

Thiamine is a vitamin that helps regulate your appetite while supporting your metabolic functions.

You can find this vitamin in food such as pork, ham, fortified cereals, leafy greens, lentils, green peas, nuts, and wheat germ.

Riboflavin or B2

A basket of eggs.
Eggs are one of the main sources of B vitamins, especially riboflavin.

Riboflavin contributes to healthy skin. You can get it from dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese, among others.

However, dairy is not the only source of riboflavin. You can also get it from some vegetables such as spinach, asparagus, and most dark leafy greens. You can also get it from chicken, fish, eggs, and whole grains cereals.

Niacin or B3

An array of nuts and legumes.
Legumes and cereals are plant sources of vitamin B3 or niacin.

Niacin is a B complex vitamin that promotes the proper functioning of the nervous and cardiovascular system. In addition, it’ll help you feel energized.

The best sources of niacin are chicken, salmon, and tuna. You can also get it from legumes, whole grain cereals, peanuts, and pasta. In fact, these are excellent sources of this vitamin.

Pantothenic Acid or B5

Pantothenic acid is of vital importance for the proper development and functioning of enzymes.

The best sources of pantothenic acid are avocado and yogurt as well as lentils, peas, and other legumes. You can also get small, but sufficient, amounts of pantothenic acid by consuming broccoli, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes.

Pyridoxine or B6

Bananas are rich in vitamin B.
Bananas are great sources of vitamins and minerals; they contain a significant amount of vitamin B6.

The importance of B6 is due to its ability to help produce red blood cells. Therefore, it promotes a healthy circulatory system.

The best sources of this vitamin are poultry and shellfish. You can also get it from green leafy vegetables, bananas, potatoes, and whole-grain cereals.

Biotin or B7

A plate of salmon.
Salmon is rich in biotin and other B vitamins.

Biotin has many skin benefits and it’s particularly good for promoting healthy hair and skin. It also helps enzymes to obtain their energy from the nutrients in a diet.

You can find it mainly in egg yolk and liver, but also in pork, salmon, and avocado. Similarly, the vast majority of fruit and vegetables, as well as cheeses and grains, contain small amounts of biotin.

Folic acid or B9

Many of us know that folic acid is vital to the health of red blood cells and for improving the functions of the nervous system. In addition, it’s key in embryonic development, so pregnant women must add it to their diet.

The best sources for this important vitamin are leafy greens, but you can also obtain folic acid from whole wheat grain products.

Discover: Four Vitamins for Healthy Skin

Vitamin B12

Just like its counterpart vitamin B6, B12 aids in the creation of red blood cells. It also improves the functioning of the nervous system and embryonic development.

This vitamin is present almost exclusively in foods of animal origin, such as beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, and shellfish.

However, there are many fortified non-animal products such as cereals, and soy-derivates that have small amounts of vitamin B12.

However, people who follow a vegan diet are at risk of having a B12 deficiency due to the nature of their diet. This is why they must incorporate dietary supplements that contain this vitamin.

A balanced diet and vitamin B

After reading this information you should be familiar with the various types of food that contain vitamin B. You’ll also be aware of the wide range of products where you can find the vitamins you need.

Therefore, we recommend that you maintain a balanced diet so you can obtain all the vitamin B that your body requires, as well as other vitamins and minerals that are essential for your body.

  • Li K., Liu C., Kuang X., Deng Q., et al., Effects of multivitamin and multimineral supplementation on blood pressure: a meta analysis of 12 randomized controlled trials. Nutrients, 2018.
  • Djokic G., Vojvodic P., Korcok D., Agic A., et al., The effects of magnesium – melatonin – vit B complex supplementation in treatment of insomnia. Open Access Maced J Med Sci, 2019. 7 (18): 3101-3105.