People seem to be obsessed with B vitamins, more specifically Vitamin B12. This vitamin helps to maintain healthy nerve function and efficient metabolism. What about the other B-vitamins, though? B vitamins are integral for healthy growth and development, and you may experience muscle and nerve problems without them in your diet.
Where Do You Get B Vitamins?
Most people rely solely on animal products to obtain their daily dose of B vitamins. This is primarily because they are abundant in foods like dairy products, fish, turkey, eggs, red meat, and poultry. However, it is just as easy and more beneficial to get B vitamins from plant-based sources.
The same misconception exists when it comes to getting enough protein in your diet. You can easily get enough protein by solely consuming plant-based foods. The same is true for getting your B vitamins. You’ll find all the B vitamins and where you can get them below.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin):
This vitamin works to maintain healthy hair, boost brain function, and aid with the metabolism of carbohydrates. Thiamin also helps with energy production. You can find thiamin in nutritional yeast, beans, pine nuts, peas, hibiscus tea, cilantro, watermelon, acorn squash, sunflower seeds, tahini, spirulina, and asparagus.
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin):
Vitamin B2 works in conjunction with other B vitamins to aid red blood cell production. It also helps convert food to energy and break down carbohydrates. You can find riboflavin in green leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds, mushrooms, buckwheat, and quinoa.
Vitamin B3 (Niacin):
Niacin is a water-soluble vitamin that has been extensively studied. It helps to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and works to balance blood cholesterol levels. It also helps with brain function and maintains healthy skin. Niacin can be found in avocados, beans, potatoes, durian fruit, tomatoes, chia seeds, wild rice, green peas, sunflower seeds, barley, and mushrooms.
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid):
This vitamin is necessary for healthy hormone and cholesterol (the good kind) production. Additionally, it helps the body metabolize food and works to improve your focus. Vitamin B5 is found in sweet potatoes, paprika, nutritional yeast, broccoli, avocados, tomatoes, kale, cabbage, lentils, and beans.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine):
Pyridoxine has been known to relieve anxiety by aiding the conversion of tryptophan, an amino acid, to niacin and serotonin for better nerve function. This vitamin also helps to improve your sleep cycle, mood, immune function, and works to naturally maintain homeostasis. It is found in garlic, sage, kale, collards, figs, pistachios, spirulina, chia seeds, beans, avocados, bananas, watermelon, almonds, chickpeas, beans, all squash, artichokes, and green beans.
Vitamin B7 (Biotin):
Much like niacin, biotin plays a key role in healthy hormone and cholesterol production. It also works to reduce blood sugar levels by synthesizing glucose. Additionally, biotin helps break down fatty acids, which is necessary for healthy hair, skin, and nails. You can find it in almonds, chia seeds, onions, oats, tomatoes, carrots, walnuts, beans, and sweet potatoes.
Vitamin B9 (Folate):
Folate and folic acid are not the same. Folic acid is a synthetic B vitamin found in dietary supplements and fortified foods, meaning it can be difficult for the body to process. This is why consuming plant-based foods that contain folate is more beneficial than taking the synthetic form. It works with vitamins B12 & C to successfully utilize proteins. It also helps with brain development, red blood cell formation, and can help prevent birth defects. It is found in lentils, beets, asparagus, broccoli, beans, leafy vegetables, nutritional yeast, artichokes, cantaloupe, walnuts, flaxseeds, cauliflower, tahini, peas, okra, celery, hazelnuts, and leeks.
Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)
This B vitamin is necessary for healthy nerve function and red blood cell production. It also works to prevent depression, aids digestion, improves your iron uptake, and is optimal for brain function. You can find it in spirulina (the best source), nutritional yeast, some vegan protein powders, fortified almond milk, and fortified coconut milk.
As you can see, you can get your B vitamins from plant-based foods. Your body will have a much easier time processing these B vitamins because plant-based foods are much easier to digest!