Veggies with vitamin b

You’re probably familiar with Vitamin B6 and B12, but did you know there are actually eight B vitamins?

  • B1 (thiamin)
  • B2 (riboflavin)
  • B3 (niacin)
  • B5 (pantothenic acid)
  • B6 (pyridoxine)
  • B7 (biotin)
  • B9 (folate )
  • B12 (cobalamin)

These vitamins help a variety of enzymes do their jobs, ranging from releasing energy from carbohydrates and fat to breaking down amino acids and transporting oxygen and energy-containing nutrients around the body.

Spotlight on Three of the Bs: Folate, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12

One of the advances that changed the way we look at vitamins was the discovery that too little folate is linked to birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

Folate (Folic Acid) – Vitamin B9

Folate is the natural form of vitamin B9, water-soluble and naturally found in many foods. It is also added to foods and sold as a supplement in the form of folic acid; this form is actually better absorbed than that from food sources—85% vs. 50%, respectively.Learn more about folate and health.

Another line of research about folate and two other B vitamins, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, explores their roles in reducing some types of cancer and heart disease.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6, or pyridoxine, is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in many foods, as well as added to foods and supplements.Learn more about vitamin B6 and health.Vitamin B12, or cobalamin, is naturally found in animal foods. It can also be added to foods or supplements. Vitamin B12 is needed to form red blood cells and DNA. It is also a key player in the function and development of brain and nerve cells.Learn more about vitamin B12 and health.

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Vitamins and Minerals

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There are eight well known B-vitamins that play a role in the body. They support metabolism and contribute to the body’s ability to produce energy. Several of the B-vitamins have additional functions as well:

Vitamin B6:

Alternatively known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 helps to produce insulin, fight infection and create non-essential amino acids (the building blocks of protein). Beans, chicken, banana, baked potato, pork, fish, nuts and fortified breakfast cereals all contain vitamin B6.

Folate

Also known as folic acid, folate is particularly important during pregnancy. Consuming adequate amounts helps to reduce the risk of spine and brain deformities (known as neural tube defects). Sources of folate include many fruits and vegetables — including beans, oranges, avocado and spinach – as well as fortified grains.

Vitamin B12

Cobalamin, or vitamin B12, plays an important role in creating new red blood cells and a deficiency could result in anemia. It is present in animal products such as milk, yogurt and cheese, meat, fish, poultry and eggs. Many grains and cereals are also fortified with vitamin B12 and are an important source of this vitamin for vegetarians and vegans. Although, a vitamin B12 supplement may also be needed.

These B-vitamins are more commonly known by their names than by their numbers, but all are widely available in a variety of foods and deficiency is relatively uncommon in the United States:

  • Thiamin: Pork, peas, whole-grain and enriched-grain products including bread, rice, pasta, tortillas and fortified cereals.
  • Riboflavin: Cheese, yogurt, enriched grains, lean meats, eggs, almonds and leafy green vegetables.
  • Niacin: High-protein foods such as peanut butter, beef, poultry and fish, as well as enriched and fortified grain products
  • Pantothenic Acid: Yogurt, sweet potato, milk, avocado, corn, eggs and beans.
  • Biotin: Eggs, peanuts, fish, sweet potato and almonds.

You’ve likely heard how important Vitamin B12 is for healthy nerve function and a healthy metabolism, but what about the other B vitamins? Vitamin B1 (thiamin), Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), Vitamin B3 (niacin), Vitamin B5 (pantothenic Acid), Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), Vitamin B7 (biotin), Vitamin B9 (folate), and Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) are all critical for a healthy body, including everything from metabolism and energy, to nerve function, mental focus, and for healthy digestion.

Most omnivores rely on animal products for their B vitamins, since B vitamins are found abundantly in animal foods like dairy, chicken, fish, turkey, eggs, pork, and red meat. However, I always say to turn to plants first for everything, including where you get your B vitamins.

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Just like you don’t have to eat animal foods to get enough protein, you also don’t have to eat them to get your Bs either. Here are some awesome sources of B vitamins found abundantly in a vegan diet if you don’t want to opt for a supplement:

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)

Functions: converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin, aids in mental focus and brain function

Try this delicious Indian dish with mushroom and peas to get a great dose of Vitamin B1.

