What foods have B vitamins?

What foods have B vitamins?

Team ErbologyErbology

B vitamins are a whole family of nutrients that can help look after your health. We delve into each one, what it does for you and where you can find it. 

April 28, 2022 5:36 pm

What do B vitamins do?

Although they may be less well-known than vitamin C or vitamin E, B vitamins are vital for our health.

We use the term ‘B vitamins’ to talk about a number of different substances, but they all perform similar functions. On the one hand, they help the body derive energy (or rather, glucose) from carbohydrates, proteins, fat, and so on.(1) On the other, they support our immune system when it comes under threat from stress. For this reason, they’re sometimes known as ‘anti-stress vitamins’. 

Unlike other types of vitamin, which can be stored in fat, B vitamins are water soluble, This makes it slightly harder for us to store them in our bodies, and quite a bit of the B vitamins we consume is lost. (There are two exceptions to this, B12 and B9, which can be quite effectively stored in the liver.)

Therefore, it’s especially important to keep a good supply of B vitamins coming through your diet. Whole foods and vegetables are good places to start.

So, what are the different types of B vitamins we should be looking out for?

Vitamin B1 – Thiamin

Thiamin is key to maintaining the flow of electrolytes through our muscles and nerves.(2)

While you might be most used to hearing about electrolytes in adverts for sports drinks, they actually perform a very important role in the body. They do this by sending a tiny electrical charge into our nerves and muscles, spurring them into action.(2)

Nutritional yeast is a wonderful source of thiamin, with 63mg per 100g! Handily, it is also a great choice for many other B vitamins. These include B2 (riboflavin); B3 (niacin); B6 (pyridoxine) and B9 (folate).

Sprinkle it on the top of vegetables or other savory dishes. You get a flavor as well as nutrient kick! Although some varieties are fortified, unfortified nutritional yeast still contains a healthy amount of natural B vitamins.

Vitamin B foods: Sources of thiamin

Note: Values are indicated per 100g. Source: My Food Data. 


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Vitamin B2 – Riboflavin

Riboflavin is needed for a huge variety of bodily processes including cell respiration, growth, and maintaining the health of your eyes and skin. It also helps your body to produce energy from food.

Interestingly, light can degrade riboflavin. When newborns with jaundice are treated under light, they sometimes develop a riboflavin deficiency.(3)

We need riboflavin because it helps us take in and use other nutrients, such as vitamins B1, B3, B6 and B9 as well as iron. It’s also beneficial for liver and digestive health, among a whole host of other functions.

Try a range of green, leafy vegetables to satisfy your riboflavin needs, or try romantic rose hips – they contain 0.2 mg of riboflavin per 100g.

Vitamin B foods: Sources of riboflavin

  • Almonds (1.1 mg)
  • Cayenne (0.9 mg)
  • Buckwheat, sunflower seeds (0.4 mg)
  • Kelp seaweed, spinach (0.2 mg)

Note: Values are indicated per 100g. Source: My Food Data

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Vitamin B3 – Niacin

Not sure you need niacin? Well, this may convince you: every single part of your body needs niacin in order to work!

Your body mainly gets niacin through food. However, we can also make some niacin ourselves if we get enough of the amino acid called tryptophan. Sesame, chia and pumpkin seeds are all sources of tryptophan.

Niacin is essential in cell metabolism.(4) It also helps fix our DNA and can act as an antioxidant, helping us fight off harmful oxidative stress. Many nuts and legumes are rich in niacin, including the humble peanut. 100g of raw peanuts contain 12.1 mg of niacin, nearly 75% of the recommended daily amount. → View Related Products

Vitamin B foods: Sources of niacin

Note: Values are indicated per 100g. Source: My Food Data


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'People think vitamin B12 is mainly found in animal-derived products. However, there are some good vegetarian sources of vitamin B12.'

Vitamin B5 – Panothenic acid

Our red blood cells perform the vital role of transporting oxygen throughout our bodies. Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid, helps us make these cells.(5)