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Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Functions: converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin, aids in mental focus and brain function

Sources: cereal grasses, whole grains, almonds, sesame seeds, spinach, fortified soy milk, spirulina, mushrooms, beet greens, quinoa, buckwheat, prunes

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This amazing raw vegan chocolate mousse is a great way to indulge and get a nice amount of Vitamin B2.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Functions: converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin, aids in mental focus and brain function

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Here’s a delicious raw pea and avocado green soup for a nice dose of Vitamin B3.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)

Functions: converts food to energy, maintains healthy hair, nails, and skin, aids in mental focus and brain function

Here’s a dish that combines tempeh, quinoa, and nutritional yeast to give you a nice dose of Vitamin B5.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Functions: aids in maintaining homeostasis, prevents anxiety by helping the amino acid tryptophan convert to niacin and serotonin for healthy nerve function and also helps ensure a healthy sleep cycle, appetite, and mood, red blood cell production, immune function

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Make these yummy sweet potato and kale patties for a great dose of Vitamin B6.

Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

Functions: converts food to energy, helps reduce blood sugar by synthesizing glucose, helps make and break down fatty acids, needed for healthy hair, skin, and nails

Sources: almonds, chia, peanuts, sweet potatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, onions, oats, tomatoes, carrots, walnuts

Make a batch of these chunky vegan peanut butter cookies to get a delicious dose of biotin for dessert!

Vitamin B9 (Folate)

Functions: merges with Vitamin B12 and Vitamin C to utilize proteins and is essential for healthy brain development and for healthy red blood cell formation, essential for pregnant women to get enough of

Folate is plentiful in these amazing vegan stuffed mushrooms that make the perfect appetizer or light lunch.

Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

Functions: red blood cell production, needed for optimal brain function to prevent depression and mania, aids in digestion, improves iron uptake, critical for all aspects of health

This smoothie with spirulina is a great way to get a full day’s worth of Vitamin B12 that you can enjoy for a nice breakfast or an afternooon snack.

As you can see, you can usually obtain all the B vitamins you need from vegan foods alone. You should take specific caution to take a Vitamin B12 supplement if you do not take one already, or you don’t consume at least one teaspoon or spirulina per day or at least 1-2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast per day. Both those sources in the specified amounts provide over 100% of the daily values. In terms of the other vitamins, it’s quite easy to get enough through your diet or you can simply take a vegan B complex supplement.

We also highly recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 15,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!

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High-protein vegan foods

Share on PinterestMushrooms are a vegan source of vitamin D.

Protein may get most of the attention when it comes to making sure that vegans eat a balanced diet, but there are other nutrients that it is important to monitor as well.

The body needs vitamin B-12 to make red blood cells and keep the neurological system functioning properly.

This vitamin is also essential for healthy neurological development in infants.

The RDA for vitamin B-12 is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) a day for men and women aged 14 years and older. For pregnant women, the RDA is 2.6 mcg, and for women who are breastfeeding, the RDA is 2.8 mcg.

However, vitamin B-12 only occurs naturally in foods from animal sources, such as clams, liver, and dairy products. People who eat only vegan foods have two options to ensure that they consume enough of this vital nutrient. They can either eat foods that manufacturers have fortified with vitamin B-12 or take a vitamin B-12 dietary supplement.

Packaged breakfast cereals, nutritional yeast, soy milk, and some meat substitutes often have added vitamin B-12. The amount of vitamin B-12 in each serving can vary between products, so it is important to check the nutritional data on food labels.

Vitamin D helps keep bones healthy and strong, supports the immune and neuromuscular systems, and reduces inflammation. People sometimes refer to it as the “sunshine vitamin” because the body produces it in response to exposure to the sun.

As with vitamin B-12, vitamin D is primarily present in foods from animal sources, although mushrooms do contain variable amounts. The RDA for vitamin D is 600 International Units (IU), or 15 mcg, for people aged 1–70 years and 800 IU, or 20 mcg, for people over 70 years old.

Fortified foods are the primary source of vitamin D for most people in the U.S., whether they eat food from animal sources or not. For people who eat only vegan foods, fortified foods, which include some cereals and grains, are very important. Dietary supplements can also help vegans get an adequate amount of vitamin D.

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